As one e-commerce giant arrives in Australia, Coles is looking to another tech giant to help beef up its online offering. Coles has started a home delivery trial with hi-tech taxi service, Uber.
In a first, Australia’s second largest supermarket, Coles, is operating a trial home delivery service in their Melbourne based Richmond store only, with Uber drivers delivering missing or replacement items from online orders.
The experiment comes as retailers around Australia are looking to amp up their e-commerce offerings as Amazon makes way for its presence here, already in the midst of setting up its first local distribution center in Melbourne’s Dandenong South.
Already over the weekend, Australians begun seeing Amazon advertisements on commercial TV for the first time ever, for its echo devices and Amazon Prime movie services.
Coles and Uber have been secretive about its trail, not revealing much detail, with a Coles spokesman saying that the trial period was “short and limited.”
An Uber spokesman confirmed that there were “no current plans for a broader roll-out or extension of the trial”.
Uber, best known for its ride-sharing app, will be operating the Coles trial service under its UberRUSH brand, which runs in several US cities, hailed as a solution to the “last mile problem” that online retailers and logistics companies are continually facing, where items in online orders are missing or need to be replaced.
UberRUSH has been overseeing similar same-day delivery trails with several major retailers in the US, including Walmart and Nordstrom.
While it’s unclear what Amazon’s grocery and food offering will be like in Australia, yesterday’s close of its deal to acquire Whole Foods Market saw the e-commerce powerhouse announce lower prices of several organic food staples.
The implication of this announcement goes well beyond the cheaper price of organic groceries. Rather, it conveys Jeff Bezos’s plans to significantly shake up the grocery retail sector, much like he has done in many other categories of retail, including books and diapers.
As Amazon weaves its online and physical store capabilities, it is looking to offer even more savings and benefits to the consumer, and cementing its aim of becoming a bigger player in the supermarket space.
This will put its Australian competitors, including Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, on high alert. Earlier this year, Aldi launched its home delivery service in Melbourne and Sydney. While Aldi does not have an online store in Australia, shoppers can now get Aldi goods delivered to their home via smartphone, through German Android app, ShopWings, with a grocery butler delivering goods within an hour.
While Coles did not reveal the how much online sales contributed to total sales, some analysts are saying that it makes around 2 percent of total sales. Earlier this month Coles confirmed that it had “double digit” online transaction growth in 2017.