Retail Customer Engagement – Morrisons finally take the plunge into online selling

Last week supermarket Morrisons finally took the final plunge into multi-channel retail customer engagement by adding e-commerce capability to their website and selling groceries online for the first time ever.

Screenshot of Morrisons new online shopping experience

The new-look site has been developed in-house by Morrisons and deliveries are being rolled out gradually across the UK, beginning with the Midlands and aiming to cover half of the UK by 2015. Morrisons have taken a long time to catch up with the other members of the ‘big four supermarkets – Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda and have struck a long-term deal with online-only supermarket delivery firm, Ocado in order to get the ball rolling.

Unique Selling Point

The new site is designed to reflect Morrison’s brand values  such as ‘Market Street’ which offers a more personalised shopping experience – to emulate the in-store experience, the new site includes a ‘virtual butcher’ which allows customers to select how thickly their steak is cut.

Morrisons is hoping the new site will reflect its in-store brand values, and says, ‘With the Virtual Butcher, for example, customers can choose how thickly their steak is cut.’

Whilst other supermarkets have redesigned their in-store services to facilitate online shopping with features such as drive-through click and collect stations at Asda or ‘concierge-style welcome desks’ at  Waitrose for online shoppers, a Morrisons’ spokesperson has confirmed that they currently have no plans to redesign Morrisons stores to complement any of the facets of their new online shopping capability.

Acknowledging the power of the testimonial, other features of the new site include an ‘Expert Review, a new rating system offering shoppers an ‘honest assessment’ of the quality and seasonality of every item of produce.  A ‘Doorstep check’ also allows customers to check the freshness of the products before they accept them. Delivery charges are low – at £1, £3, or £5 depending on whether it is delivered at peak, off peak or standard time.

Chief executive of Morrisons, Dalton Philips is excited about the new service and Morrison’s commitment to offering fresh and nutritious food: ‘This fresh food offer will be the closest thing on the internet to being in a store and selecting food yourself. Customers do have concerns about buying fresh food online and today we believe we’ve come up with the answer.’