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Can Morrisons Deliver?

As Morrisons prepare to launch their online food shopping service in Yorkshire this coming Monday, Professor Cathy Barnes contemplates how the supermarket will fare in the online shopping marketplace.

As I write this I am avidly awaiting my first online grocery shop from Morrisons. This is partly personal as I am a huge advocate of online grocery shopping to save valuable time. But it is also professional because as a Professor of Retail Innovation, I need to keep up to date on all the new developments in the sector.

I was a very early adopter of online shopping. Back in around 2002, Iceland was the one of the first supermarkets to foray into this world and I was one of their first customers. I thought it was an incredible innovation which, with two very small children, saved me a huge amount of stress. Fast forward into 2014; could we ever have predicted the current online revolution? We can now buy everything from holidays to medication on devices which range from traditional desktops to the sophisticated computers we now call tablets or phones.

Enter Morrisons; a latecomer to the digital revolution. All eyes are now on whether they can operate a successful home delivery service. Other supermarkets have been doing this for some years and, by and large, have satisfied customers. So why would we as online consumers switch to Morrisons? Dalton Philips, the chief executive, has been widely quoted as saying that the service will build upon their “Market Street” store offer and the fresh food delivery will be the closest thing on the internet to being in a store and selecting food yourself. Innovations I have spotted on their website are that they will allow shoppers to hand back food they don't think is good enough on the doorstep, there are quality ratings on the fresh produce and I can choose the thickness of the cut of my steaks. However, other little touches I like are the ability to upload my favourite items from another supermarket site, a boon for the busy working mum, and the hour-long delivery slots listed every 30mins are great to fit in with my hectic life. The website is a bit tricky to use on my mobile as it is not thoughtfully configured for smaller screens. However after downloading their app, it does seem to have been well designed for the mobile platform.

So will they deliver? Time will tell, but by being late to the party Morrison’s have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and become a true Omni Channel Retailer. I will let you know on Monday if I will make Morrisons my online grocer of choice.

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Professor Cathy Barnes

Cathy Barnes is Professor of Retail Innovation and is fascinated by consumer experience. She has researched and published widely on how to build products and experiences that delight consumers.

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