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Case study: Coles

Image Credit: Coles

Image Credit: Coles

From spare car parts to fast fashion and kitchenware, Australian retailers across different sectors are working hard to provide solutions tailored to their customers


If flexibility in delivery options is a mark of retail sophistication, and we would argue
that it is, then Coles is, unsurprisingly, at the leading edge of practice. The supermarket chain has more than 800 retail sites throughout Australia and, in 2016, its revenue was $33bn. This is a big company with the sheer heft to roll out new services.

In addition, it has a long online history, with Coles Online first accepting orders back in 1999, when it offered deliveries to specific areas in Sydney and Melbourne. In 2003, it purchased Shopfast, at that time the largest (albeit unprofitable) online grocer in Australia. In 2007, influenced by practice in the UK, it moved from a warehouse-fulfilment model to a shop-fulfilment model.

Coles has subsequently benefited from being early to market and, through the years, being quick to innovate. In 2017, for example, it partnered with Uber to trial an UberRUSH service out of a ‘dark’ store in Richmond, a move that prompted several analysts to ask whether delivery was about to become a new area of competition between supermarkets.

Away from eye-catching initiatives, Coles Online offers weekend, same-day, nominated-day and nominated-time delivery, services built around the needs of its busy customers.

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