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Iceland Foods returns to ecommerce, trialling its service ahead of planned nationwide expansion

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Iceland Foods has returned to online shopping, trialling a service that enables customers to place orders worth £25 or more up to 10pm for free next-day delivery.

The frozen food specialist is trialling the service at a small number of stores in the North West, North East, London and South West. So far, it says, results have been encouraging, and it plans to extend the trial further in coming months.

This is a return to online ordering for Iceland Foods, whose team, led by Iceland’s director of delivered sales John Mackie, worked with ecommerce partners Portaltech Reply to set up the service in only seven months.

“Iceland was the first UK food retailer to launch a nationwide online shopping service as long ago as 1999, but maintaining it was not a priority when I was faced with the challenge of turning around a near bankrupt company on my return to the business in 2005,” said Iceland chief executive and chairman Malcolm Walker.

“Now the time is right to relaunch the service, building on our well-established and smoothly-running home delivery infrastructure with an easy-to-use website that sets new standards for customer friendliness.”

The online delivery service is built on its existing free home delivery service for in-store customer purchases worth £25 or more, which currently makes more than 180,000 deliveries a week.

Customers can find out if they are in the trial areas by registering on the online shopping website through http://groceries.iceland.co.uk. If they are, they can choose from the full range that’s available at their local Iceland store. They can pay through PayPal, a service that Iceland is offering ahead of other UK food retailers, by credit or debit card. Orders are picked in the early morning and held at the right temperature for delivery at the chosen time. If their area is not covered by the trial they can register their interest in the service for the future.

The new service is underpinned by a £250,000 investment in a Centre of Excellence at Iceland’s Deeside head office, where home delivery drivers, in-store pickers and store managers are trained. The company is also upgrading its home delivery fleet of 1,300 vehicles.

John Mackie, director of delivered sales, said the company was “delighted” with the initial response to the trial.

“This is exceeding our expectations for the number and size of orders we have received and for the proportion of new customers to Iceland that the service is attracting,” he said. “It is absolutely critical to us that the launch of online shopping should have no adverse impact on availability or service for our existing customers in store, and I am pleased that all our targets are being met.”

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