V-Mini, Kaufbeuren (D)

Large-scale operator opens first V-mini in Kaufbeuren

Bavarian retail company Georg Jos. Kaes GmbH, which operates the V-Markt and V-Baumarkt retail stores, is breaking new ground with Wanzl as its development and implementation partner. For the Haken district in Kaufbeuren (Ostallgäu, Bavaria), a small-space concept based on Wanzl’s 24/7 shop formats was jointly developed for the local market. Although the weekly bulk shop is still a mainstay of the grocery retail sector, most people still want to make a quick, short trip to a nearby supermarket. However, especially in rural areas or in remote or newer residential areas, the nearest store is often further away.

Until now, V-Markt stores were known as large-scale retail stores with hundreds of thousands of products. In Kaufbeuren, a small vacant commercial building has now been converted and is the location of the first 400-square-meter (4,305.6-square-foot) V-mini store. “With Kaes, we analyzed beforehand whether the Haken district was a suitable location for the store. It quickly became clear that it was predestined for this because there were hardly any shopping options here until now. At the same time, the district is very popular as a new development area. More and more people and therefore potential customers are moving here and will certainly welcome such a shopping offer,” explains Christoph Kübel, Senior Director Retail at Wanzl. Another strategic consideration for Kaes, which until now has only operated large retail spaces: new customer needs also mean new shopping behaviors. Customers prefer fast, uncomplicated shopping. Small-space concepts such as the V-mini are a future-oriented solution here. Kaes entrusted the project to Wanzl’s experts, who managed everything from planning and shop design to shop fittings and technology.

An innovative shopping experience

Shopping at the V-mini store is simple and innovative. This starts as soon as you enter the supermarket: the sliding doors at the entrance open fully automatically by scanning a debit or credit card. Inside, the customer moves around as in a conventional V-Markt, selects the products of their choice from the shelf and places them in their shopping cart or shopping basket. With the cloud-based management software Wanzl Connect®, the autonomous processes in the supermarket are controlled and monitored centrally and digitally. Thanks to this technology, the V-mini store can be operated almost without staff – a great advantage in times of acute staff shortages and the demographic development. Only one employee is needed to stock the shelves and assist customers who have questions about the product range and the technology. Wanzl Connect® also supports new coronavirus restrictions by controlling and limiting the number of people in the store. Although the V-mini is a small version of the V-Markt, the customer will find a selected full range here, which makes both the big weekly shopping and small errands possible.

The elegant wire tech 100 shelf, the Vitable® fresh produce table for fruit and vegetables, and easy-to-set-up bargain baskets present the products and give the store a very clear layout. Products subject to age restrictions are located in a separate area that can only be accessed through another access gate. Fresh baked goods and fresh coffee are provided in the BakeOff station from Wanzl and a fully automatic coffee machine. The regional connection to customers and suppliers is evident both in the products and in the in-store design. Nature and the forest reflect the landscape of the Allgäu region. The wood paneling inside the shop and the forest motifs on the walls are a perfect match for the region. Signs made of tree trunk boards with lettering such as “Simply close” or “Simply fresh” clearly show customers the advantages of the V-mini. Large product guides made of elegant black, which hang above the shelves, help you to find your way around the store. Once the customer has finished shopping, the self-checkout counters round off the innovative shopping experience: here, the customer scans their products themselves and pays with a debit or credit card.

Wanzl offers everything from a single source

The V-mini has been in Kaufbeuren since 10 November 2022. An organizational masterpiece: the Wanzl teams for planning, shopfitting project management, and shop formats as well as the production team developed and implemented the new small-space concept for the large-scale operator in just nine months. Together, Wanzl and the project managers from Kaes worked out and analyzed the requirements for the project in intensive workshops. Throughout the project, Wanzl worked closely with all project participants and managed the cooperation with the partners. “We have loved working with Wanzl. Not only because the quality is right, but also because we received comprehensive support and advice right from the start,” says Martin Glöckner, company spokesman at Georg Jos. Kaes GmbH. Kaes was impressed by the excellent cooperation with Wanzl and the innovative shop concept, so more V-mini stores are set to follow.