WINN-DIXIE TO LAUNCH TV SHOPPING PROGRAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here, involved in shop-by-phone services for two years, will go one better this fall when it becomes the first supermarket to offer interactive television shopping.The arrangement with Shoppers Express, Bethesda, Md., for a pilot program in the Orlando market was described as an extension of Winn-Dixie's shop-at-home service, which is available in about 20 major

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here, involved in shop-by-phone services for two years, will go one better this fall when it becomes the first supermarket to offer interactive television shopping.

The arrangement with Shoppers Express, Bethesda, Md., for a pilot program in the Orlando market was described as an extension of Winn-Dixie's shop-at-home service, which is available in about 20 major markets within 10 Winn-Dixie divisions.

Home shoppers in the test market who are subscribers to Time Warner Cable's Full Service Network will be able to use their own TV sets and remote controls to browse Winn-Dixie's store aisles. They will be able to view and manipulate three-dimensional product images and place orders for everything from cake mix to kumquats.

"For everyone it's a learning experience," said Mickey Clerc, vice president and director of advertising at Winn-Dixie. "It's something to help us learn about the trends in consumer shopping patterns."

Although Clerc declined to speculate on expansion potential for the pilot program, he did say, "For the future, we're in good shape for the Sunbelt, if this [program] proliferates." Winn-Dixie operates 1,150 stores in 13 Sunbelt states.

Products purchased through the interactive system are priced identically to those on store shelves; however, a $9.95 delivery charge is added. Shoppers Express takes the orders and provides delivery services; the interactive software technology used by the cable TV network was developed by ShopperVision, Norcross, Ga.

"One of the nice things about our business," Clerc added, "is that it's on a daily basis. We can test something and, in a week or two, we have actual performance results. We not only have a retail store, we have a laboratory."