Canada's grocery business will see increased online competition as Vancouver-based Overwaitea Food Group introduces online grocery shopping. The company will offer both in-store pickup and home delivery of groceries purchased online. Competitors have already started testing the concept and it appears that Overwaitea is taking the competition seriously by initiating its own version.
Overwaitea Food Group is Canada's largest western-based food chain, operating over 120 stores under the Save-On-Foods, Urban Fare, PriceSmart, Overwaitea Foods, Cooper's, and Bulkley Valley Wholesale banners.
A dilligent reader directed us to Overwaitea's posting of two employment positions for its new online grocery initiative. The job descriptions reveal that both in-store pickup and grocery delivery will be a part of the new initiative.
Loblaw recently announced that it will run a test on 'click-and-collect' grocery sales at three of its stores in the Toronto Area. Click-and-collect will allow customers to purchase groceries online, and pick up their order in-store. Click-and-collect is generally considered to be a more profitable way for grocers to sell food online, as opposed to delivering door-to-door.
Overwaitea appears to be taking Loblaw's concept one step further by also offering grocery delivery to its online shoppers.
Canada's grocery industry is already characterized by high competition and relatively low profit margins. Online shopping is a relatively new frontier for the industry. Amazon introduced online grocery shopping in Canada for 'dry groceries' in October of 2013. Walmart also offers selected grocery items for Canadians online. It will be interesting to watch as competition for Canada's grocery dollar continues to expand online.
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