BLOOMFIELD, N.J. -- The remodeled Brookdale ShopRite here, which opened three months ago, has been using a touch-screen kiosk in its deli department to enable customers to place orders electronically for meats and salads. Based on the success of the system in that department, the retailer is considering expanding its use to the seafood section and the pharmacy.
"It really has helped keep the deli department running smoothly," said Mark Greenstein, owner. "People seem to really like the convenience of placing their orders through the kiosk and then coming back to pick them up in the refrigerator case as they complete their shopping," he noted. "We feel it is a plus for any supermarket."
According to a source familiar with the project, more than 30 stores in the Wakefern Food Corp. supermarket cooperative, based in Elizabeth, N.J., have the touch-screen kiosks in their deli departments. "The touch-screen kiosks are going in many of the Wakefern stores as they are remodeled," the source said. The source said other Wakefern stores were also considering expanding the kiosk to the deli and pharmacy areas.
Since stores in the Wakefern cooperative, which operates stores under the ShopRite and Big V banners, are independently owned, each owner will make the decision about use of the kiosk.
The source said if the project moves forward, the Brookdale ShopRite would be among the first Wakefern units to use the kiosk in seafood and pharmacy. The kiosk vendor, Capitol Manufacturing Co., Pennsauken, N.J., is in the process of completing work on those applications and they should be available in the next month.
Customers place orders at the kiosk, which allows them to select preferences such as thick or thin slices. Once the deli staff fills the orders, customers can retrieve them from a refrigerated case.
Greenstein said the kiosk has alleviated some of the customer-service problems that can be associated with any in-store deli. "For example, people see there is a wait and they take a number. They wander off for longer than they thought and they come back later, after their number is called. Then the people who have been standing there get upset. This helps to reduce the commotion."
Greenstein acknowledges that the kiosk may reduce impulse purchases. "If you have a set list -- in writing or in your head -- you might add something while you're standing at the counter. But we feel there are many customer-service benefits to the system. Plus, the kiosk allows us to call the consumer's attention to items that are on sale," he said, which can boost deli purchases.