Rush, rush, rush. Train stations are madhouses of hustle and bustle. And, frequently, crushes of people, too. Each day, about 350,000 people pass through Cologne’s central train station, a building located in the shadow of the city’s cathedral. A medium-sized train station like the one in Bonn, a city located just south of Cologne, is a pretty popular place, too. It attracts more than 56,000 travellers and visitors every day. Commuters are the driving force behind the continuously expanding use of train stations. In major metropolitan areas, every third individual uses a bus or train to get to work. A casual breakfast in the morning? This is something that most time-starved commuters can only dream about. They have to hit the ground running in the morning. Their daily calendars are packed with appointments. They increasingly eat on the go. A quick snack on the run – but it better be fresh and healthy! This is what our on-the-move society craves. The majority of commuters set aside about 10 minutes for this pleasure.
Since 2011, REWE has been meeting such needs of the mobile society with its REWE To Go concept. At the beginning of 2020, the company had more than 550 such stores, most of which are located at Aral petrol stations, train stations, downtown pedestrian areas and airports – in other words, everywhere where lots of people constantly come and go. But customers’ needs and habits are changing. They want: Even more variety. Even more freshness. And even more convenience. “In response to these trends, we specifically reworked our REWE To Go concept especially for high-frequency locations last year and made it even more modular,” says Dr Alexander König, Head of Business Development REWE Convenience Formats. “Our goal is to make shopping even faster and more pleasant for customers as well as to provide them with a product range that is designed with the particular location and customer needs in mind.”
REWE Group, discusses the opportunities created by the merger with Lekkerland and the future of
As part of the merger with Lekkerland Group at the beginning of 2020, REWE Group created a new strategic business area called Convenience. What opportunities does it create?
Lionel Souque: On-the-go consumption and eating out are two of the most powerful trends in our industry. They will play an even bigger role in future. This is why we have continuously expanded our convenience range and improved its quality over the years. We will create many new opportunities with the help of the specialised logistics and the comprehensive wholesale and convenience expertise offered by Lekkerland.
How will wholesale customers and end consumers profit from the merger of the two companies?
Lionel Souque: The activities and the areas of expertise at REWE and Lekkerland complement one another almost perfectly. When the best of two worlds comes together, the outlook can only be positive. Working together, we will change on-the-go consumption. Wholesale and end consumers will profit from such things as a broader product range as well as new formats and concepts.
What goals has REWE Group set for the Convenience business area?
Lionel Souque: We will draw on our expanded areas of expertise, our ingenuity and our many years of experience in order to turn our vision of being “your most convenient partner” for all customers into a reality even faster. We offer the best solution for customers on the go, no matter what they need.
A visit to the Bonn Central Train Station. The new generation of the REWE To Go concept has been brought to life here on nearly 160 square metres of sales area. Bright shelves, state-of-the-art refrigerating units, an innovative salad bar, wooden fruit baskets: everything filled with 1,200 fresh, ready-to-eat products, including more than 100 innovative store brands. “The focal point of the product range is immediate consumption,” says David Safar, Head of Category Management REWE Convenience Formats. Portioned fruit, freshly pressed orange juice, straight-from-the-oven baked goods and sandwiches made right in the store itself – everything craved by food-for-now customers who are pressed for time. They want balanced nutrition, foods that taste great, are healthy and can be easily eaten. Customers who like warm food can select from the new menu offered each day. Treats like home-made rosemary potatoes with sour cream, mango-carrot soup and a chorizo skillet.
Customers who are in a hurry do not want to be slowed down when they shop. What they really want is: to quickly gain their bearings and to be rapidly on their way again. “To speed up the shopping experience, we optimised both our technologies and our processes in the store,” Alexander König said. Customers can use a coffee machine to brew their favourite cup of exclusive Fairtrade and organic coffee from the new trendy brand COBEA Urban Coffee at the press of a button. Three self-checkout desks enable customers to cut down their waiting time. It is a service that they are increasingly taking advantage of. Every fifth customer is already doing so. Fast, uncomplicated and cashless.
“The store’s results have really exceeded our expectations in terms of revenue and customer traffic,” says Philipp Pauly, Head of REWE Convenience Formats. “The enhanced REWE To Go concept provides the right product range for every location that has 50 square metres to 300 square metres of space – all designed to meet customers’ needs.”