Priceline WebHouse Club Inc., a privately held licensee of Priceline.com
, Thursday revealed that it will expand its name-your-own-price grocery service to make it available in more than 10,000 supermarkets by mid-summer.
WebHouse Club has struck a deal with The Kroger Co., the nation’s largest supermarket chain with more than 2,300 stores coast-to-coast, to lead the expansion. Kroger will conduct a phased-in, market-by-market national expansion of the Priceline for Groceries service, beginning in its Michigan stores. Kroger said Thursday that it will roll out WebHouse Club in its other major markets, making it available in Kroger-owned stores in 31 states by fall.
Other regional and national chains that already participate in the service include Safeway (in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas), Albertson’s Inc. (Acme markets in the Philadelphia metro area), and Ahold USA (Stop and Shop, Giant of Pennsylvania, Giant of Maryland, Bi-Lo and Tops Market). More than 30 other supermarket chains throughout the northeast, southeast and Midwest also participate in the service.
Customers of the service log onto the WebHouse Club site and select from about 1,000 national brand choices in 240 product categories. Customers then name their own prices and within 60 seconds find out if their prices have been accepted. They can then lock in the price by pre-paying with a credit card while online.
Customers then print out a pre-paid grocery list and go to the store. At the checkout counter, a swipe of a customer’s Priceline WebHouse Club card completes the process. Cards can be obtained from participating supermarkets or requested at the WebHouse Club site.
Priceline WebHouse Club said members now price nearly 2 million different grocery items per week and are on track to price more than 100 million different grocery items by the end of the year.