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Ocado diversifies e-commerce strategy

04 July 2012 - 14:17 by Mike Price

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At the moment, Ocado is mostly known for its grocery delivery service, with customers placing orders via safe shopping online to get their weekly supply of food driven straight to their door.

However, the retailer now plans to spread its wings and enter other areas of the market, with a raft of new websites that will take on big name rivals like Amazon.

Each of its sites will deal with a specific category of product, whether it is pharmaceutical items, DIY gear or electrical, according to Retail Week.

Tim Steiner, who is the chief executive of Ocado, said that while the company is currently perceived as a simple grocery service, it wants to eventually become an e-commerce hypermarket, which can match up to some of its other major competitors in this respect.

It is worth noting that Ocado already sells many of the products which might fit into these new categories, but its new approach to segmenting safe shopping online across multiple distinct sites, could allow it to establish itself in this hectic marketplace.

Mr Steiner made it clear that Ocado's new ventures would involve the customer in the process to a greater degree than is currently seen in its grocery service. He mentioned things like customer ratings and reviews as being integral to the changes which will be seen in the setup, hinting at the likelihood of an Amazon-style service being implemented by the retailer.

Ocado is going to implement its strategy with the rollout of the first of these specialist sites in early 2013, with more to follow later in the year. An investment of £5 million is being made by the company, in order to secure warehouse space for non-food items, which will subsequently be sold via its diversified online shopping retail outlets.