QUINCY, Mass. — Ahold's Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover chains are rolling out a series of changes that go beyond the price and selection adjustments that have been a part of Ahold's Value Improvement Program.
Included are new employee uniforms, new logos, enhanced meal programs and the expanded deployment of customer-facing technologies.
“For the last couple of years, we've been working on the Value Improvement Program, and really adding value to the customer's shopping experience and delivering better value and better pricing,” said Faith Weiner, a spokeswoman for the chains. “This is sort of the next phase — I'd like to think of it as the beginning of what's to come.”
Among the initiatives are the planned expanded rollout of the EasyShop and DeliVision technologies, which have been deployed in a limited number of Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover locations. (See the March 10 issue of SN for more on these technologies.)
The chains are also rolling out Choose & Cook, a new meal-components program that uses color-coded labels to help shoppers assemble meal packages. SN reported on that program earlier this month.
In addition, Weiner said Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover are seeking to expand and make improvements to their prepared-foods offering, including what she described as a larger, high-quality rotisserie chicken product.
“We think these are exciting changes that will make customers stop and say, ‘Oh, wow,’” she said.
The chains are also adding a “family-friendly” checkout lane that will offer “healthy snacks and make it a fun experience for kids when they are shopping with their parents,” Weiner explained.
She declined to place a dollar value on the magnitude of the investments, and said only that the initiatives will “continue to roll out over time” without pinpointing a specific timetable. Some of the enhancements, such as the new logo, will be unveiled in mid-August, she said.
In addition to the merchandising and technology changes, Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover also are rolling out new employee uniforms. Two weeks ago the chains also implemented a 5% employee discount for groceries, plus an additional 5% off for private-label items.
The chains are also planning to expand their “Affordable Food Summits,” where local politicians and economists visit stores to describe how consumers can best save money on groceries. Stop & Shop has staged three such events so far at stores in New York and New Jersey, but plans to schedule four more by September in New England and Baltimore, Weiner said.