Woolworths expands online shopping operations

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 12th June 2008

Woolworths has announced that they are to extend their HomeShop service to areas in the south of Queensland.

Woolworths set-up their HomeShop business, which provides home delivery of groceries, in February 1998. At the moment the business only operates in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne but they are now extending to Brisbane, Ipswich and the Gold Coast before the end of the year.

The news comes in the wake of a UK report by Verdict Research indicating that grocery retail is set to overtake electricals as the number one sector in e-retail within five years.

Australian consumers and retailers are yet to embrace the online grocery retail concept but Woolworths and Coles are both reportedly keen to expand their operations in the future. Woolworths has already decided to set aside $200 million toward IT solutions and, considering that they aim to expand HomeShop nationally, it would be expected that some of these funds will be put toward improving their e-retail systems.

Australia’s two major supermarkets have been coy about their online plans but Woolworths CIO David Beecham did suggest that online growth would be pursued with greater vigour. “(Building) a community and trying to connect with your customers has got some real potential,” he told the Australian Financial Review last month. “There are a whole lot of different retail opportunities.”