New Australian online grocery retailer teams up with Aussie Farmers’ Direct

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th November 2013

A new Australian online grocery retailer called The General Store, has begun servicing homes across Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat.

The General Store, which delivers groceries to consumers’ doorsteps, has partnered with online home delivery business Aussie Farmers’ Direct “so that  customers can have their whole weekly shop, including fresh food staples, delivered to their doorstep”. The General Store said it is working to bring back the ‘local corner store’ concept through a modern online platform where everyday household essentials are delivered by a local small business franchisee to a household.

Australian Food News reported in April 2013 that a report from Australian industry research group BIS Shrapnel had found that corner stores were continuing to disappear as service stations moved towards having convenience stores within the station. The BIS Shrapnel Route Trade Market report found that the number of independent convenience stores in Australia had declined 34 per cent from 4,131 in 2010 to just 2,725 stores in 2012, a decline of 1,406 stores.

The new retailer has been welcomed by the Australian Retailers’ Association.

“The launch of The General Store means more choice for consumers and offers local manufacturers a new channel to market,” said Russell Zimmerman, Australian Retailers’ Association Executive Director. “The more players in the grocery space, the more fair the playing field will become,” he said.

Aussie Farmers’ Direct partnership

The General Store said it has “similar values” to Aussie Farmers’ Direct; where Aussie Farmers’ Direct works with local farmers, The General Store works to offer local manufacturers a new platform to reach Australian consumers.

The General Store’s ‘Australian-made’ policy

The General Store said it has been able to ensure there is an Australian product available in every grocery category except band-aids and razors, which are not manufactured in Australia. The Company said it was on the look out for an Australian manufacturer of either of these products and would welcome information about local manufacturers.

The order site for The General Store includes a transparent symbol guide system to help consumers navigate how much of each product is made or grown in Australia “so they can make an informed decision about each product”. The order site also has a function where consumers can select to only see Australian made products.

“The General Store is great news for the country, as well as for Australian consumers who will enjoy more competition and choice in the Australian grocery space,” said Brendan Shaw, The General Store CEO. “It feels like every week there’s another local manufacturer closing down due to the numerous pressures they face, and we want to do something about that,” he said.

The General Store said it also donates 5 per cent of the sales margin on non-Australian products to rural Australian communities.

The new Australian online grocer is part of a tentative trend towards online retailing in the food sector. In the US market, online giants Amazon and Google have both tested the concept of online groceries. Australian Food News reported in July 2013 that online shopping was on the rise in Australia, with Food and Beverages among the top five categories by expenditure online in Australia.

New Australian online grocery retailer The General Store