PITTSBURGH - Giant Eagle has enlisted the help of technology to figure out what customers want to see on its shelves, Ohio.com reports. Later in 2011, the supermarket chain will start using a "behavioral cluster planning" automated system that looks at customer data, demographics, sales patterns, and store size and location.
With that information, the system will decide what products (and how much) to order, what the products should cost and where the products should be put in the stores, said Stephanie White, a Giant Eagle vice president.
"'It€™s all about being customer-centric," she said. The business that "services their customers best by having the products they want, when they want, at the best price, has the best opportunity to get those customers to shop with them."
The system will allow store leaders to ingest customer information quicker, said Dan Schnorr, senior director of retail-based planning for Giant Eagle. "There€™s so much more information that is available out there now to make better decisions, and this tool will help us do that better."
For example, Heinz ketchup is popular in Pittsburgh-area Giant Eagle stores, while Hunt€™s is more popular in Northeast Ohio. Thus a shopper would find more space devoted to Hunt€™s ketchup in Cleveland, but more Heinz products in Pittsburgh.
Tailored grocery shelves is not uncommon and with consumers probably becoming more choosy about which foods they buy this year, it will increase in importance, according to a recent NPD Group survey. "Consumers will be making well-thought-out choices this year on how they will feed themselves," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group.