In a move that could be seen as the twenty-first century equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle, online technology developed in Britain will be behind the largest eCommerce operation in California, the hotbed of web activity
California’s largest supermarket chain, Safeway, has launched a new eTail service that uses technology developed by Tesco, the UK market leader. Tesco hopes to use the launch in the US as a gateway into the international market for its system, while Safeway says it is confident that the system will prove successful.
Through the deal, Safeway’s online eTail site, GroceryWorks, in which Tesco has a 35% stake, has bought Tesco’s eCommerce technology and adopted its in-store picking model. A trial of the system in three stores in Portland, Oregon, since December has gone smoothly, and the service been expanded to the whole city.
John Browett, chief executive of Tesco.com, pointed out that Safeway would only have to make the service available in between a fifth to a third of its 1,500 stores to reach a market of 180 million, three times the size of UK market.
Since announcing that it was selling the technology to Safeway last summer, Tesco has been examining the possibility of forming similar partnerships with supermarkets in France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia and Italy.
We have been approached by lots of people who are interested in similar deals, Mr Browett said. It’s a question of finding the right partners in the right place at the right time.