When Greengrocer.com.au went online in 1997, customers in Sydney were quick to embrace
the convenience of filling their online shopping basket from the comfort of their home any time up until midnight,
with deliveries to their door the following day.
Two years later Greengrocer.com.au has over thirty thousand
customers and it has scaled from three people into a company of over 130 people operating in two capital cities.
Today, Greengrocer.com.au's ultimate challenge remains how to effectively manage the growth of the company. In
December 1999 it's sales grew 50 percent, and continued to climb another 10 percent in January and a further 30
percent in February achieving 80% growth in just three months.
"Fruit and veg fits the Internet business model very well...we let the customer
tell us what they want, we only buy what they need, and deliver it directly to them."
- Doug Carlson
The big question for Carlson - who is driving Greengrocer.com.au to become the Woolworths (Australia's largest
mainstream supermarket chain) of the Internet - is whether he can maintain the friendly, interactive, easy-to-use
customer face of the web site whilst scaling both his technology and personnel to meet the escalating growth.
Carlson is passionate and adamant about e-business - "when you've grown up online, you understand the business
and the industry". 'It's an entirely different world," he says, "With e-commerce consumers and companies
operating on a completely different level to brick and mortar companies. They don't understand it. They build a
web site and think, 'We're an e-commerce company,' but they're not. They don't think differently."
"Fruit and veg fits the Internet business model very well," says Carlson. "In a traditional greengrocer
(store), once you put food on your shelves it starts dying - there's between 6 and 10% spoilage and waste - but
we reverse the process. We let the customer tell us what they want, we only buy what they need, and deliver it
directly to them."