An increasing number of supermarkets are being forced to change their tactics in order to adapt to the changing e-commerce habits of consumers.
Property firm Jones Lang LaSalle is expecting major grocery retailers to build significantly on the amount of space they currently devote to internet custom. According to shopsafe.co.uk, Waitrose, Tesco and Asda will each look to double the number of dedicated distribution centres – or ‘dark stores’ – they have, with the current 1.8m square feet of warehouse space set to grow drastically.
The predictions come after a particularly busy Christmas for online supermarket services. Analysts at retail data firm Verdict claimed recently that around 15 per cent of the UK’s festive grocery transactions were carried out online – accounting for approximately £900 million. Across the rest of the year, this proportion averaged at just 5.5 per cent.
The closing months of 2013 also saw a two major supermarket chains boost their attempts to capitalise on the thriving e-commerce sector, with Tesco opening six new distribution facilities in November and Morrisons finally following its competitors’ leads by announcing in December that it would be working with Ocado to launch its own web-based service.
Stuart Rose, the chairman of Ocado, told theguardian.com: “The future for online food retail is very exciting. We are at the beginning of a revolution and the pace of change is accelerating. It’s online showtime.”
Most of the UK’s supermarket chains which already offer delivery services tend to source items from their normal bricks-and-mortar retail stores, but bosses are hoping that dedicated facilities will help them to provide a better service for customers.