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How Small-Format Grocery Stores Are Pivoting Operations Amid a Pandemic

When considering the current trend of smaller, more personalized shopping experiences, one may not take into account the importance of refrigeration systems. With already limited space, small-format grocers must reorient store layouts to maintain social distancing measures, while still aiming to showcase their products, but may not know where to start.


  • How many refrigeration systems are needed?
  • What type of glass is best and will reduce touch points?
  • Where and how should they be installed for maximum efficiency?



Be Ready to Help Small-Format Grocery Stores Adapt


Fabricators need to be ready to address the challenges small-format grocers face and should foster those relationships now as many ‘new ways of shopping’ are likely here to stay. From creating new refrigeration units (or altering existing ones) designed to fit these new, smaller spaces, there is ample opportunity to provide a quality solution. And while the size and fit is important, it’s just as crucial to use a glass that enhances branding that will translate into more sales for the store. The smallest details matter.



Details as seemingly insignificant as fridge door clearance are taken into account when designing a small-format grocery store. As Pedro Besen Soprana explains in ACHR News, local stores are often located under residential buildings, where traditional rooftop equipment installation is not possible:



“So, self-contained cases — systems in which the condensing unit is integrated with the case — tend to be well-suited for small-format stores, since a machinery room and long piping lines are not required in this configuration. Self-contained units also provide store layout flexibility, because the unit is integrated into the refrigeration equipment, so it can be moved around very easily inside the store.”



Superior Glass Gives Retailers an Edge


One of the ways your retail customer can capitalize on consumer psychology is to ensure their refrigeration systems are clean, and that brands are visible from across the store. Tru Vue® Vista AR® Glass, for instance, is made for this purpose. Optimal visibility reduces door opening, resulting in temperature uniformity, increased food safety and energy efficiency. Coupled with wayfinding signage, consumers can seamlessly navigate from the cold cuts counter to frozen foods in the most pleasant way possible.



Wayfinding Systems & QSR Menu Boards Gain Momentum


Wayfinding systems and QSR menu boards are an absolute necessity for the modern grocery store, especially these days. From overhead signs that display product aisles to floor signage that direct the flow of store traffic, guiding the consumer provides an amicable shopping experience and gives a sense of familiarity between store locations.



Although signage has been around since the dawn of grocery stores, digital signage just keeps getting better and more affordable, the benefits of indoor and outdoor digital signage are numerous:



Benefits of Indoor/Outdoor Digital Wayfinding Systems to Share with Your Channel


  • Brand consistency. The majority of people do research about brands and products online before they even set foot in a store or make a purchase. Digital wayfinding systems in grocery stores showcase brands in the most attractive way and make the consumer journey from their computer to the store seamless.
  • Advertisements. Digital signage is a great way to advertise online member clubs, promotional offers, and events. No need to clutter walls and windows with poster boards — it can all reside in one digital hub that can easily be changed at the click of a few buttons.
  • Self-sufficiency. One of the growing consumer preferences in grocery stores these days is self-sufficiency. Sure, customer representatives are on-hand to help whenever needed, but a large portion of people prefer to put in earbuds, do their shopping, and self-checkout. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers may be hesitant to approach or interact with others unless completely necessary. Though even before COVID-19, digital wayfinding systems have proven to be a valuable tool in providing product information in addition to in-store guidance.



It’s anticipated that digital signage, whether indoor or outdoor, will only continue to grow in popularity after the pandemic. Digital Signage Connection projects that the demand for digital signage will be felt years after COVID-19, “Now, in a post-pandemic world, this technology is even more important and relevant for managing communications and striking the right note in terms of safety needs as well as messaging tone. Due to the dynamic nature of such content, many businesses are opting for customizable digital signs or kiosks, as they do not require physical contact to navigate.”


The Ever-Growing Digitization Market


The fact is that digitization is happening, perhaps in places we previously wouldn’t have imagined. As more and more consumers get accustomed to utilizing digital way signs as a means of convenience both in and outside of the store, so grows the need for local shops to digitize their systems. The global digital signage market is expected to hit $29.8 billion by the year 2024. The fact of the matter is that digital displays capture 400% more attention than traditional, static displays. The numbers speak for themselves and nonetheless highlight the importance of striking while the iron is hot.



From outdoor signs that drive foot traffic to refrigeration systems that highlight products impeccably, both make a brand more accessible and appealing to consumers as they navigate down aisles.



Tru Vue® Vista AR® Glass Puts Products in a Good Light


Tru Vue Vista Anti-Reflective® is the best quality non-conductive wideband coated glass for product showcases of various kinds, whether for outdoor drive thru menus, indoor refrigeration systems, or large scale lighting projects. Vista AR® Glass provides impeccable clarity, has 15 years of proven durability in the outside elements, is impact resistant, and made in the USA.



To learn more about our technical glass  solutions, find a distributor near you or get in touch with our team.



Additional Reading


This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.