BETHESDA, Md. -- Retailers as diverse as 13-store Petrini Markets on the West Coast and 150-store Pathmark Stores in the East are finding common ground in cyberspace through a new supermarket community site on the World Wide Web.
The new web site, called The Supermarket Connection, went live last month and serves as a conduit to various retailer and brand manufacturer home pages.
In addition to Pathmark, Woodbridge, N.J., and Petrini, San Rafael, Calif., other retailer participants in the project include Shaw's Supermarkets, East Bridgewater, Mass. (see related story on Page 22); Byerly's, Edina, Minn.; Scolari's Food & Drug, Sparks, Nev.; Cub Foods, Lithia Springs, Ga., and Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark.
More retailers are expected to sign on later this month, according to Kevin Sheehan, president of Shopping Alternatives here, the home shopping and delivery provider that spearheaded the project and designed web pages for most of the retailers involved.
Although the company declined to name new retailers expected to join the program, a graphic of the United States contained in the web site plots locations of chain participants and shows future players operating stores in Texas, Washington state and Arizona.
By the second quarter of 1996, the project seeks to involve retailers in 20 markets and 50 cities, Sheehan told SN.
Another food industry web project, called Supermarket Shopping Network and unrelated to the Supermarket Connection site, was scheduled to go live last month, but has been
postponed with an anticipated January launch timeframe.
The new Supermarket Connection web site (http://www.shopat.com/) contains links to the home pages for brand manufacturers of Ragu, Coca-Cola, Nabisco, Frito-Lay, Hershey, Perrier and Snapple. A hotlink to a site developed by Ben & Jerry's is also included.
A key component of the project is access to home shopping and delivery services provided by retailers and Shopping Alternatives. Visitors to the main page can input their zip code to find out if the service is available in their market area.
Cub Foods, which already offered home shopping and delivery services via telephone and fax orders, will now accept computer-generated orders through its web site linked to The Supermarket Connection. Personal computer users are instructed to download grocery ordering software directly from the retailers' site.
"Our home shopping and delivery service has been very well received by our customers and we want to go one step further by providing access to Cub Foods and all the services that we provide via the Internet," said Preston Slayden, president, in a statement.
Retailer web sites linked to Supermarket Connection also contain a broad array of retailer-specific information, including store locations, company history and weekly specials.