Stop & Shop Customers Make a New Buddy
Dutch retail giant Royal Ahold has begun testing some radically new technology in its Stop & Shop supermarkets. In a pilot project, the company is testing a new self-service system that utilizes wireless technology to help customers locate goods, scan purchased items, and much more. The system, called “Shopping Buddy,” was designed by software vendor Cuesol, Inc.
Shoppers who wish to participate in the experiment must sign up for a Stop & Shop loyalty card. The card will be used to bill the customer for items purchased in the Shopping Buddy system. Upon entering the Stop & Shop, Shopping Buddy customers are handed a portable computer, which they insert into a cart-mounted holder. The first step for shoppers is to swipe their loyalty card to sign on to the system.
The Shopping Buddy user interface consists of a flat-panel display, about the size of a magazine page, with color images of specific products. Using a keypad, shoppers can type the name of an item, and the system tells them where it’s located and how to get there. The Shopping Buddy includes a scanning wand that customers use to scan items as they place them in the cart. As the customer progresses through the store, location-sensitive advertisements inform the customer of special deals on items located nearby – deals available only to those using Shopping Buddy.
When customer is ready to check out, the purchase data is automatically and wirelessly transferred from the Shopping Buddy device to the check out system, and funds are automatically transferred from the customer’s bank account to Stop & Shop. David O’Neill, a senior citizen who is regular at the Stop & Shop supermarket in Quincy, Massachusetts, hasn’t needed to talk to a cashier in months. He particularly appreciates the convenient checkout process. “The biggest pain in the neck is the lines at the registers,” O”Neill says. Shopping Buddy has done away with long lines and delays at checkout.
The Shopping Buddy system employs several wireless technologies to support the wide range of services it offers. A Wi-Fi network is employed to assist customers in finding products on the shelves. Wi-Fi also allows customers place deli orders anywhere in the store and pick them up as they pass the deli counter. Infrared technology is used to scan purchase items. Bluetooth transmissions provide location specific advertisements and wireless data transfer at checkout. Since the system maintains information about a shopper’s previous purchases, the Shopping Buddy system can target advertisements and promotions to customers according to individual customer tastes, for example, “You haven’t purchased coffee in two weeks. Are you running low? There’s a special on Folgers located on your right!”
First-time Shopping Buddy users earn $5 off their groceries for trying out the system. Most shoppers continue using the system after they’ve tried it. The ease of use and additional features save customers time and frustration. Nina Tobin, another recent shopper in the Quincy store, liked the fact that she could review what she’d placed in her cart to verify that she hadn’t forgotten anything.

Discussion Questions
1. In what ways does Shopping Buddy provide benefits and conveniences for Stop & Shop customers?
2. How does the Shopping Buddy system assist the Royal Ahold Corporation in understanding its clientele?
3. How does the Shopping Buddy system assist the Stop & Shop store owner in running a smooth and effective operation?

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Get Expert Help at an Amazing Discount!"
Looking for a Similar Assignment? Our Experts can help. Use the coupon code SAVE30 to get your first order at 30% off!