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PITTSBURGH -- Supervalu's Shop 'n Save banner launched On Demand over the weekend, a new online ordering service on the Shop 'n Save Web site that allows shoppers to find hard-to-find items that Supervalu's independent retail accounts don't carry in their stores.
Using the new program, shoppers can place orders online for UPS delivery within five business days.
Shop 'n Save touted the new program on the home page of its Web site, emphasizing the ordering service's convenience as an add-on to its independent operator's in-store offerings.
"Looking for an item not available at your neighborhood Shop 'n Save? Simply search our site and order your products today," said Shop 'n Save. "Your items will be delivered via UPS in approximately 1-5 business days, depending on your selected delivery mode."
The grocer added that customers could request items beyond those in the initial online offering.
"We're working hard to supply you with all your favorite items," it continued. "However, if we don't have it on this site you can request it! We'll check to see if it's in our heavily stocked warehouse and reply back to you shortly." Such a request would be routed to the specialty warehouse that will fulfill the orders. The warehouse operator in turn will send sales reports to the stores.
"One of the hardest things in a traditional grocery has been the amount of items and how to fit them all on the shelf," Bill Lipsky, director of merchandising for the stores, which are supplied by Minneapolis-based distributor Supervalu, told a local newspaper.
Shop 'n Save locations range from just 8,000 square feet to 68,000 square feet.
The program is not meant to step on the independents' toes, and won't substitute for the stores' regular inventory, but rather is designed as a way to broaden the offering. Merchandise regularly carried in the stores won't be available on the Web site, even if it's out of stock on the day the order is placed, explained Lipsky.
Individual stores will get credit for sales according to the ZIP code that receives the delivery.
Shoppers can order hard-to-find, nonperishable items online by item, or in larger quantities -- shipping costs included.
If demand for a product is high enough, it may become available at Shop 'n Save locations. "If it's moving that well, we'll make it a not-hard-to-find item," said Lipsky.
Store signage will inform shoppers about the Web site.
Giant Eagle, the region's top retailer, provides online pharmacy prescription refill ordering for pickup and retailer gift card purchasing for delivery, but has not as yet begun selling groceries on the Web.
There are more than 70 independent Shop 'n Save operators in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia.