20CENT Mood Belgiums food retail landscape has been boiling up with new concepts
Belgium’s food retail landscape has been boiling up with new concepts
In a previous post on the blog of Paris Retail Week, I pointed out how Belgium is behind its neighbors when it comes to ecommerce. However, since a couple of months, Belgian food retailers seem to show a great amount of enthusiasm and innovative concepts are flourishing. 2018 has clearly been a year full of innovative new concepts.
Carrefour’s constant renewal
Carrefour Belgium decided to be very active. Of course people will remember that the retailer announced a transformation plan at the beginning of the year. But I didn’t see the plan as a rescue mission. In my opinion, it was more a sign that the group decided to look and adapt to the future.
In their shops the most amazing item was the reopening of the Hypermarket of Mont-Saint Jean. The concept clearly showed improvements, and that the group learns from previous store transformations. It was not the reinvention of the hypermarket, but it positions the store in an omnichannel approach towards the customers, and also shows that brick and mortar is a place where pleasure and everyday life take place.
The lion woke up
It was necessary if you ask me but after months (and years) of quietness Delhaize woke up. The group showed their new supermarket format, and decided to launch a new store concept as well.
The new supermarket of Nivelles offered plenty of innovations, a warmer setting, and even notes of omnichannel integration. The most impressive item in the shop was the Fresh Atelier, a corner where food preparations are freshly and even instantly made. This main feature of the store actually previewed what came a few weeks later: the launch of Fresh Atelier as a new store concept. This latest concept is a small store offering on-the-go solutions for each meal or moment of the day, and is also a pick-up point for customers who made their shopping online.
Last but not least about the Lion retailer, you should know that Delhaizedecided to invest largely in the transformation plan and the new concepts are rapidly being implemented all over the country.
Delitraiteur also decided to launch a new store model with Eat & Go.
In this case, one can really witness the blurring lines between a proximity store and a small restaurant where consumers can come to have a quick bite.
The Delitraiteur group has great ambition for this new concept as they hope to open more Eat&Go shops in places of high traffic such as train stations, airports, etc.
Finally I wanted to share with you that the weather in Belgian’s retail landscape has been experiencing pop-up showers. Lidl, Carrefour, Colruyt, Delhaize and others have opened pop-up stores in major cities to either promote a seasonal activity (e.g. summer, BBQ, holidays…) or promote a communication plan. These pop-up usually allow retailers to gather a lot of one to one encounters with customers and even test a few ideas, which they wouldn’t test in normal stores.
That’s all, for now…
So as mentioned, when it comes to ecommerce, Belgium is still lacking overall. But in food retail, all retailers who launched new concepts this year tended to integrate their model in an omnichannel world: lines are blurring, click and collect is implemented everywhere, and most of all retailers try to provide the same experience online and offline.
So if you have the chance to visit Belgium and do a store tour, I strongly invite you to check some of the latest store launches. And I also invite you to keep an eye open as more improved version will keep popping up.