UK supermarket giant Morrisons has announced that it will launch a website later this year offering customers the ability to buy items online and have them delivered to their home by courier services.
The ecommerce channel, set to be rolled out in late autumn, will sell general merchandise rather than food in categories that are considered to be of interest to Morrisons' customers.
Morrisons is one of the only British supermarkets yet to sell goods online and expressed the opinion in its yearly results announcement that shoppers are increasingly "migrating" to the internet in search of better value and more convenient shopping patterns.
It added that by operating an ecommerce channel it hoped to supplement its existing retail offering and provide more variety to its customers.
The company announced a seven per cent jump in sales over the course of 2011, bringing its overall turnover up to £17.7 billion and its underlying profits to £935 million.
Chief executive officer Dalton Philips said the company has performed well despite tough trading conditions by responding to what customers need and offering promotions and other offers aimed at assuaging the pressure many consumers are feeling in the current financial climate.
"We have ambitious plans for the long-term development of the business, through new supermarkets, convenience stores and the development of our multichannel capabilities. I am confident that Morrisons will make further progress this year," he added.
Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King recently discussed the changing face of UK retail at the City Food lecture, pointing to how social media and ecommerce has altered the way people do their shopping and how they conceive of supermarkets.
"Loyalty cards, smartphones and the internet enable us to have a more personal relationship than perhaps has existed for a generation," suggested Mr King.
He went on to argue that it is important major retailers make the most of this opportunity to change the way shopping works.
Author: Gillian Walters