Morrisons has launched its long-awaited online grocery website today and has begun taking orders ahead of deliveries on 10 January.
The Bradford-based supermarket, who tied up a deal with online delivery firm Ocado in May, hopes that its predictable charges deliveries and “expert review and doorstep check” will set it apart from rivals.
The website is said to give customers an honest assessment of the quality of every item and the doorstep check allows customers to check the freshness of the products before they accept them.
Customers will be charged £1, £3 or £5 for deliveries which depends on whether it’s peak, off-peak or standard times and will receive a one hour time slot. The grocer says it will not vary these charges if demand changes.
There is also a strong emphasis on Morrison’s virtual butcher service which allows customers to choose how thickly their steak is cut.
Dalton Philips, Chief Executive of Morrison, said: “This fresh food offer will be the closest thing on the internet to being in a store and selecting food yourself. Customers do have concerns about buying fresh food online and today we believe we’ve come up with the answer.”
Morrisons expects to be covering half of the country by the beginning of 2015.
The UK online grocery market is set to surge in coming years and will be worth nearly £15bn by 2018, according to IGD. The wider food and grocery market is also set to rise by a fifth to be worth over £200bn by 2018.
Morrison’s, who have an 11.9 per cent share of the grocery market according to retail analysts Kantar, have been playing online catch-up with the big four supermarkets and were hit by a lack of a online offering as like-for-like sales fell 2.4 per cent for the three months to November.
Simon Thompson, Managing Director for Online Food at Morrisons, said: “We have spent a lot of time with customers and that journey doesn’t stop here. We would love the customers to use the on-site feedback buttons to let us know how we can make our offer even better.”