Frozen food & grocery retailer Iceland is trialling an online shopping service some eight years after scrapping the offer as it looks to broaden its scope amid growing competition, it has been announced today.
Customers placing orders over £25 before 10pm will be able to receive products using free delivery the following day as the move is trialled in the North West, North East, London and the South West, though the retailer aims to roll-out the service nationwide in the coming months.
Shoppers are able to register for the service online and chose from a range of products if their local store is already participating in the trial, while stores which are yet to introduce the service allow shoppers to register interest when the service is extended to their area.
“We are delighted with the positive initial response to the local trials of our online service,” said Iceland Director of Delivered Sales John Mackie, who added that supportive investment will help drive growth.
“This is exceeding our expectations for the number and size of orders we have received, and for the proportion of new customers to Iceland that the service is attracting.
“It is absolutely critical to us that the launch of online shopping should have no adverse impact on availability or service for our existing customers in store, and I am pleased that all our targets are being met.
“The launch of our new Iceland Driver Academy Programme at our Centre of Excellence in Deeside will help to ensure that all our home delivery drivers are ambassadors for the service on our customers’ doorsteps.”
Iceland’s new Centre of Excellence at its head office in Deeside was created following a £25,000 investment in the online offering and employees including drivers, store managers and “in-store pickers” will benefit from training at the centre.
Alongside this, the supermarket chain has secured a five-year deal with Mercedes-Benz Road Range which will see its entire 1,300 vehicle strong home delivery fleet replaced with Merecedes-Benz Sprinter vans, while a further 300 new vans will be delivered later this year.
Online grocery sales continue to surge in the increasingly digital supermarket space and in March, grocer Morrisons announced that it was in talks with online grocer Ocado to use its technology to launch its long-awaited online grocery channel.
It is hoped that Iceland’s latest move will reposition the grocer after years out of action in the e-commerce realm, said Iceland Chairman and CEO Malcolm Walker.
“Iceland was the first UK food retailer to launch a nationwide online shopping service as long ago as 1999, but maintaining it was not a priority when I was faced with the challenge of turning around a near bankrupt company on my return to the business in 2005,” Walker said.
“Now the time is right to re-launch the service, building on our well-established and smoothly running home delivery infrastructure with an easy-to-use website that sets new standards for customer friendliness.
“I am grateful to John Mackie and his team, and to our e-commerce partners at Portaltech Reply, for getting our new service up and running so efficiently in just seven months, and look forward to its roll-out across the UK in the months ahead.”