H-E-B IS TESTING KIOSKS FOR COMPACT DISC GREETING CARDS

SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here is testing an interactive kiosk for greeting cards that contain a full-length music compact disc at 14 of its units .H-E-B began piloting Phil's Harmonic CD Greetings, a 32-item greeting card line with full-length music CDs, late last year. "The product is positioned more as a unique gift item, and we don't see it competing directly with other greeting cards,"

SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here is testing an interactive kiosk for greeting cards that contain a full-length music compact disc at 14 of its units .

H-E-B began piloting Phil's Harmonic CD Greetings, a 32-item greeting card line with full-length music CDs, late last year. "The product is positioned more as a unique gift item, and we don't see it competing directly with other greeting cards," said Eva Traxler, brand manager for the supplier, Metacom, Plymouth, Minn.

Although H-E-B declined comment, a nonfood buying source at the chain told SN the displays were up in time for Christmas, with card titles covering seasonal, holiday and alternative selections, which include Mother's Day, birthday, thank you, fun and love, congratulations and new baby.

The cards, which retail for $9.95, carry margins as good as or higher than regular greeting cards, said Traxler.

Kiosks are positioned near the card department or cash registers at the test stores. The display, which measures 18 by 36 by 86 inches, offers music selections that include jazz, blues, New Age/nature and classical. Shoppers can preview musical selections before buying through a touch button on the display screen.

Each card features original artwork and a detailed musical review of the enclosed music CD. The interchangeable touch screen can be updated as card titles change.

The display, maintained by an outside service merchandiser, holds six to 12 cards of each 32-item selection.