QUINCY, Mass. -- Stop & Shop is set to roll out 20 additional Xpress Deli kiosks, supplied by InterMedia, Owings Mills, Md., bringing its total kiosk penetration to 60% of the chain's some 300 units. Presently, there are 180 kiosks placed in Stop & Shop's stores.
Bruce Havumaki, project leader of emerging technologies for the chain, said Stop & Shop is dedicated to kiosks in the deli because of customer convenience and because it enhances the shopping experience.
"It works well, because in an area where shoppers have to wait to be served, they can now place their orders and continue with their shopping. Customers like it, and they like the time savings. It's popular," he said. Not only are the kiosks a convenient time-saver, but a deli manager at a 60,000-sq.-ft. Shop Rite unit of Delaware Supermarket, Wilmington, Del., says they make money.
During one week last month, the kiosk generated $3,961 at the Shop Rite unit. There were 449 orders placed on 1,115 different items. The average per order was $8.82, and the average cost of item was $2.48. These numbers are generally on par with Shop Rite's deli counter business, said Alan Papp, deli manger.
"I should retire and sell these machines. Anyone who isn't using them in their deli is missing the boat," Papp said.
Before the kiosk technology, Papp would wonder how much of Shop Rite's customer base walked away during busy periods and did not return to make a purchase. Papp soon found out it was about 10% of the total deli business, he said. He also found his total deli business increased. "They [the supplier] told me that I could generate additional business, and I didn't believe it. I thought I'd take from one pocket and put it into another. But business actually did jump up that much," he said.
Earlier this year, InterMedia began a national expansion of its Xpress Deli through H.E. Butt, Giant Food, Meijer, Genuardi's and Shop Rite, as well as Stop & Shop. Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass., began testing the concept late last year. The growing network of kiosks includes 223 supermarkets and convenience stores. Xpress Deli kiosk can produce as much as 20% of the total deli transactions done in several of its locations, said Kevin Sheehan, senior vice president, InterMedia.
Additionally, he said that the average system is generating higher sales and gross profits while improving labor productivity in many of the participating stores.
"The average transaction size has been on average 25% higher then the deli counter average transactions size," he said. Sheehan said the reasons are that customers don't feel rushed and it's easier for them to access the entire inventory.
The number of overall transactions in the deli have increased as much as 10% after the kiosk was introduced, said Sheehan. "If a supermarket deli was averaging 15,000 transactions a month, they have the potential to increase to 16,500 total transactions after the kiosk is introduced," he said. Sheehan points to the previously lost business through walk-aways at the deli. "The kiosk is recapturing sales that were previously lost because customers didn't want to wait in line."
At Stop & Shop the kiosks are placed at the point of decision between hot foods and salads. The touch-screen kiosk, using NCR hardware, is menu-driven and uses voice prompts. "It is very intuitive," said Havumaki. Customers select from the full deli assortment. Nearly 98% of Stop & Shop's deli selection is available on the kiosk. Shoppers select the product, the amount and even the thickness of the item. The order and a receipt are printed for the customer and a duplicate is sent to the assistant behind the counter. Processing at Stop & Shop is between 15 to 20 minutes, said Havumaki.
"The kiosk is an easy-to-use technology that was developed to solve a real problem in our deli departments," added Papp.