CAMP HILL, Pa. -- In addition to its large size and new merchandising themes, the Giant Super Food Store that opened on Oct. 12 here features an unusual range of consumer-oriented technology aimed at helping customers expedite their shopping trip.
The 92,000-square-foot store, now the largest unit of Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores/Tops Markets (a division of Ahold USA), includes handheld consumer-scanning devices, self-checkout lanes, a touchscreen produce scale and label printer, informational touchscreen kiosks, and a WiFi Internet cafe.
"With our continued commitment to offer our customers the newest supermarket technology, we have outfitted the new Giant Super Food Store with solutions that provide convenience to customers' current shopping routines," said Nick Montepara, vice president of retail operations and planning, in a statement. "Customers who might not be technically inclined will find the new offerings easy to use, making shopping faster, easier and even more convenient than ever before."
Trained associates are available to demonstrate the new technology to customers at all times, according to spokesman Denny Hopkins. Customer reactions to the store's new features have been "wow," he said. The store will also feature one-stop shopping and healthy lifestyles (see SN, Oct. 17, 2005, Page 1).
Some of the new store's technological features, including the self-checkout lanes, scales and kiosks, were first introduced in Giant Food Stores' Martin's Super Food store in Winchester, Va., Hopkins said.
"The [Winchester] store was chosen as a pilot store to develop, test and validate technology before implementation in the Camp Hill store," he said.
The Camp Hill store's technology is also similar to applications offered by Food Lion's five Bloom stores in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
FOR CARD HOLDERS
The Camp Hill store's handheld consumer-scanning devices -- called EasyShop -- allow shoppers to scan and bag items in their cart as they shop. The store's 72 EasyShop devices are provided by Agilysys, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and Symbol technologies, Holtsville, N.Y. To use the device, a shopper must be a Giant loyalty cardholder and sign up for the service in advance.
"We ask customers for their name and Bonuscard number," Hopkins said. "Upon registration, we offer a live demonstration of the system by a trained store associate, and a customer brochure describing the [EasyShop] feature."
Customers who use EasyShop can pick it up along with bags at the start of their shopping trip. The device can only be used at 12 designated checkout terminals, Hopkins said. Three are traditional checkout lanes and nine are self-checkout lanes.
Audits of EasyShop users will be performed in the store, Hopkins said. He explained that the auditing process is managed through the EasyShop system and each EasyShop user will be audited at least one time.
All of the designated EasyShop checkout lanes have instructions that direct customers to return the hand scanner device to a return rack attached to the EasyShop checkout.
The store is equipped with nine EasyScan self-checkout terminals, from Fujitsu, Sunnyvale, Calif. "They are recommended as express checkouts," said Hopkins.
The Giant store's EasyWeigh scales, provided in part by Bizerba, Piscataway, N.J., allow customers to weigh their produce, bulk food and other random weigh items and print a bar-code label that is used at the checkout.
The store also features 17 Shopping Solutions kiosks, developed by St. Clair Interactive Communications, Toronto. They are located at the store's entrances, in the produce, natural and organics, deli, seafood, meat, bakery, pharmacy, customer-service, frozen grocery and general merchandise sections. "The kiosks are a one-stop informational center for all a shopper's needs," Hopkins said.
The kiosks offer personalized savings offers and allow shoppers to check their Bonuscard savings status, once they've scanned their Bonuscard. They also provide information about the store's technology features, help to locate items in the store and check prices.
The kiosks' recipe-solutions feature provides recipe suggestions for side dishes when customers scan the bar code on any meat, seafood or produce item at the kiosk. Shoppers can also use the kiosks to place deli orders, prescription refills or custom-decorated cakes from the bakery.
The store's WiFi Internet cafe provides wireless Internet access for customers who bring their laptop computers to the store.
"We provide the service for free as well as access to power outlets where [shoppers] can plug [laptop] computers in," Hopkins said.
Although it's too early to tell the type of customer most willing to try the store's features, "from a purely observational point of view, we see all customers using the systems regardless of gender and age," he said.
Giant Carlisle plans to open two similarly equipped stores in Hershey, Pa., and Aston, Pa., Hopkins said.