For consumers today, service equals convenience, so
retailers are increasing their use of technology in hope that it will allow
them to more efficiently serve their customers along with providing them
Self-serve automation – such as self check-outs,
self-order kiosks and RFID tags – are allowing retailers to improve
costs and efficiencies. In addition, interactive digital displays are
becoming more user-friendly by upgrading to 40-inch-plus screens to allow
more than one consumer to view. In-store television networks are also
emerging from larger retailers like Wal-Mart to inform shoppers of specials
The grocery store Bloom – a concept store
division of Food Lion – offers interactive information stations for
frequently asked product location questions, and map the customer’s
location to the product’s spot. As well, its produce department
provides Choicemaster kiosks, which offer price, origin and pairing
suggestions for bottles of wine. The system also can assist customers with
party preparation; for example, the customer enters the number of guests
and wine preferences, and receives suggestions as to how many bottles are
In the arena of multitasking, Foodsource by Clemens, a
three-store upscale supermarket chain in Pennsylvania and Delaware, has
installed a self-order unit near its café.
Improved systems continue to increase sales
opportunities at point-of-purchase as well. One example is transaction
suspense, a register key that saves a transaction that has been
interrupted, allowing a retailer to pause a sale in order to recommend a
complementary item or educate the shopper on another product.
With people embracing do-it-yourself tools in banking
and travel it’s not hard to imagine they will be willing to catch
onto these technologies in retail as well. The key, industry experts say,
is to make sure the technology benefits the consumer.
Art of the Can
Recycling takes on a whole new meaning as Red Bull Art
of the Can starts its 2006 nationwide search for aluminum-inspired art. The
contest asks imaginative individuals to create original works of art out of
Red Bull cans. Selected artwork will be displayed in one of three public
exhibitions taking place this fall in Atlanta, Dallas and Minneapolis. A
grand prize winner will be selected in each city and will be awarded a trip
for two to Art Basel, a modern and contemporary art fair in Basel,
Bacardi is the first consumer packaged goods company
to fund an online and mobile radio station. Scheduled to launch in May in
the United States and London, Bacardi B Live Radio will be available
through the internet and directly through mobile phones for 21 and older
adults on the move. Bacardi B Live Radio will play a mix of party and dance
music with guest DJs selected from a global portfolio to produce exclusive
contemporary mixes. It also will allow listeners to hear Bacardi-sponsored
concerts and events.
Chicago Cubs fans filling the outfield seats at
Wrigley Field will be sitting in the Bud Light Bleachers. Anheuser-Busch
has purchased the naming rights to the seats, which were part of a $13.5
million renovation that added another 1,800 seats to the section. The
brewer has long been a sponsor of Cubs’ broadcasts.
Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, Texas, is the national beer
sponsor for the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s (LAF) Livestrong
Challenge – a series of five fundraising events, including a bike
ride, run and walk. The brewery will provide LAF with event support and
hospitality for all 2006 Livestrong Challenge weekend events. In addition,
the LAF will be the beneficiary of the Eighth Annual Shiner BASH, a Texas
cycling event taking place in May, with starting lines in Austin, San
Antonio and Houston.
Carolina Beverage Corp. launched an under-the-cap
music promotion for its soft drink Cheerwine. The music promotion –
Backstage VIP – features a prize package that includes travel to a
concert, concert tickets and backstage passes in a VIP setting. In addition
to four grand prize winners, the promotion includes instant winners, with
Cheerwine giving away 350,000 free music downloads, 10,000 free CDs and
autographed guitars. Cheerwine’s Backstage VIP promotion is featured
in radio spots that include the voices of Darius Rucker of Hootie and the
Blowfish, Deana Carter and Edwin McCain.
Hard Rock launched Mas Tequila, a Mexican-themed drink
promotion that features Sammy Hagar’s signature Cabo Wabo Tequilas,
during April and May. On Cinco de Mayo, select Hard Rock Cafes also will
offer guests the chance to register to win a Yamaha guitar autographed by
Hagar and concert tickets to Sammy and the Wabos’ upcoming
“Livin’ It Up” summer tour.
Beverage Industry’s November issue highlights the 100-year advocacy of the American Beverage Association and what’s next for CEO Katherine Lugar and a new plastics initiative, Every Bottle Back. This issue includes a special report on craft beer, an Up Close With feature on PRESS hard cider and what is sparking innovation in natural colors. Read more about how protein is powering up beverages and how warehouses are using WMS and WCS systems to streamline operations. As usual, the latest trends in new products, packaging and ingredients are highlighted.
Check back throughout the month for additional content.