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If Martin Sloane's new Supermarket Shopping Network succeeds, package-goods marketers' online hurdles may get shorter.

Supermarket Shopping Network launches Dec. 18 on the World Wide Web with a slew of big-brand partners including General Mills, Land O'Lakes, ConAgra Co.'s Healthy Choice, Coca-Cola Foods, J.M. Smucker Co. and Tropicana Products.

Mr. Sloane is currently searching for an agency.

The Web site ( )will offer online grocery shopping from supermarkets initally including New York-area Price Choppers with plans to add five more grocery store chains in 1996. Shoppers can make purchases via credit card or debit card, use online couponing from Act Media or Valassis, choose pick-up or delivery, read online magazine Net Sauce, find recipes in a database and maintain custom shopping lists that double as target marketing tools.

In addition to package-goods products available in participating supermarkets, shoppers can also pick from among 1,000 fresh produce or non-packaged items for a slight surcharge, which Mr. Sloane expects stores to set at an extra $2 to $3 per "shopping trip."

Basic shopping and delivery charges will be determined by individual stores.

The Web site is the brainchild of Mr. Sloane, a TV Food Network personality and a syndicated food columnist. He is CEO of Retail Multimedia Corp., Great Neck, N.Y., parent of the shopping site.

"Our objective is to be the first major site that has content compelling to women, said Mr. Sloane. "Ordering groceries, coupons, recipes alone won't do it."

His isn't the first online grocery shopping initiative. Peapod, an Evanston, Ill., company backed by Ameritech Corp. and Tribune Co., maintains a private network (that plans to soon move over to the Web) where shoppers in Chicago and San Francisco can purchase groceries and have them delivered. Shoppers Express, Bethesda, Md., has also offered a shopping service via America Online.

And most recently, Kroger Co. earlier this month began testing a Web ordering system in Columbus, Ohio (

Supermarket Shopping Network will build sites for all supermarkets participating in the service as well as for interested advertisers for a fee in "the low five digits," said Mr. Sloane.

Short-term promotions which give marketers greater exposure, like banner ads or inclusion in recipes, run from $3,500 to $5,000 per week.

"The problem is that some of the advertisers have sunk a lot of money into their own site and may not want to give it up," Mr. Sloane said. "With us they get the traffic and the direct tie to the consumer's shopping list."

Healthy Choice, which launched a Web site at earlier this month, is one of several brands, including Grey Poupon, that will mount a "Healthy Sandwich Center" on the network showcasing different sandwich recipes using members' products.

SSN has also contracted to build sites for marketers including Orville Redenbacher and General Mills' Yoplait, Cheerios and Bisquick.

"It's almost like a point-of-purchase sale," a spokeswoman said."So much information [on the Web] is passive, but here there's a strong call to action.'

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