UK supermarket Tesco is taking 60,000 online grocery orders a week making it the world's largest Internet food shopping service. The home delivery service is raking in a massive £5m a week, whilst other UK supermarket chains have had to bow out of their Internet offerings.
Frozen food chain Iceland is Tesco's nearest UK competitor, but its service is restricted to only offering frozen groceries. Asda has recently postponed its Internet launch, and Somerfield and Budgens have withdrawn their online services completely. Sainsbury's recently entered a three year deal with Computer Sciences to host its shopping site, but its currently limited service is lagging far behind Tesco's.
"I'd much prefer to do my food shopping from home rather than dragging my three children down supermarket aisles," said Mike McNamara, tesco.com's chief technology officer. McNamara believes the convenience factor of the service is well worth the £5 delivery charge. "We're giving it away at £5 -- that doesn't even cover our costs," he argued.
Tesco's online owns a fleet of 700 vans with about 100 UK stores delivering products. Sainsbury's and Budgens by contrast have relied on centralised depots. "It's a hard thing to do, and Sainsbury's is finding it difficult to catch up," argued McNamara.
Tesco.com is currently running on 80 servers, with an extra 50 having been ordered for Christmas.
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