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Wakefern rolls out interactive sampling kiosks

Freeosk unit at Wakefern.
Wakefern Food Corp. introduces Freeosk units (Photo: Business Wire).

The largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S. is making it easier for in-store shoppers to sample products.

Wakefern Food Corp., which serves as the logistics, distribution and merchandising arm for grocery stores whose banners include ShopRite, is expanding its usage of Freeosk interactive multimedia sampling kiosks. Following a successful pilot, Wakefern is placing the units units in 95 ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer stores.

The Freeosk units are designed to combine in-store sampling, merchandising and digital media. According to the vendor, Freeosk campaigns generate an average sales lift of over 50%, with 70% of buyers being new to brand and over 20% of the converted shoppers repeating purchases post-campaign.

“Trial lowers barriers to entry for products and expands the shopper base for brands by attracting incremental users to the category while in-store. By capturing the shopper activity, brands are provided transparent measurement and retail media opportunities to engage with emerging and renewed brand users,” said Natalie Menza-Crowe, MS RD director of marketing and wellness strategy for Wakefern.

"Brand adoption is a key milestone on the path-to-purchase. From that moment on, you build loyalty and customer lifetime value. Freeosk is honored to help facilitate seamless in-store retail media programs with Wakefern that provide clear ROI,” said Matt Eichorn, president, co-founder and CEO at Freeosk.

Wakefern focuses on the customer

The expanded Freeosk rollout is Wakefern’s latest attempt to create a more customer-centric shopping experience. Recently, the company began piloting a completely autonomous grocery store within its corporate innovation and design center.

Utilizing the Trigo artificial intelligence (AI)-based EasyOut frictionless checkout platform, the automated store enables shoppers to use an app to scan a QR code as they enter. Customers can then pick up items and leave without having to check out or pass through an exit gate.

No human associates work at the 500-sq.-ft. store location, which Wakefern plans to use to test frictionless checkout technology, as well as new use cases, hardware, and algorithms.

The company is also utilizing customer analytics technology from dunnhumby. Wakefern leverages dunnhumby customer data models and insights to help make merchandising decisions that will improve the shopping experience and drive engagement and growth across its store base.

Founded in 1946, Wakefern Food Corp. comprises nearly 50 member families who today independently own and operate 360 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

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