M&S to soft trial food delivery service

Jo Gilbert

Marks and Spencer revealed it could be moving towards offering an online food delivery service in the vein of Ocado and Amazon Fresh.

CEO Steve Rowe let slip at a conference last week that the supermarket is considering taking its successful in-store food offering online with a soft launch scheduled for the autumn.

The upmarket grocer currently offers a ready to eat Food to Order service, and offers a substantial selection of wines and spirits for direct delivery.

However, customers are not currently able to order FMCG food goods such as fruit and veg via the website.

Last week, Rowe said that M&S had not lost out on food customers by not being fully online, but that this would change going forward.

“We continue to review Food online carefully,” he said. “It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response.”

M&S has offered wine, spirits and beer on its site for a number of years.

From today, M&S’ first Bordeaux en primeur vintage (2014) will be able from a number of stores and online, individually or in cases of six.

The retailer said it would not rush into a full-scale delivery model, but had a team looking at the proposition with a view to launching a soft trial in the autumn.

It will be an interesting challenge for the retailer, which typically is known for smaller baskets and high quality goods. 

“M&S is trying to keep up with the big boys here and cash in on the success of their memorable food adverts and grocery delivery services as a whole,” said Martin Lane, managing editor of money.co.uk.

“More competition in the online space means a fight for the crown of customer service king and fiercer price wars – great for shoppers but expensive to maintain for the brand. Up against the likes of Ocado and Amazon fresh, they need to make sure they offer something unique to tempt their customers online.”



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