Foodstuffs' retail network is made up of the New World, Pak'n Save, Four Square, Liquorland and Gilmours stores. The company has previously trialed online ordering at New World Thorndon, Wellington and New World Kapiti in the North Island. Last month the company announced the North Island could expecting to see online ordering later this year.
We talked to Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin about this below.
While Countdown has been allowing online ordering for a while now, Foodstuffs has been biding its time. Why has Foodstuffs moved slower in getting digital grocery orders up and running?
We recognise that in the last few years, New Zealanders willingness and demand for online shopping has grown. For the past two years we have been trialing the click-and-collect service at our New World Thorndon and New World Levin stores. This trial has generated a lot of information and knowledge about how our customers like to shop in this space. Foodstuffs North Island is now post-merger and we are ready to offer online shopping in more areas - as it is clear that there is a large appetite for this service. Food is a very important aspect in all our lives and so its very important for us to get this service right from the beginning and earn our customers trust.
How do you predict digital orders nationwide will go? Do you think Kiwis are keen to embrace this sort of service?
A recent use of the internet survey stated that 75 percent of New Zealanders buy something online at least once a month and we know that most households visit a supermarket at least once a week. We believe there will be a strong demand for this service and we need to learn and adapt fast once we commence the trials in more regions from October.
About 85 percent of the population own a smart phone and use them hundreds of times a day to stay connected with their world. We think that our customers will love being able to shop at their favourite supermarket brands online and it’s one more way that we can help make grocery shopping more convenient so that we all have more time to get the most out of our busy lives.
Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin
What are some food trends you’ve identified and will cater to online?
We are very aware that our customers are interested in provenance and healthy food. Especially in regards to current trends like gluten free, low sugar, organic, and whole foods. Online shopping offers the ability for customers to select food by origin, type or healthy food preference should they so desire.
Which do you think will be more popular: home delivery or click-and-collect, and why?
Current learnings from our trials indicate that popularity is about 60 percent for home delivery and 40 percent for click-and-collect. We think this trend will balance out and that customers will commence genuine omnichannel shopping – meaning that they might click and collect their core grocery items but still choose to pick their own fresh fruit and vegetables in-store.
New Zealand is still primarily a car travelling nation, consequently our supermarkets are located on the most popular driving routes so we believe that click-and-collect will meet a lot of our customers’ needs. A delivery service will also be a very important service especially as we build customer trust in our product quality and range.
What do you think will be the effect on Foodstuffs’ physical supermarket sites once online shopping takes off? Will there be less of a need to be everywhere?
Our plan is to keep placing stores where our customers need them, and online will enable us to get more out of each store. I think we will still build exciting new stores with a lot of fresh focus, but customers will be able to access them physically and online.
Why is Foodstuffs South Island's digital ordering being rolled out later than the North Island's?
The benefit of our unique business model means that one of the Foodstuffs companies can trial and fine tune a new system or service before it is rolled out nationwide. For instance, Foodstuffs South Island introduced New World’s highly successful ClubCard in July 2014 and Foodstuffs North Island is leading the way with this project. Foodstuffs North Island’s recent roll out of SAP and the national product information management project, One Data, has allowed us to move forward with the online project.
We now have an accurate representation of each of our stores offering to its customers, which means our online service effectively puts each individual store online rather than simply providing a generic national offering. We feel this is important because our customers value our ability to meet their individual needs and the capability to create a unique customer focused offer is what our shoppers have come to expect from our New World and Pak’n Save stores.