BOISE, Idaho - Albertsons here, a division of Minneapolis-based Supervalu, in late July extended its rollout of targeted discount kiosks, installing 300 machines in its Southern California region covering Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.
The "avenu" kiosks, which offer loyalty shoppers up to 12 specials based on their shopping history as they enter a store, were originally installed last fall in over 200 Albertsons-owned Jewel/Osco stores in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.
By this fall, the program is expected to be in over 1,000 Albertsons-operated stores, including its Intermountain region and Acme division.
"It brings the customer more savings on items that they buy regularly and introduces them to products that they are more likely to enjoy," said Shannon Bennett, a spokeswoman for Albertsons.
One or two of the kiosks are placed at the entrance of a store. Shoppers generate a printout of the targeted discounts by scanning their loyalty card at the kiosk. The savings are delivered automatically at the checkout when the card is scanned. "The engagement time at the kiosk is quick - in fact, under 12 seconds - and this has been a major factor in its success," Bennett said.
Customers can also receive avenu specials via email or by logging onto the avenu website. These offers may last for two days, while in-store specials are good until midnight of the day they were offered. Offers change daily. Discounts in one sample sheet sent to SN ranged from 40 cents to $3.79.
The overall system, including development and execution of the marketing campaigns, is provided by Concept Shopping, Lisle, Ill. The kiosks are supplied by third-party vendors built to Concept Shopping's specifications. Albertsons is the program's only retail user to date.
The avenu kiosks are among a small group of electronic marketing ventures - such as Stop & Shop's Shopping Buddy shopping cart tablet, and kiosks being tested by Green Hills, a store in Syracuse, N.Y. - that seek to offer targeted specials to shoppers during or at the start of the shopping trip.
According to Concept Shopping, shoppers are 11 times more likely to purchase an item when they view a personalized offer as they embark upon their trip in the store. Same-store sales in stores using the kiosk have improved up to 4%, Concept Shopping said.
"Avenu represents a major opportunity to market directly to customers in-store, a particularly appealing concept to our manufacturer partners," Bennett said. "When complemented with our mainstream merchandising and display programs, we are confident that this investment will return strong dividends for those [manufacturers] who leverage this technology."
Bennett said Albertsons is pleased with customers' response to the kiosks so far. "We have many customers who are now using the kiosk every time they shop," she said. But John Hennessy, vice president sales and marketing of Concept Shopping, acknowledged that usage levels are still "not where we want it to be."
In addition to funding the targeted discounts, product manufacturers, which so far include Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Borden and Miller Brewing, pay a fee to Concept Shopping, but only when an offer is redeemed at the POS. Retailers can also market private-label items Retailers purchase the kiosks, which range between $2,000 and $6,000 per machine.