Tesco to launch cyber-ordering terminals

Supermarket chain will provide in-store terminals for ordering a variety of goods.

Can't get what you want from your fave supermarket? Don't worry, Tesco is launching its first "cyberzone" Monday afternoon at its Kensington branch. The service, which will be eventually rolled out to all Tesco stores, will allow customers to order goods not available in-store via free Internet access.

The service will initially sell books, CDs and videos, with plans to sell electronic appliances.

Tesco is also launching a massive e-commerce push with the aim of becoming the leading online retailer. The service will begin by offering books, CDs and videos, followed quickly by so-called "white goods" such as washing machines and dishwashers.

Lance Close, senior finance consultant at Mintel, believes Tesco has a good chance of success in becoming a major player in the e-commerce arena. "As well as a strong brand, Tesco has positioned itself as the champion of consumer rights by supplying grey market goods, such as Levis, extremely cheaply. Its clubcard scheme has garnered it strong customer loyalty, and furthermore the distribution structure is already there," said Close.

Close believes Tesco could do well competing against traditional high street retailers such as Dixons and Comet. "Tesco has been very bolshy in the grey imports market and this sector is wide open for competition. There is plenty of potential for an aggressive player who can buy in bulk and reduce distribution costs," said Close.

Take me to the e-commerce special.