FoodWorks launches new online supermarket in Melbourne
East Ivanhoe Grocers, a FoodWorks-branded independent supermarket, has teamed up with online supermarket systems provider Myfoodlink to launch the first metropolitan FoodWorks online grocery store in the Melbourne suburb of East Ivanhoe.
The FoodWorks store is offering its full product range of over 12,000 lines in the new online store.
“We see grocery deliveries as an essential service in our community,” said Paul Schroeder, FoodWorks store owner. “There are lots of older people and busy families who hwant to have their groceries delivered, but they also want top quality merchandise and reliable and friendly service,” he said.
“We have always offered phone orders but they are not very efficient for many people,” Mr Schroeder said. “Being able to browse the store and choose items at your own pace is ideal — our customers are already starting to place their orders online. Our first order came in only minutes after we opened the online store,” he said.
Online groceries in Australia
Online food shopping is a growing segment of the Australian grocery sector. In 2012, market research organisation Nielsen found that 35 per cent of Australians had purchased groceries online in the previous month. This still lags behind other markets, such as the UK, where the figure is 42 per cent and growing. There is expected to be continuing growth in this sector in Australia. 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.
To date, the major supermarkets have led the conversion to the online grocery channel in Australia, however, with the recent availability of affordable online software systems like the platform provided by Myfoodlink, independent stores are moving into the sector.
“Up until now it has been just too expensive for the independents to develop the technology to trade online,” said Nathan Males, Myfoodlink CEO. “We now expect to see most of the independent and specialist grocers moving online, given Australian consumers a much greater choice,” he said.
“We are already working with many of the Australian leading FoodWorks and IGA groups and expect to launch at least 50 online supermarkets throughout Australia during 2014,” Mr Males said.
The FoodWorks group is actively supporting its network to explore the online sales channel.
“For many stores, offering online shopping is a big step,” said Brad Slater, Head of IT for FoodWorks. “FoodWorks is able to help its members to set up collaborative arrangements with service providers like Myfoodlink and Point of Sales providers such as World Smart Retail to create the robust data integrations that are needed to handle the volume and complexity of grocery data,” he said.
“In an environment where there are thousands of lines with price changes, multi-buys and specials changing every day, you need sophisticated software to handle this,” Mr Slater said. “Until now there have been limited options in the e-commerce world to support our stores,” he said.
FoodWorks said it was expecting many of its stores to open an online side to their business in the coming years.
The FoodWorks store in East Ivanhoe joins another online grocery retailer in Melbourne. Australian Food News reported in November 2013 that an online-only grocery retailer, The General Store, had begun servicing homes across Melbourne and surrounding centres.
The FoodWorks East Ivanhoe Grocers online store is available at eastivanhoegrocers.myfoodlink.com