Store Fixtures Focus on Flexibility and Mobility

Schweitzer's customizable refrigeration counters can easily be moved to suit changing store needs, as well as evolving customer preferences
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Flexible fixtures from Schweitzer
Flexible fixtures from Schweitzer are self-contained and can be easily integrated into existing infrastructure.

The inherent issue with grocery store fixtures is that they’re just that — perennially “fixed” in one place. Naturns, Italy-based Schweitzer is attempting to change the status quo with its customizable refrigeration counters, which can be easily moved to suit changing store needs, as well as evolving customer preferences.

Schweitzer, which has been creating refrigeration solutions for nearly 100 years, recently rolled out its next generation of movable refrigerated display fixtures. Promising spatial flexibility along with sustainability benefits, the plug-in cases use an onboard waterloop system to cool the integrated unit within the case and keep products at the necessary temperature.

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The counters are highly energy-efficient and can hold products ranging from fresh meat and seafood to packaged items and produce, and also offer retailers both a served and self-service option.

The Benefits of Flexibility

By having flexible counters, entire grocery departments become flexible, explains Matthäus Streitberger, Schweitzer’s head of operations for North America. The company’s self-contained solution allows for an easy enlargement or reduction of departments by adding or reducing fixture modules, and also enables grocers to change the layout as necessary, or based on seasonal events and assortment changes.

Schweitzer’s flexible fixtures are self-contained and come in a plug-and-play version that simply needs access to power, so they can also be easily integrated into existing infrastructure. In the case of full department renovations, they also reduce potential construction time and disruption of sales and customer service.

“There is no need to wait eight to 10 years and heavily invest in the complete modernization of a store, something that has been very common up to now,” says Streitberger. “The flexibility offers financial as well as energy-efficient sustainability and therefore kills two birds with one stone.”

Schweitzer's refrigerated fixtures
Schweitzer's refrigerated fixtures allow retailers to change things up with very little effort, while also offering benefits in terms of labor and potential construction overhead.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

According to Streitberger, Schweitzer’s flexible counters can offer a new and improved shopping experience for customers, and can help grocers introduce different modes of selling and employee interaction. Central Food Hall Ladprao, in Bangkok, for example, uses the cases in some areas to create a marketplace-like ambiance where employees stand in front of the counter to assist customers.

Conversely, when there are labor shortages, self-contained counters can easily be switched from served to self-service to eliminate the need for additional employee support. 

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Most important, Streitberger notes, is the ability for these fixtures to transform visual merchandising into an avenue for creative storytelling. “Fixtures can deliver the most important information to consumers through clever communication and contribute to an emotional, warm atmosphere,” he explains.

Fixtures in Action

At Kahala Market by Foodland, in Honolulu, Schweitzer integrated two fresh islands, one with fresh poké and seafood products, and one with charcuterie and cheese. Both islands are plug-in and flexible, and the installation was done by simply connecting the islands’ water and power supplies via artificial columns. The grocer was able to avoid heavy construction work, and the whole remodel was completed in just two-and-a-half weeks.

For German supermarket company Edeka’s new Hieber’s Frischecenter, in the town of Bad Krozingen, Schweitzer was tasked with emphasizing the grocer’s extensive fresh produce offering both in design and graphic communication. 

The flexibility and modularity of Schweitzer’s refrigerated counters help to guarantee an unrestricted shopping experience with a range of products, and depending on customer flow, the displays can be quickly and flexibly changed from service to self-service. Additionally, fresh products are presented vertically, as in the form of a cheese tower, to give space and visibility to the large assortment. 

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