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Online groceries pilot with implications for the rest of the UK

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A Hereford online food and drink delivery service being trialled with Government backing could ultimately be extended across the UK, according to reports.

The Open High Street service offers shoppers from the HR postcode area the chance to place orders with their local shops, selling goods from meat to dairy and fruit and vegetables.

The pilot project is run by a Unilever-led consortium that includes Inzenka, Sequoia, Pi Global and eziserv and is part-funded by the Government's Technology Strategy Board.

Aby Handler, of consultancy firm Inzenka, told today's Telegraph that the aim of the project was to build a virtual high street, through "a platform for local businesses that can’t afford to run a website and allows customers to have the quality and service they get from independents at any time.” The aim is ultimately to build a logistics network that will allow all the high street orders to be delivered to shoppers in one consignment, saving unnecessary journeys, and for the scheme to extend across the UK.

Handler told the Telegraph: “When we go national we’d like to add a pick up service which could take your shoe repairs, dry cleaning and recycling when they deliver shopping.

“And we’d use the spare capacity of local deliveries. It all goes back to solving a logistics problem – making one journey instead of eight.”

Earlier this month Internet Retailing reported on the launch of MyHigh.St, which sees retailers from Wells selling through a local online marketplace.

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