There are plenty of reasons to close the case on a supermarket’s refrigerated or frozen food aisle — product longevity, energy savings and more. But here’s a counterintuitive motive for putting doors on once-open cases: enhanced customer experience inside the store.
“Grocers worry that putting a glass door between the shopper and the product might hurt sales. The reality is that putting doors on your cases can be a promotional plus,” said Hillphoenix Design Center Specialist Kristi Estes. Here are a few of her ideas for merchandising behind closed doors:
Think of the product as a palette. Foods cooled behind high-visibility glass doors stay fresh and sellable as much as two days longer than in an open case. That adds value to the time spent creating a colorful, engaging display. So, think of your glass-fronted coolers as temporary art installations. Create color bands using cut fruit, cut vegetables, salad packs, fresh juices, even dips and sauces. Consider the optical aspects of packaging. Borrow a strategy from clothing retailers and arrange products according to size, shape and color to create order and visual interest.
Get lighting right. It’s essential to choose the appropriate lighting for the product on display, and that’s especially important in refrigerated and frozen food reach-in cases. The proper LED light — selected for qualities such as balance and saturation — can make colors pop, eliminate dark spots or put a distinctive spotlight on a display centerpiece. Well-chosen case lighting even allows you to turn down the overhead lights in your frozen or refrigerated aisle and use in-case lighting to create an atmospheric in-store destination for shoppers. “At the Hillphoenix Design Center, we spend a lot of time guiding grocers through which LEDs will work best in conjunction with their store lighting,” Estes said. “If you choose a high-visibility case door and select the right LED lighting to go in it, you can create museum-worthy display spaces in your refrigerated and frozen foods areas.”
Promote the benefits to shoppers. Putting your refrigerated foods behind doors is a smart business move, but some of those closed-door benefits will appeal to shoppers, too — if you point them out. “The obvious example is energy savings,” Estes said. “Boost your environmental bragging rights by letting shoppers know how much your closed cases reduce energy consumption, and use metrics they can understand.” Post signs throughout your frozen and refrigerated aisles to explain the advantages: Our energy-efficient coolers save enough electricity to power 17 homes for an entire year. Or: Feeling warmer in the frozen food aisle? Thank our energy-efficient, closed-case coolers. Sustainability and comfort will resonate with shoppers, if you tell them the story.
“Door cases designed for high visibility and operational efficiency greatly enhance a supermarket’s merchandising options,” Estes said. “With the right lighting, creative displays and strategic messaging, closed cases can show off all kinds of foods and beverages to their best advantage.”