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Peapod brings virtual shopping to Chicago El system

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — Online grocer Peapod is bringing its scan-and-buy grocery ordering system to the Chicago El.

The online retailer, owned by Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, announced Monday that it had placed its virtual store posters along the walls of a tunnel at the heavily trafficked State and Lake station of Chicago’s rapid transit system.

The posters, placed on the walls to resemble store shelves, allow commuters to scan bar codes with their smartphones and, using a downloadable app, have the corresponding products delivered to their homes. Brands include Coca-Cola, Barilla, Proctor & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Kimberly-Clark.

Peapod unveiled a similar program in Philadelphia’s commuter rail system earlier this year.

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Huggies introduces limited-edition Little Movers diapers

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Huggies is expanding its Little Movers diapers line with the introduction of a limited-edition item that is both fun and fashionable.

Available now through July, Huggies Little Movers Hawaiian diapers are shaped to fit to provide proven leakage protection with an added tropical twist. In addition to the diapers, limited-edition Huggies Hawaiian wipes also will offer a fun, tropical-inspired design. The diapers will be sold at select retail outlets nationwide and are available in sizes two to five.

As part of their retail debut, Huggies said that for every pack of Huggies Hawaiian diapers and wipes purchased, the Huggies Every Little Bottom program will diaper a baby in need. The launch of Hawaiian diapers and wipes also will be supported via Huggies’ Facebook page, where consumers are encouraged to upload a photo of their summer-ready baby to create an animated dancing Hula Baby video. For each animation created, "liked" or shared, Huggies Every Little Bottom will diaper a baby in need for one day.

"Diapers are a basic need for all babies. Many families are often forced to cut back on basic necessities, such as food or utilities in order to provide diapers for their children," Huggies brand VP Erik Seidel said. "This summer, parents can dress their little ones in Huggies Hawaiian Diapers to be ‘Cute for a Cause’ no matter where they are — on summer break at home or a vacation – and contribute to the fight against diaper need."

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Smartphones and tablets: Gateway to greater sales or to more competition?

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The fact that 3-out-of-every-4 smartphone and tablet owners use their devices to help them shop is downright frightening. Because the real question then becomes, "Where are those consumers making that purchase — is it at retail or with someone whose name starts with ‘www.’?"

(THE NEWS: Nielsen survey unveils how smartphone, tablet owners use devices for shopping-related activities. For the full story, click here.)

That’s a big part of the reasoning behind Target’s decision in the past week to kick Kindle to the curb — during the holidays, Amazon.com had been encouraging shoppers to use brick-and-mortar stores as live showrooms even as those shoppers clicked and shipped that product home, courtesy of Amazon.com. Beyond charging admission at the front door, how does a brick-and-mortar operator not lose when that happens?

Fortunately, not everyone has a tablet. At least not yet. Tablet penetration stands at about 19% of the U.S. population as of January 2012, according to Nielsen. But according to another report issued May 3, DisplaySearch forecasts tablet sales will outpace PC notebook sales by 2016.

Comparatively, 46% of Americans owned smartphones as of December 2011, according to Nielsen. And that larger number of smartphone owners actually may be making purchases in-store — with 42% working against a shopping list (indicating a planned trip) and 36% redeeming a moblie coupon.

So there is still time to react considering that less than half of tablet owners have actually purchased an item with their tablet (compared to 29% of smartphone owners). So now the opportunity becomes: How do you convert that tablet shopper from a retail purveyor to an in-store buyer?

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