Finally catching up with its competitors, Foodstuffs has announced that it will be launching an online order platform in its North Island stores by year-end, and in the South Island in 2017 or 2018.

Rather than using a third-party delivery service, each store will employ its own trucks and staff; items will not be delivered from one main centre, but from individual stores, and click-and-collect will be a significant part of the business.
A trial has already been conducted at two Wellington supermarkets with interesting results, according to Chris Quin, chief executive of Foodstuffs North Island, who said that online sales are expected to increase as New Zealand population is growing. At the same time, since buying sites is becoming harder, providing an online option is set to significantly expand Foodstuffs’ reach nationwide.

Foodstuffs South Island chief executive, Steve Anderson, denied that Countdown had benefited of a first-mover advantage, even though it has been offering online deliveries for approximately 16 years.

In the aftermath of the announcement, some industry experts have raised concerns over the feasibility of the project, especially with Foodstuffs being based on a franchised owner-operator model. Timely deliveries involve high costs and are not easy to manage from franchised stores, experts said, so the company could end up opting for a click-and-collect service. Quin, however, explained that the new system has been thoroughly planned.