Iceland store

Iceland has launched an online trial

Retailer Iceland has re-entered the online sales market with a trial of its free-next-day-delivery online shopping service.

The trial is running in London and south-west, north-west and north-east England. It has taken seven months to set up, and if successful will roll out nationwide in the coming months.

The new service allows customers to place orders up to 10pm for free delivery the next day, subject to a minimum order value of £25.

The initiative builds on Iceland’s long-established free home delivery service for in-store purchases, again subject to a minimum £25 spend. This service makes some 180,000 deliveries a week and Iceland is now hoping that by going back online it will tap into some of the recent success enjoyed by other UK grocery retailers through this format.

Iceland chairman and chief executive Malcolm Walker said: “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. 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.

Orders are picked in the early morning so as not to affect customer service in store during the day, and held at the appropriate temperature for delivery in the customer’s chosen time slot.Iceland is also the first UK food retailer to offer the option of payment for online orders through PayPal as well as by credit and debit card.

The launch of the online service has been supported by a £250,000 investment to create a new centre of excellence at Iceland’s head office in Deeside, where training is being provided to home delivery drivers, in-store pickers and store managers. Iceland has also signed a five-year deal with Mercedes-Benz Road Range Ltd to replace its entire home delivery fleet of 1,300 vehicles with Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans. More than 300 new vans being delivered this year.

Iceland director of delivered sales John Mackie said: “We are delighted with the positive initial response to the local trials of our online service. 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. 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.”