Uptake of online grocery services accelerates
Woolworths NZ has announced its half-year profit result, and with more than 40% in online shopping sales growth over the first half of the financial year, online now sits at 6.5% of Woolworths NZ’s total sales.
Countdown customers’ uptake of online services are right up there when compared to global markets, with customers loving the convenience of delivery and Pick Up services nationwide.
Sally Copland, General Manager CountdownX, the business’ digital arm, says while running a successful online shopping service is hard work, switching up the traditional retailer mindset is the most important part.
“We have to take everything we’ve learned as traditional retailers and turn it on its head,” she says.
“Our customers are seeking more convenience and different ways of getting their weekly shop from us; they’re demanding that we fit into their lives, not the other way around. I’m the first to say that it’s incredibly hard to get this right – to deliver perishable products to customers, quickly, safely and consistently. Countdown has history and a lot of experience but we still have to re-think the traditional retailing paradigm every day and invest in building digital and data capability through our CountdownX team,” says Sally Copland.
“We are seeing more and more customers order their groceries online and have them delivered by us on the same day, as well as increased demand for our free Pick up service nationwide. Over summer, we also delivered to Kiwis at their baches, whether in Wanaka, Lake Taupo or Paihia. Parents with young kids particularly value our online services as it gives them back time in their busy day.
“Whether it’s faster order turnaround, more flexible delivery windows or easier Pick up, today’s customers demand that we’re at the top of our game. But for us, first and foremost we have to take the utmost care of our customers’ shopping, whenever and wherever they want it,” says Sally Copland.
Overall Woolworths NZ sales were up 1.9% in the first half of the financial year to $3.4bn, with comparable sales (core sales growth) up by 3.2%. In the second quarter, online sales growth was 40.3% versus the year prior, representing 6.5% of Woolworths NZ total sales. Profit before tax was down 2%, reflecting investment in the business, including continuing to invest in digital.
The business has also seen improved customer metrics and particularly positive feedback around fresh fruit and vegetables.