RealTime IT News

Iceland Launches Online Food Shopping Service

Supermarket chain Iceland has leapfrogged its rivals by launching a free online food shopping service that covers the whole of the UK.

Customers will be able to shop at the new site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from October 4 1999. They will need to spend at least £40 ($64), but delivery is free via Iceland's existing home delivery service.

"Moving our home shopping service onto the Internet is the next logical step forward for Iceland," said Malcolm Walker, chairman and chief executive of Iceland.

"Recent figures show that 18 per cent of households have access to the Internet. At Iceland we are uniquely placed at the leading edge of grocery home shopping with many advantages over other food retailers."

Malcolm Walker went on to say that Iceland has an infrastructure already in place, while other retailers are having to build picking centres, organise delivery networks and catalogue their ranges.

"We have 1000 vans and drivers already delivering nationwide, so we won't just be catering for a small section of the population around the M25 like some of our competitors."

Iceland claims that the service will reach 97 per cent of the UK population, with deliveries outside the M25 being made to anyone who lives withing ten miles of an Iceland store. Within the M25, customers need to be within three miles of a store.

With a further nod towards convenience shopping, Iceland is allowing customers to choose a two-hour time slot for the (next-day) deliveries, between 10am and 8pm.

Iceland has 760 stores in the UK and has championed various environment causes, including a ban on GM foods in its own label range. Each of its delivery vans, says the company, eliminates up to 200 car journeys each week, reducing exhaust pollution.