Food Lion LLC announced earlier this month plans to open five pilot stores to test a new store concept, format and brand name. The pilot stores, all scheduled to open by the end of 2004 in the Charlotte, N.C. area, will be named, "Bloom, A Food Lion MarketTM. The first Bloom store opened May 26.
Bloom is designed to serve customers by providing a simple and enjoyable shopping experience. Bloom is taking a new approach to store design, layout and merchandising, while using leading-edge technologies to help customers find products, get information and check out with greater ease.
The Symbol PSS puts a small and easy-to-use mobile computer into the hands of Bloom shoppers. At Bloom, the Symbol handheld computers with integrated bar code scanners reside in a central kiosk at the entrance to each store. To obtain a Personal Scanner, customers scan a store-provided bar code, which unlocks one of the scanners for use. Shoppers then move through the store, scanning and bagging their purchases as they go. As shoppers scan their groceries, the handheld records the purchases and keeps a running total of the dollars spent during the shopping trip.
During the checkout process, shoppers have two options--they can either use a cashier checkout lane or self-checkout lane. To check out, customers scan an "end of trip" bar code located conveniently on their shopping cart and the entire order is automatically downloaded into the register. Customers are not burdened with unloading the shopping cart, bagging items and then reloading the shopping cart.
Agilysys, an IBM and Symbol Business Partner, is providing Bloom with integration and implementation services, validation testing and help desk support for its Personal Shopper system.
"We are excited to offer this innovative technology as part of the unique shopping experience at our Bloom concept store," said Robert Canipe, Food Lion vice president of business strategy. "We want to offer hassle-free shopping solutions and a retail experience customers will appreciate. We think our customers will enjoy using Bloom's Personal Scanners, " Canipe said.
The Symbol PSS also allows Bloom to electronically send messages to customers while they shop. At the Bloom store in Charlotte, shoppers who drop off pharmacy orders can continue shopping and receive a message on their Personal Scanner letting them know that the order is ready for pick-up--no waiting in line.
"We are pleased to work with Food Lion and Agilysys on the launch of this enterprise mobility system at Bloom to bring a superior level of customer service to the shopping experience," said William Nuti, Symbol president and chief executive officer. "Food Lion is one of the first grocery retailers in North America bringing its customers the Symbol PSS, leveraging the benefits of a new way to communicate with customers, at the exact moment they are making purchase decisions."
Food Lion plans on launching the Portable Shopping System by Symbol and Agilysys at other Bloom pilot stores before the end of 2004.
"The added value that this joint integration between Symbol and Agilysys brings to Bloom is significant, especially given the customer and time savings benefits that self-service brings to the grocery environment," said Robert Bailey, executive vice president, Agilysys. "Pairing the Symbol PSS with the Agilysys Retail Solutions Group's POS integration expertise results in an effortless customer experience; this is as reliable as if the customer had a cashier scan the items during a traditional checkout process."