I wonder what it costs a supermarket to offer online shopping with delivery? By the time you take a chunk for the maintenance (and occasional) development of the web-based customer interface, the time it takes someone to physically do the shopping for you and then the delivery, it has to start adding up. At the very least it has to take a fair amount of time spread between several people so, although recent delivery price hikes from the Tesco offering make it less attractive to me as a customer, I’m sure it is still biting quite a way into the profits from the goods sold.
The trouble is that, from the other side, the delivery cost becomes a sizeable percentage of the overall bill. At some point, that loses the economic benefits of shopping at a supermarket in the first place.
Earlier this week I tried an alternative model, which Tesco dub ‘Click and Collect’. I get to use the same website to make my choices. This saves me getting tempted by what I see in store and also makes it easier to keep an eye on overall spend. However, rather than delivering to my door, I pick up from a little building just outside the store. If I can combine that with another trip out that I was planning to take so I’m not adding too much unnecessary mileage then it works out well all round. At least for now, when I can get the click and collect service for free.