click image to zoomPamela RiemenschneiderHeinrich Rudolf Kircher of EDEKA Sudwest talks about the company’s merchandising transformation, including adding tablet computers to produce departments to enable consumers to find information fast.BERLIN — Many German retailers are taking a page from the same book, merchandising on flat tables, with information cards overhead.
EDEKA Südwest decided to take a different approach, completely overhauling its strategy, said Heinrich-Rudolf Kircher, who spoke during a session about reaching consumers through point of sale at the Fruit Logistica show in Berlin Feb. 8.
“Our basic principle is to have well-designed displays and a well-trained staff,” he said.
The new scheme includes multidimensional merchandising with a creative flair, including things like building “greenhouses” right in the produce department to highlight greenhouse-grown products.
The company also launched television commercials touting its produce departments, but one of the most dramatic things that the company has done over the past several years is to enhance efforts to reach consumers digitally.
Produce departments offer stands with tablet computers where consumers can access information about grower-shippers, food safety and crisis management and recipes and usage tips.
“What’s most impressive about this is that they’re not just used by young people,” Kircher said.
The company also includes quick-response codes on more than 80 of its private-label products. The QR codes lead consumers to information about the producers.
Kircher stressed the new initiatives are meant as a complement to its staff and not a replacement for knowledgeable clerks.
“We still think it’s very important that produce department staff be well-equipped, experts in their field,” he said.