Aussie Farmers Direct has moved into the online full line grocery space, launching The General Store in an effort to take market share from Coles and Woolworths.
The store, which launched in Victoria on Monday ahead of a national rollout, stocks a full range of packaged grocery products including food and drink, health and beauty products, baby products, cleaning products and more.
AFD launched in 2005 and has long been providing fresh Australian produce via its online store. The General Store complements AFD’s fresh food offering, and by providing a full line grocery offering, enabling the company to challenge Coles’ and Woolworths’ online stores.
According to AFD, the combined product range from AFD and The General Store will exceed the average Aldi or IGA, and provide real competition to Coles and Woolworths.
CEO Keith Louie, who previously headed up Coles’ online store, said the platform will provide Australian manufacturers with an alternative to the major supermarket chains.
“With Aussie Farmers Direct and The General Store becoming the third pillar in the online grocery market, local grocery manufacturers are no longer in the grip of an online supermarket duopoly,” he said.
Louie also said the company would work to match the major supermarkets on price, and even undercut them on specials.
AFD has long actively supported Australian producers, sourcing its fresh produce from Australian farmers and suppliers. The General Store will support this ethos, stocking Australian products where possible and indicating which products are imported or how much of the product is imported. Shoppers can also filter search results by “Australian-ness”.
“Sadly, many packaged groceries are no longer made in Australia from Australian ingredients, but they are necessities we all need to buy” said Louie.
“We want to make it easy for customers to make informed purchasing decisions. So from corn flakes to canned soup and toilet tissue to toothpaste, the ‘Australian-ness’ of all products sold in The General Store is clear, and in our aisles you can always sort by ‘Australian first’.”
Ten percent of profit from the sale of imported items will be donated to the Aussie Farmers Foundation, which supports charities and grassroots community groups in rural Australia.
“We’ve done everything we think we possibly can to support Australian suppliers and producers while still offering customer the basics of what they need each week,” Louie told Fairfax Media.
The General Store offers free delivery for all but the smallest orders, and is currently operating in Melbourne with plans to launch in Sydney soon.
AFD trialled The General Store on a smaller scale a few years ago. However, platform issues and troubling integrating with the AFD systems led to the project being postponed for a few years.