Enhance Customers' Experiences with Solid-State Refrigeration

April 27, 2019

Food shopping is a personal experience. Consumers like what they like, and they’re willing to shop around for what they want – more so today than in the past. At the same time, food and beverage choices are more plentiful than ever, and convenience even more essential for today’s ultra-busy shopper.

Plus, Amazon’s cashier-less checkouts, Walmart’s grocery pickup and the future possibility of driverless home delivery systems are just a few examples of how the competitive landscape is changing by the minute.

As all these forces gather strength, how does the modern consumer view today’s grocery experience? What do they envision for the store of the future? Phononic recently commissioned a survey of 1,118 U.S. consumers to get answers to those questions. What did we find out? That consumers feel empowered by the growing number of shopping options, but still think that retailers need to modernize the overall experience.

Whether it’s the desire for enhanced in-store experiences or newer technology to help make the shopping trip faster, solid-state cooling plays a key role in the store of the future. Smaller and more compact refrigerators and freezers give customers more access to fresh and frozen products throughout stores (and at checkout). Store operators that use innovative solid-state technology to modernize and better meet consumers’ needs will gain an advantage over competitors that do not.

For retailers and store operators who may be wondering how they can better meet consumers’ needs (and, in turn, boost sales), the following are three significant findings from our “Store of the Future” survey:

1. In-store experience is key. While Americans have mixed opinions about the act of grocery shopping, the survey revealed that consumers are generally pleased with store operators’ moves to enhance the shopper experience. They are more likely to patronize the retailers that improve their in-store experiences, for example with solid-state refrigerators or freezers to provide a greater variety of grab-and-go options at checkout. Four in five Americans (80%) recognize stores’ efforts to offer more prepared food options, both hot and cold, and 70% say complementary food pairings tend to be arranged in a pleasing fashion. Over three-quarters (77%) say stores have created a “modern feel,” while two-thirds (65%) say stores are doing a good job providing healthier and/or fresh options at checkout – all the more reason to include solid-state refrigerators and freezers at these spots.

2. Grocery stores need to get tech right. Half of Americans (51%) say if grocery stores don’t “enter the modern age,” more people will look for other ways to get food. Forty-one percent of consumers say grocery stores haven’t yet figured out how to use technology like other retailers have and need to adapt to the modern age.

Nine in ten Americans (89%) say it’s important that grocery stores use technology better and/or more efficiently to make checking out fast. More than four in five (83%) say they need to use it to make shopping faster. The same percentage (83%) feels it’s important to provide more choices. And seven in ten (69%) say they need to use technology to provide better meal ideas.

Frozen and refrigerated goods will play more of a role in the store of the future. Over half (52%) of respondents say they expect these items will be distributed throughout stores, rather than just placed at the back or side of the store. Compact solid-state refrigerators and freezers enable stores to offer a wider variety of fresh and frozen items and enhance their status as impulse buys.

RELATED READ: Three Reasons Why Grocery Shoppers Prefer Distributed Refrigeration

3. Consumers still like to shop in person. When asked where they typically shop, answers were split between traditional grocery stores (54%) and mass retailers like Walmart and Target (49%). Smaller percentages shop at other venues like specialty stores (14%), big-box stores (13%) and convenience stores (10%). Few regularly use a grocery delivery service like Peapod (12%) or meal delivery services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh (3%).

When it comes to consumers who have tried these services, the two biggest problems are fees and food storage concerns. Two-thirds (67%) of Americans say a problem with meal and/or food delivery services is how the food is stored while being delivered. With a portable solid-state refrigerator, these fears would be alleviated, and retailers could ensure items are fresh upon delivery.

Phononic’s solid-state refrigerators and freezers, including the Phononic F200 Merchandising Freezer, can help retailers and store operators more easily transition to the store of the future and better meet consumers’ needs. They are compact, with a modern design and quiet operation made possible by solid-state technology, which eliminates the need for noisy compressors. Plus, they can be placed anywhere within stores because they don’t require special power drops and are nearly silent, unlike conventional compressor units.


To see the complete survey results and discover more opportunities to enhance the grocery store experience, check out Phononic’s Store of the Future eBook.

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