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Sainsbury’s goes back to basics with grocery delivery by bike


It’s a delivery tactic that’s already enjoyed a resurgence thanks to the likes of Deliveroo, but now Sainsbury’s has introduced a home delivery by bike service, 130 years after it first did so.
The retailer is trialling the service with customers in Central London who are able to order up to 20 items from Sainsbury’s via its IOS Chop Chop app. The goods will then be delivered within the hour for a flat £4.99 fee.

Initially trialled in Wandsworth the new service rolled out to more than 35,000 additional postcodes last week; making the service available to hundreds of thousands of potential customers in the catchment area. The service is being operated from Sainsbury’s Pimlico and Wandsworth stores.

How it works

A team of 40 shoppers and cyclists have been recruited to manage the service. Once an order is placed an employee in either of the closest branches received the order information via the app and does the requested shop which is then delivered by bike. Payment is via the app with the Sainsbury’s shopper calling the customer if a substitution is required.

Jon Rudoe, Sainsbury’s director of digital and technology, said that the service could roll out further if the extended trial proves a success. “Speed of delivery is important to some customers, so we have brought back our bicycle service to test demand further. In Wandsworth customers are using the new, one-hour delivery service to buy forgotten items, or emergency goods when they cannot leave their home, or have invited guests on the spur of the moment,” he said.

“If it proves popular we might introduce it to other areas of London,” said Rudoe.

Sainsbury’s claims to be the first UK supermarket to test an on-demand, one hour, grocery delivery service. It first introduced home delivery from its Croydon branch in 1882, initially delivered by hand or by carts and horses. Bicycles were used from the turn of the century.

Our view:

  • With so many delivery options in today’s market, including the futuristic idea of delivery by drones, it can be easy to overlook simple options. The success of the likes of Deliveroo has shown that home delivery by bike works. It’s cheap, flexible and, particularly in congested inner city areas, fast. It will be interesting to see how Sainsbury’s customers react to the extended service and the results that Sainsbury’s gets from going back to a solution first introduced more than 100 years ago.

Image credits:

Sainsbury’s press office

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