CAMDEN, N.J. -- In the never-ending battle for precious display space and visibility in supermarkets, Campbell Soup Co. here has a new way to knock the competition off the shelf. It's an on-shelf, interactive computer system with touch screen features called "Campbell Vision." The unit has received positive feedback from retailers and consumers in two stores -- one operated by Value Foods in Maryland and the other by SuperFresh in New Jersey. Seventy more test stores are planned before a national rollout is scheduled. As an interactive device, Campbell Vision tells consumers where a particular variety of soup is located among the sometimes overwhelming sea of red and white labels. "Finding the Chicken and Rice vs. the Chicken and Stars has always been a problem for consumers," said Terry Atkins, director of promotion for soups. "Campbell Vision is a soup locator that is customized to each store."
Here's how it works: Consumers touch the screen to select the variety of soup they want. They then see a full-color visual representation of the soup section with their choice highlighted by a red-rectangular box. A voice then directs the consumer to look in a specific place, such as the upper left or lower right of the shelf. "Each individual unit can be tailored for each individual retailer," said Kevin Lowery, spokesman for Campbell's. "It's the only type of system of its kind."
Campbell Vision is interactive in three other ways, as well. It provides recipes using soup for all occasions and encourages cross sales throughout the store. If consumers choose main dishes, they then have the options of seafood, meat or poultry. After they touch the screen for that selection, they see a full- color photograph of a recipe, a list of ingredients, and the preparation required. They can then choose to print the recipe. A voice-over directs them to other parts of the store, indicating in which aisles the accompanying produce, meat or dairy items are located.
While the company is currently cross-promoting only with the different departments within the store, Atkins said that Campbell's would entertain the idea of cross-promoting with other products. "I could see it if the products are not competing and if there's a benefit involved," he said. "We see a lot of applications with this device. We can see it programmed for store promotions where you buy four cans and get one free or get a loaf of bread free." Like the individual shelf planograms, this information can be customized for the individual store.
Another option features new varieties of soups from Campbell's and offers money-saving coupons for immediate trials. Finally, a consumer survey asks key questions about soup consumption and usage. Data can be downloaded to provide individual store profiles, and information
is offered on Campbell's labels for education programs. "In the next phase, we'll be doing control-store match tests using scan data and store data to help measure this," said Atkins.
The device also features a merchandise catalog where consumers can browse for a Campbell's T-shirt or cap. An order form can be printed for easy fulfillment. The system measures 19 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 12 inches high. It was developed by Inter Media, Baltimore.
"We've seen lots of in-store kiosks over the years," said Atkins, "and the thing that blew us away about this machine is that it's small, compact, interactive and touch-screen." While only two Campbell Vision devices are actually in place, Campbell's plans to roll out 70 more shortly to complete the test and then go national with the program. The devices will be maintained and programmed by Campbell's regular in-store sales force.
Ed Devlin, manager of the SuperFresh store in Mount Holly, N.J., said, "It's been a positive development as far as soup is concerned because it has both the recipes and the soup locator.