Wednesday 21 August 2013

Personal one-hour supermarket delivery service launches in London

Pocket Shop, a start-up website, has launched the ultimate in fast grocery deliveries – promising to have top-up bread, eggs and milk in the hands of London customers less than an hour after they click ‘send’.

Its Amazon-based system works by allocating online orders to one of Pocket Shop’s team of 20 trained buyers around the capital, using a GPS-based algorithm similar to those employed by taxi-ordering smartphone apps. Pocket Shop could scale the business by using crowdfunding techniques to recruit more part-time buyers.

A text message alerts the buyers, directing them to the nearest Tesco or Sainsbury’s supermarket. An app on the buyers phones then displays the customer’s shopping list with instructions on the optimum way to navigate the aisles. The company offers a ‘superstore’ range of 150,000 products at prices comparable to shopping in Local and Metro convenience stores. Waitrose and Marks & Spencer will be included soon, the company claims.

A key issue might be long term profitability in that the major mults claim that home delivery costs £20/delivery compared with a £5 charge… In other words, although Pocket Shop apply a product mark-up and a 1-hour delivery charge of £6.50, they presumably have to pay the buyer…

But if it works, and think saturation of Greater London for starters, then this represents the ultimate in personal convenience, for those willing and able to pay. Having reached critical mass the concept could morph into a personal pick-up service for dry-cleaning, prescriptions, and even pensions…

Then time for Amazon to move from back office to front of store?

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