Supermarket chain Foodstuffs North Island has launched an online shopping application, initially for New World Mt Roskill, enabling customers to have their orders home delivered at prescribed times or to pick them up from the store via an outdoor click-and-collect locker system.

More than 20 years after rival Countdown launched its digital offering, Chris Quin, Foodstuffs North Island chief executive, said the new I shop New World app was now available to download and use but initially only at the one store.

Groceries are retrieved from the click-and-collect lockers.
Groceries are retrieved from the click-and-collect lockers.

Customers wanting home deliveries would get a two-hour time frame in which to receive the goods directly, or can drive to the May Rd store and pick them up from a new secure pin-code entry bank of 10 exterior lockers facing the car park, with special dedicated parking bays, Quin said.

That was designed specially for people who did not want to get children out of their vehicles, he said.

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Store owner Aaron Scanes said his area included Mt Eden, Sandringham, New Lynn, Blockhouse Bay and Mt Roskill and he welcomed the scheme, saying it offered customers a new level of choice and convenience.

Of Foodstuffs' timing compared to rival Countdown, Quin said: "It's very clear we're behind them when we're launching but we think what we're launching is right for now."

New World Eastridge is next online, then five more stores.

Sally Copland, online head at Countdown.
Sally Copland, online head at Countdown.

Sally Copland, Countdown's head of online, said that business had offered the service for more than 20 years and had same-day shopping, either delivered to home or picked up from 184 stores nationally.

"We pushed the boundaries in 1996 with 100 people shopping online using a floppy disk. Today Countdown is the largest online retailer in New Zealand, fulfilling thousands of orders each day for more than 100,000 Kiwis who regularly choose us to pick, pack and deliver fresh, quality products to their homes," Copland said.

Prices are the same in-store as online, she said.

"We understand the whole service from end-to-end. It's not just about a website, so we can see why launching this project has taken the competition longer than they anticipated more than a year ago. We've built our knowledge and understanding over 20 years so that we now have total network coverage and a service that is trusted and valued by our online shoppers," she said.

Quin said the app was for Android and Apple phones and tablets.

People can order up until 10pm for delivery or pick up the next day, he said. Delivering items such as alcohol meant the orders had to be handed directly to customers at their door and most goods will be delivered in supermarket bags unless customers specifically asked for recycled cardboard cartons.

Store owner/operators would only have to spend "a few tens of thousands" of dollars to gear up for the service, purchasing the new trolley system with its electronic gear and vans, Quin predicted.

"Store owners love it," he said. In Britain, about 6 per cent of supermarket grocery revenue was from online sales and 35 per cent of customers shopped online.

Customers with the new app launched today can browse virtual shelves and add items to their basket through drag and drop function, Quin said.

A New World-branded van with a staff member delivering an order.
A New World-branded van with a staff member delivering an order.

"Features include the ability to create and save multiple shopping lists, so there's no need to start from scratch every time, save multiple addresses so you can shop and deliver groceries for family or friends and securely save multiple credit card details," he said.

Mandarins can be chosen by weight or number.

"We've been trialling a click-and-collect service at our New World Thorndon and Levin stores for a couple of years now, which has given us lots of useful insights into how our customers use the service," he said.

Foodstuffs intends to expand the test area in Auckland and Wellington and plans to develop a web version.

Scanes said establishing the scheme and running the pilot via the launch had cost "a six-figure sum", below $200,000. Establishment costs included buying equipment as well as staff and investing in training as the pilot scheme for the whole programme, he said.