Tesco Lotus launches online shopping service

Tesco Lotus launched its online shopping service yesterday for Bangkok customers as a shopping alternative.

The company has invested about 300 million baht on information technology, infrastructure and specially designed delivery vans to keep fresh, chilled and frozen products in good condition until they arrive at customers' homes.

Thailand is the eighth country to provide online shopping after Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ireland and South Korea.

Tesco Lotus had a soft launch in January to test the system. It has hired about 100 new staff to provide the service.

Customers can use its website to choose from more than 20,000 items of fresh and frozen foods, groceries and non-food items.

Products will be sent from five stores in Rama IV Road, Min Buri, Bang Kapi, Chaeng Watthana Road and Rama II Road one day after the order is made.

The company will charge 60 baht for each delivery. There is no minimum order.

Other major retailers including supermarkets, convenience stores, hypermarkets, department stores and shopping centres have launched online shopping in recent years, cashing in on increasing internet use.

"We are trying to bring something new to Thai customers with different services. The success of online shopping is not just about technology, it's about an end-to-end shopping experience from website to doorsteps," said Tesco Lotus chief executive John Christie.

He said online shopping in Thailand is still small with a value of less than 1% of retail sales, compared with 12% in Britain and 10% in South Korea.

Tesco has offered online shopping in Britain for 12 years.

In Thailand, Tesco Lotus offers two payment methods for online shoppers _ card payment online or card payment at the door on receiving the goods.

As of Dec 31, it operated 1,400 stores in all formats. About 1,100 stores were Tesco-Lotus Express outlets, while 148 were hypermarkets.

Kudatara Nagaviroj, corporate affairs director of Tesco's arch rival Big C Supercenter, said it has offered online shopping since 2010 and growth over the past six months has been 300%.

It has launched a mobile application and QR code scanning to support its online shopping.

"Over 1.5 million customers visited our shopping website last year. Our mobile app already has more than 70,000 downloads and we expect to reach 150,000 this year," Mr Kudatara said.

Big C is promoting customer awareness and conducting trials of virtual stores in mass transit systems, virtual shelves in residential and office areas and QR codes on newspaper advertisements.

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