How to Improve Cold–Vault Fortunes

by:Uri Rainisch


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    TORONTO, Ont. - We have turned the corner on harsh winter weather, and spring is here.

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As convenience store retailers fight the never-ending battle to win the cold-vault competition, it can be beneficial to keep a well-known aphorism in mind: Fortune favors the bold. The cold vault is turf that has been fought over for decades in the c-store industry. Those who want to optimize sales of the important high-margin products that reside in this section of the store must acknowledge this and be willing to take bold steps to ensure that the cold vault is eye-catching, stylish, cutting edge and, most important, inviting to the shopper.

The most obvious component to consider when creating the most attractive, efficient and shopper-friendly cold-vault case are the doors.

The First Impression

The cold-vault door is the “handshake” with the customer, that first-impression moment that can make or break the relationship. As such, c-store retailers should take great strides to ensure the initial interaction is as pleasant as possible for the shopper. The door handles should be elegant and easy to grasp. The doors must open and close easily without any bouncing or slamming. Condensation should not be allowed to form on the glass, which creates an uninviting look as well as obscuring the shopper’s view of the products contained within. The door gaskets must fit properly so that the cold air stays inside and the irritating whistling of escaping air is eliminated.

The design of traditional cold-vault doors features thick metal borders and center mullions that interrupt the door’s viewable area. However, next-generation all-glass cooler doors offer thinner borders that increase sight lines and don’t require mullions, which helps create a panoramic viewing perspective for the shopper. From a cost-efficiency standpoint, the next-generation all-glass cooler doors can also feature anti-condensation Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG) technology. The VIG technology is unique in the fact that it removes the need for door or glass heat, making them a “zero energy” solution that will reduce energy consumption and operating costs for retailers.

Anthony, a merchandising solutions provider of cooler and freezer doors, and related equipment, has changed the way c-store retailers should think of cold-vault doors with the development of the bold Vista Elite VIG Door model. The design of the Vista Elite door removes the center mullions and thick borders that can hinder the shopper’s line of sight into the cold vault, whic h makes the Vista Elite the industry’s only all-glass, energy-free cold-vault door that offers panoramic product visibility without the need for door or glass heat.

Retailers who choose Vista Elite doors will also experience a 1½ year return on investment (ROI) when replacing standard heated doors. Vista Elite doors also satisfy the U.S. Department of Energy’s new commercial-refrigeration energy-efficiency standards that went into effect on June 5, 2017.

Making the bold decision to upgrade to Vista Elite doors will have many obvious benefits for the retailer, but these benefits will only be maximized if two other critical cold-vault components – the lighting and the shelving – are able to work in harmony with them.

See The Light

Harsh fluorescent lights are a thing of the past. Today, the most attractive and inviting coolers and freezers offer soft, gentle LED lighting that provides uniform illumination and enhances product visibility with no hot spots or dead zones. This capability allows the products to “pop,” which helps draw the shopper to them. These new-age lighting systems are also more energy efficient than traditional technologies, meaning that uniform lighting can now be achieved with lower energy and utility costs.

In the realm of cold-case lighting, Anthony is preparing to launch the next generation of LED’s in the Optimax family designed to create best-in-class uniformity across the displayed merchandise. Anthony’s new LED Optimax lighting system will save up to 70% in energy consumption compared to the current Optimax Pro 24 Series. All of which will result a pleasing and attractive lighting display that will significantly lower energy and utility costs.

Slide Into Satisfaction

While the doors offer entry and the lighting makes the products attractive, the shelving must put the products at the shopper’s fingertips. This means they must operate in a way that makes the products easy to locate and retrieve. Shelving units that do not allow products to slide to the front, or as close to the visible viewing area as possible, make it hard for the shopper to even know if the product they are looking for is actually in stock. Deeper shelves (as deep as 72") can ensure products are where they need to be when customers are looking for them, while reducing the time and labor that is needed for merchandise restocking during peak store hours.

Bold Steps to Profitability

C-store retailers who wish to improve their fortunes in the ongoing cold-vault competition must be bold in the decisions they make when outfitting that section of their stores. Sticking with the tried-and-true is no longer good enough in a market where the battle to create and retain market share is a cutthroat one.

Upgrading Doors, Lighting and Shelving in the Cold Case will Enhance the Shopping Experience