Belgium: Delhaize's virtual shopping cubes could be permanent fixtures

May 15 , 2012

Belgian food retailer Delhaize is looking to explore establishing virtual cube stores on a permanent basis in stations, commercial centers and shopping malls.

The supermarket is evaluating the success of its pilot, where seven cubes with photos and bar codes of the chain's 300 most popular produce were set up in key public places, including Brussels train station.

Delhaize communications manager Roel Dekelver, said the initiative, launched last month and continuing to the end of May, was about bringing stores "closer to the public".

"It is just to see if certain products are popular. After the test we will do an evaluation exercise and see if it's possible to get them installed in a permanent way. We are convinced we will do something with it in the future."

Fruit juice and apples were among the 300 items displayed on the cubes for customers to order. Dekelver said the company was still assessing the results and wasn't in a position to comment on what made the top ten in orders.

He said that fresh produce was an important sector of the goods which could be purchased via the cubes.

"We already have a strong reputation for fresh produce, if our customers order fresh produce we are nearly 100% sure that they are of high quality."

At the moment, 10% of the retailers' online customers order via their smart phones. Customers who order online can receive home delivery or pick up their groceries the following day at one of the 100 stores, which have a Delhaize Direct pick-up point.

Shoppers download the Delhaize Direct application to their mobiles by scanning the QR code on the cube, or the Appstore and Google Play, enabling them to scan the relevant bar codes.

Delhaize Belgium has 821 stores throughout the country with a market share of 25.8% and last year it achieved a turnover of EUR 4.8 billion (US$6.16 billion). It is part of Delhaize Group, which is active in 11 countries on three continents with 3,408 stores employing 154,000 staff.

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