Coles, Woolworths and Harvey Norman investing heavily in online stores

May 11th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

Coles, Woolworths and Harvey Norman investing heavily in online stores

An article by David Ramli in the Financial Review yesterday with the title “Cole’s high-octane online shopping push” described Cole Supermarket’s trial program allowing customers to purchase groceries online and then collect their order at Coles Express store at a Shell petrol station.  It seems that customer feedback indicated that uptake of online grocery shopping in Australia has been slow, because customers don’t want to wait around at home for their order to arrive.  This new model will allow the customer to collect their order anytime between 3pm and midnight on the appropriate day.  The Shell service station will have large fridges installed to hold customer orders.

Personally, I can see the merit in their new distribution method, having  been put off myself from ordering groceries online for the reason mentioned above.  Having groceries delivered to work is not usually convenient either, due to lack of space in the fridge at work and the awkwardness of getting the food home.

Will other retailers be able to piggy-back onto this new distribution channel, particularly those with temperature-sensitive products??!   Will impulse buying move to the Coles Express store instead of the supermarket?

In the same article, reference was made to new and significant increases in  spending on online stores planned by Woolworths and Harvey Norman (yes, the same Gerry Harvey  who condemned online shopping because of its impact on Australian retailers).

What do you think?  Would you spend more or less if you ordered your groceries online?  Are you participating in Cole’s Click and Collect 6-month trial?

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