Ahold testing virtual supermarket

Ahold USA, parent company of supermarket chains Giant, Stop & Shop, Martin's and Peapod, is testing out a virtual shopping tool. The simulation allows the retailers to try out marketing and merchandising concepts without actually disrupting what's going on at brick-and-mortar.

"We're able to manage tests more effectively in a controlled environment," Ed Sheedy, director of category management insights, Ahold, said in a presentation at the Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo.

The 3D interactive tool from InContext Solutions uses videos to communicate store changes, reported Supermarket News. Users can see the entire store, down to individual items. Heat mapping is used to find the most productive layouts.

Though reluctant at first, Sheedy said he's now a believer in using the tool in areas such as store planning, advertising and category management and merchandising.

Ahold is trying to stay at the forefront of consumer trends as traditional supermarkets are looking to adapt or face great losses in market share. The company's Peapod brand recently announced it would start offering customers a buy online pick-up in-store option, which is already available at its Giant and Stop & Shop supermarkets. 

In spring, Stop & Shop expanded its Peapod delivery service to include 35 new area codes in the New England area.

For more:
-See this Supermarket News article

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