Australia’s online grocery space, long dominated by Coles and Woolworths, is now welcoming a new player to the market.
Metcash’s independent supermaket chain IGA has launched a national grocery delivery service off the back of its Priority Shop offering introduced at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.
IGA Shop will supplement the company’s existing online offer which sees some of its independently-owned stores already providing an online service to customers in their area.
“As independent family owned businesses, many IGA stores have been providing online shopping and home delivery services to their local communities for some time,” said Danielle Jenkinson, EGM Retail Channels, Metcash Food.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer an online service from even more IGA stores across Australia and to further support our local communities.’’
IGA’s Priority Shop launched in early April offering groceries for home delivery for elderly and vulnerable customers as well as frontline workers.
Jenkinson told Inside FMCG that the Metcash team followed up the offer with IGA Shop to respond to local shopper’s needs.
“We received plenty of positive feedback on the IGA Priority Shop from our elderly and vulnerable shoppers What we saw most was requests for a wider range of products, which is why we extended the IGA Priority Shop into an online offer with over 1800 items,” she said.
“We are lucky to have some very talented team members at Metcash. It meant that we were able to mobilise a team very quickly to respond to the need for an online Priority Shop. They took another 2 weeks to convert the Priority Shop into an online shop. There is still plenty more work to do on it, but it’s a solid start.”
When a customer places an order through IGA Shop, their local IGA store will contact them to complete the order. As independently-owned stores will be managing orders in their local area, IGA said the range and pricing may vary, and delivery costs and timings will be determined and confirmed by the store fulfilling the order.
IGA stores are partnering with a variety of delivery businesses around the country and Metcash are also working up delivery solutions to support retailers, according to Jenkinson.
“We aren’t yet experts at home delivery, so please bear with us as we iron out any kinks and improve the online shopping experience. It’s definitely not perfect, but we’ve built this solution quickly to ensure that IGA retailers are able to continue to support their local communities as only they know how,” Jenkinson said.
Coles and Woolworths were forced to suspend their online grocery services for five-weeks, during which time they sought to prioritise vulnerable shoppers and get a a handle on the increased demand. They both re-opened services to the general public in mid April.
The IGA site features over 1800 essential and popular items that are commonly stocked at most stores, but the retail giant said more products, features and delivery areas are being added weekly.
Earlier this month, Metcash’s independent liquor brands (IBA) launched an e-commerce site with next day delivery. The Shop MyLocal site sells wine, champagne, beer and spirits for delivery from the nearest store to the customer.