- H-E-B has added video tablets to approximately 120 stores to help shoppers learn about beer and wine brands and make selections in its alcohol aisles, according to a press release on Wednesday from Looma, the company behind the technology.
- The platform lets customers access brand stories and educational information, like tasting notes and pairing suggestions.
- The move by H-E-B aims to make it easier for customers to choose beer and wine while also building on the Texas grocer's efforts to attract in-store shoppers.
Grocery stores have long struggled with how to make their alcohol aisles, with their rows and rows of bottles and brands, less overwhelming to shoppers.
With Loop, the new in-store platform, H-E-B is looking to forge a personal connection between shoppers and the people behind the brands, while also providing information on attributes like tasting profiles, sustainable practice certifications, nutrition and pairing recommendations.
The Loop platform is interactive and aims to help guide the shopper's journey. For example, the question "How knowledgeable about wine are you?" lets shoppers select "novice," "casual" or "expert" as their response. This prompts additional questions, like if they want a red or a white or rosé wine, according to a video in the announcement.
While in-store video can also bring in incremental advertising dollars, Looma noted in the announcement that Loop aims to focus on company stories and "authentic, unscripted narratives."
Other grocers have also turned to Looma's video solution. Schnuck Markets launched Looma last year, and the technology is also used in Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods stores, per the announcement.
Grocers' focus on boosting their in-store alcohol departments comes at a time when they have seen sales from beer, wine and liquor categories pour in during the pandemic.
Late last year, The Giant Company said it plans to test QR codes that shoppers can scan to view product information in the alcohol aisle of more than a dozen Pennsylvania stores. Last fall, Albertsons teamed up with the Napa Valley Wine Academy to offer a proprietary certification program to train its beverage stewards, with the goal of improving the associates' ability to help customers select wine.
H-E-B has announced other features aimed at elevating in-store experiences. Last month, the Texas grocer said its newest store in New Braunfels, Texas, will house its first two-story True Texas BBQ restaurant and also debut its Home by H-E-B department.
Looma, meanwhile, said it plans to continue to grow in the year ahead, with "pilots in progress and scheduled in both new and existing retail partners, within and beyond the adult beverage category," the press release noted.