Valk Versmarkt Improves the Customer Experience with Qmatic

When the people at Van der Valk hotel group launch a new market concept, they never do things halfheartedly. With 900 m2 of floor space, the first Valk Fresh Food Market (Valk Versmarkt Voorschoten) in The Netherlands, is not only spacious but also combines the best of two worlds; a focus on small scale produced products combined with an ultramodern shopping experience. Head of Purchasing and Sales Frits Schoemaker explaines, “More and more people are switching to traditional, genuine flavors. At the same time, they still want to enjoy fast and top-quality service!” Over and above these customer wishes, Valk Fresh Food Market also fulfils a third wish: attractive pricing. Schoemaker continues, “I am responsible for purchasing 34 Van der Valk hotels, and so I enjoy huge economies of scale. At the same time, we have no ambition to stock the full supermarket range. We are focused entirely on fresh products. We also purchase many of our goods direct from the producers, a fact that allows us for example to stock delicious cheeses that are simply not available in the supermarket. We also stock a fabulous range of wines, a logical consequence of the fact that Van der Valk already operated a successful wine merchants at this location, specializing in the wines of Bordeaux. We have simply continued that tradition.”

XL Display Counter

In designing the fresh food market, the main consideration was the customer experience. Fresh fish laid out on a bed of ice? Butchers preparing and portioning fantastic meat while you wait? Tens of meters of fresh vegetables displayed? Careful thought was given to every aspect, except perhaps how to deal with the huge flow of customers. 'The old butchers’ shop that made way for the fresh product market was fitted with a ‘normal’ display counter. In the fresh product market, we have installed a 24-meter long display! One of our butchers argued, ‘If we don’t have a well-managed Take-a-Number system, our customers will soon be barging and shoving to get to the counter. A view we all in fact shared. However, we could not see ourselves working with an old-fashioned ticket dispenser in our fantastic fresh product market, where absolutely everything is state of the art. I ended up going in search of an alternative, and soon found myself knocking on the door at Qmatic.”

Qmatic Integrated Solution

“We asked Qmatic not to come up with ‘any old solution’, but to create a integrated solution for us. In the butchers’ department we work with seven state-of-the-art weighing scales, integrated in the display counter. It goes without saying that the counter staff have to be able to inform customers when it is their turn to be served. Together with our weighing scale supplier, Qmatic developed the relevant software that enables the weighing scales and the Qmatic platform to be combined seamlessly.

An enhanced customer experience

When customers arrive at Valk Versmarkt Voorschoten they simply “sign in” at the Qmatic kiosk and a large display screens inform them when it is their turn. The screens have been positioned in such a way that they are visible from anywhere in the market. That means that while waiting for their turn, people can leave the queue to pick up a delicious cheese or a good-quality bottle of wine. According to Schoemaker, the limits of the possibilities have not yet been reached. “We also have one screen in the back of the actual butchery department, which displays how many customers are waiting, and the average waiting time; a useful tool during quieter periods, when display counter staff can step back and help the butchers - for example in preparing meat skewers - while still being able to see at a glance when it is time for them to return to the displays. In the future, we aim to use Qmatic to optimize our staff numbers. The platform is an extremely valuable source of management information. For the time being that is a prospect for the future - we have only been up and running for six months - but it is an attractive option,” ends Schoemaker.

“From every corner of the shop, customers can see when it is their turn to be served!”

Frits Schoemaker, Head of Purchasing and Sales, Valk Versmarkt Voorschoten

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