Woolworths tests click and collect to capture commuters

Woolworths has begun trialling a click and collect service at Bondi Junction train station in Sydney as part of a new initiative in partnership with Sydney Trains.

The trial allows customers to shop online and pick up their groceries from specially designed lockers at Bondi Junction. The locker-based system is a free service, however, orders must be a minimum of $30. To keep food fresh, there are refrigerated lockers for items that need to be chilled and freezer lockers for frozen items.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the grocery collection partnership between Sydney Trains and the supermarket giant will be on a 12-month trial basis.

C&I Week understands Woolworths and Sydney Trains are in talks to identify additional sites for the trial, which may also include 24-hour lockers that can be accessed via a code, however, the roll out will be dependent on the success of Bondi Junction.

“Click and collect lockers have been installed at Bondi Junction on a trial basis. Customers can order their shopping online from Woolworths on their mobile before 11am and pick them up before they catch the train or bus, or on their way home,” Constance said.

“Bondi Junction is one of our busiest suburban stations, with around 40,000 customer movements each day. It’s also a busy bus interchange, so seemed like the logical choice to see if our customers like the idea,” Constance said.

Convenience stores yet to capitalise on the ‘final mile’

Similar collection services have been implemented on rail networks internationally, however, this is believed to be the first at an Australian train station. Woolworths launched click and collect at its supermarkets in 2012, while Coles first tested click and collect at a Coles Express store in Windsor, Victoria in 2011.

In the UK, grocery retailers such as Tesco and Waitrose have been providing collection points for customers at Tube stations since 2014. In the US and UK, convenience stores are also commonly used as collection points by retailers such as Amazon. Last week, Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo announced it would be launching collection points at 7-Eleven stores in Tokyo.

Gary Mortimer of QUT Business School says turning stores into collection points gives bricks and mortar retailers the opportunity to win back online shoppers.

“[Delivery] is referred to as the last mile and the last mile is what retailers are really trying to capitalise on. We’ve seen Australia Post really come along way knowing that people who are shopping online don’t want their purchases left on their front doorstep, which has led to collection points being placed in transport hubs and big shopping areas,” Mortimer said.

“Most people are now purchasing products online but if a retailer can get them to come into a store to collect their online purchase then they may potentially buy something. If convenience stores or independents like IGA are concerned about the price wars between the majors, my advice is to take the focus off price and think about what services you can provide the customers. If a collection point is a service that will bring customers to your store then I am surprised that more stores haven’t jumped on it.”

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