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Co-Op plans online shopping launch

27 October 2011 - 10:26 by Mike Price

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The Co-operative Group is set to join Morrisons in creating its first portal for safe shopping online in 2012, according to Marketing Magazine.

There are already 3,000 high street stores operated by the Co-Op, but it wants to move into e-commerce so that it can take advantage of a market that is already dominated by its larger rivals.

Spokesperson, Helen Bridgett, explained that because the Co-Op stores are smaller and based around convenience foods which customers buy regularly, it would be able to offer a different service from the major chains when migrating online.

Bridgett said that while Co-Op is definitely behind the field when it comes to safe shopping online, it has had the benefit of being able to watch the areas in which rivals are succeeding, as well as failing, thus preparing it for its own venture into e-commerce.

Interestingly, it looks like Co-Op could be following the model of takeaway pizza firm Dominos, which Bridgett cited as being an inspiration for any company looking to sell relatively low value orders for food from a website.

Co-Op is expecting its online orders to come in at closer to an average of £25 each, rather than the £70 which can be anticipated by the likes of Tesco. However, Bridgett spoke about how important m-commerce would be to its expansion and she said smartphones were best for shopping for small numbers of items, just like Co-Op's convenience stores.

This month, Co-Op further integrated m-commerce services into its stores by embedding QR codes into labels for fresh produce, so that customers can get more information when they are out and about.

Co-Op has home delivery available at the moment, although orders need to be placed in-store, which means that it will already have access to some of the facilities necessary to broaden out into fulfilling e-commerce orders.