Online food shopping – new and flexible services

  • Author Charlotte Rivington
  • Published December 21, 2011
  • Word count 566

Internet shopping is big business in the UK which has one of the largest online markets in Europe. Despite the recession the online shopping sector has continued to see growth – while High Street shopping has seen either no growth, or a steady decline. It seems that just about every area of our lives and our shopping needs are catered to in the virtual world – but one area that has been slow to properly establish itself has been the online food shopping market. Many shoppers are happy to purchase non-perishable goods online, but online food shopping has seen slower growth. With improvements in online security and falling reports of online fraud, this is now beginning to change. Despite challenges that some traditional businesses have faced from the growth of online sales, others have risen to the challenge and proved that survival is, as ever, a case of adaptation.

Online concerns

In the early days of online shopping many people had concerns about the security of payment – with improved systems in place from banks and retailers these concerns are no longer a big issue for most people. We are actively encouraged to ‘pay online’ not only for goods and services – but by government and other organisations. Today the idea of shopping online is no longer an area of concern. Fresh produce, however, is still something that people express some concerns about, but these worries seem to be largely to do with the potential quality of produce, rather than concerns over fraud.

What can’t you buy online these days?

While ten to fifteen years ago many of us may have considered purchasing clothes or books online, less would have thought it possible, or even feasible, to buy fresh food, or even a can or two of pet food online. The reality today is very different. One traditional service that may well be able to improve our opinions of online food shopping is the rather traditional milkman. Now joined by milk-women they are offering a far greater range of delivery services and products than ever before. There are distinct advantages to using this kind of delivery service, over using the other online food shopping services.

New and old services combined for success

While the supermarkets do offer great online food shopping options, the delivery charges can be off-putting when it comes to small items. Even specialist food delivery services – veg box schemes or specialist butchers – often have high delivery charges. Many of us are looking to save money at the moment and few are keen to pay these ‘premiums’. This is where the online food delivery service on offer from some dairies really differs. Working to established rounds they simply don’t charge delivery and your order doesn’t need to be extensive.

The traditional business being delivering only one or two items a day has been expanded and they offer fresh food delivery, pet food online delivery, even cleaning products and other daily essentials. In addition there is none of the ‘delivery slot’ troubles that can come with other online food delivery services. Milkmen and women deliver very early in the morning indeed and you can book and change items up until 9pm the night before. As the internet continues to change the way we live and shop it seems likely that some of the opportunities it offers will help more traditional businesses to survive.