The supermarket has to be somewhere people enjoy coming to, with a large fresh foods department where they can taste and smell the products and a range of products tailored
to local needs, with local products from local suppliers
if required. “No one needs to leave home to do grocery shopping. To get consumers to come into the store, we are building traditional stores which offer experiences and inspiration,” explains Willem Boon, Boon Food Group's Commercial Director. “Obviously people have less time for this during the week, which is why we have created a short route for them past the ready-to-cook meals and the fast-track checkout. But at the weekend, we want people to move away from their trolleys and experience what the store has to offer.”
This change has not made life easy for Boon Food Group. Stores are increasingly being built with operational effectiveness as their main focus. “Our approach is different, but we believe that by doing so, we are offering a different in-store experience,” says Boon.
This in-store experience is the most tangible in the 40 stores with the Boon's Markt and MCD retail formats. They can be divided into two variants: the larger full-service variant and the slightly smaller, village shop variant. Boon Food Group also operates its Buurtsuper (corner shop) and Vakantiesuper (campsite shop) format in 13 stores. “In 2020, we started Boon’s Pitstop as a spin-off from Boon’s Markt for places with considerable traffic flow. More and more people pop in on their way home to pick up a meal they can prepare quickly, so that they don’t have to cook.”
There are currently three branches of Boon's Pitstop: in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Leiden. These three stores are one of the reasons for transferring to Centric’s Omnichannel Retail Suite. People who want to shop quickly on their way home don’t want to have to join a queue at a traditional checkout. They prefer to scan their own shopping so that they can be out again quickly and catch the metro home. Boon Food Group’s old checkout system could not support self-scan checkouts, however. “We had an outdated checkout system that was no longer compatible with today’s formats. To improve the customer experience, we needed to move to a new application and new hardware,” explains Marcel van Gurp, Boon Food Group's ICT Manager.