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The End of Online Food Delivery

Despite appearing to be the perfect solution for busy shoppers, online food delivery and grocery shopping is still struggling to endear itself to the British population

Author: rivington
Date: Dec 19, 2011 - 11:01:43 AM


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Despite appearing to be the perfect solution for busy shoppers, online food delivery and grocery shopping is still struggling to endear itself to the British population.  Only around 3.2% of grocery purchases in the UK are made over the internet and although the figure is growing its progress is pretty glacial.  Despite a promising start earlier in the century, it seems that late deliveries, missing products and imaginative substitutions are the reason the honeymoon is over when it comes to online food delivery.  The problem may be something specific to the supermarkets' online offerings – while big can be beautiful, small is often more perfectly formed.  

Hassle free shopping?

Since the 1950s the UK has seen an increasing trend for large one stop out of town supermarkets to take over from the smaller traditional suppliers; convenience being the biggest draw for most people.  Why spend hours trawling between the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers when you can do the big shop once a week or once a month in one location.  The only downside to supermarket shopping is possibly the crowd battling nature and the environmental impact of the experience.  With the advent of online food delivery the supermarkets hoped to seal their hold over us.  Somehow, however, they don't seem to be fulfilling the promise of the clickable lack of hassle that we had all hoped for.  So, is it back to the future for us all?  

Old tricks

Not necessarily; some traditional suppliers have seen the chink in the armour of the supermarkets.  The size of these companies is what has always given them the advantage over the small supplier, but when it comes to home delivery, well the supermarkets may need to think about the old saying concerning grandmas and sucking eggs; or delivering milk for that matter.  Popular, traditional food delivery services that have not suffered any bad press include old fashioned suppliers like milkmen.  Dairy products, as we all know, are best fresh and traditional dairies cornered the market in delivering food to the door before Sam Walton (the founder of Walmart) was a twinkle in his parents early 20th century eyes.  

Delivering for centuries

While the supermarket's "bigger is better" model struggles cumbersomely around the UK's suburban streets, the milkman has continued to trundle quietly along.  However, they now offer a full range of fresh grocery supplies and have taken advantage of the internet revolution to add features like extremely late order cut-off times and combined it with the oh-so traditional delivery slot of ‘before you're up in the morning'.  While the larger online food delivery suppliers struggle to meet their customers' expectations, the small personal service offered by the dairies is proving to be right up quite a lot of peoples' streets.

First rate customer service, flexible ordering, early morning and free grocery delivery.  The perfect model for food, veg boxes and grocery delivery has been with us for centuries and is one that supermarkets are struggling to deliver. 



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