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PHUKET: Leading domestic hypermarket chain Tesco Lotus last week launched online grocery shopping and home delivery services for its customers in Bangkok.

Asked if the retail giant had plans to launch such services in Phuket, Ms Salinla Seehaphan, Corporate Affairs Director, revealed that: “Our plan is to offer a convenient online grocery shopping service to all of our customers in Thailand, starting in Bangkok before the service is rolled out to other big cities around the country.”

Initially established as a Joint Venture between UK-based Tesco and local retailer chain Lotus, (which was founded under the CP Group, but later sold), Tesco Lotus is currently operated by Bangkok based firm, Ek-Chai Distribution System Co Ltd.

According to a report in The Nation, the retail giant has already invested about 300 million baht in the development of its online shopping business in the Kingdom, with such funds allocated towards upgrading its IT systems, as well as stock management and related equipment, including the purchase of 30 delivery vans.

Commenting on the challenges and opportunities for the online shopping market, Ms Salinla commented: “Tesco Lotus is committed to innovation to meet the changing needs and lifestyles of today’s consumers.

“We will combine online technology with our retail expertise to provide a great online shopping experience for customers.

“In today’s hectic world our customers need more help to make their lives easier – an ‘extra pair of hands’ to do the shopping for them.

“Tesco Lotus is ready to do just that – have specially trained personal shoppers to pick the best products and deliver them to customers at the time customers choose.”

According to Tesco Lotus, overall internet penetration in Thailand is currently about 30%, up from 27.3% last year. However, in urban cities like Bangkok, the estimated rate is as high as 50% and about 25% in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces.

Meanwhile, the company said that more than 90% of people living in Thai-land’s urban areas had used smart phones.

Tesco Lotus CEO John Christie said that online shopping in Thailand, however, was quite small, accounting for less than 1% of total retail sales in Thailand.

In South Korea, online shopping accounted for 10% of total retail sales, and up to 12% of total retail market in the UK.

Tesco has operated its online grocery home shopping service in the UK for 12 years and online shopping business now accounts for about 4% of its total sales in UK.

Mr Christie aid that Thailand is the 7th country in the world for the firm to launch online shopping services, after the UK, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ireland, South Korea, and Malaysia.

He said that Tesco had applied the same IT platform used at its online shopping service in many markets around the world to Thailand. It has, however, brought something new to online shopping in Thailand.

Mr Christie said that five Tesco Lotus stores in Bangkok – Rama II, Rama IV, Min Buri, Bangkapi, and Chaeng Wattana – were promoted as hubs for the home delivery of its online shopping service.

Mr Christie said that Tesco Lotus softly launched the grocery home shopping service at its Min Buri branch to test the system and trained its’personal shoppers’, who will be
professionally trained for selecting products purchased by its customers online.

He said that more than 20,000 product items had been bought in the online service, including fresh and non-food products. About 30% of them are fresh products.

Tesco Lotus currently operates about 148 hypermarkets, together with 1,100 Express stores across Thailand, including Phuket.

— The Nation / Phuket Gazette

 

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