Tesco has launched a new rapid delivery service as it lays down the gauntlet to on-demand grocery rivals like Deliveroo.
Retail Week can reveal that Britain’s biggest grocer is trialling a one-hour delivery proposition called Whoosh in Wolverhampton.
Tesco’s new service has initially been made available in selected Wolverhampton postcodes, and orders are being fulfilled from its Willenhall Express store.
Customers can order a Whoosh delivery either via the Tesco app or online. All items will be delivered to consumers’ doorsteps by bike, moped or car, with a £5 delivery fee for orders over £15.
Although Whoosh has no minimum order size, any baskets under £15 will incur a higher £7 delivery fee.
Whoosh customers can earn Clubcard points on purchases and will also be eligible for any discounts or promotions running in the Willenhall store. All prices on Whoosh will be set at the same level as they are in the Express store.
Tesco online managing director Chris Poad said: “Customers are telling us that they would welcome the addition of a 60-minute delivery to their door option as part of our online grocery service. We’ll use the pilot to understand how Whoosh could work best for both our customers and our colleagues.”
Tesco refused to be drawn on plans to roll the service out to more towns and cities across the UK.
It’s not the first time the grocery giant has trialled a one-hour grocery delivery service, having launched Tesco Now for customers in central London back in May 2017. The service was discontinued the service in November of that year, to focus on same-day delivery.
The Covid-19 factor comes into play
The launch of Whoosh comes amid growing appetite for on-demand grocery deliveries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Competitors including Ocado and Sainsbury’s already offer their own one-hour delivery services, while a host of other grocers including Waitrose, the Co-op, Aldi and Marks & Spencer have partnered with food delivery app Deliveroo to fulfil orders from stores in as little as 30 minutes.
At least seven new companies have also emerged since the pandemic hit the UK offering similar rapid delivery services, some in as little as 15 minutes or less. The likes of Weezy, Zapp, Jiffy, Getir, Dija, Fancy and Gorillas have all launched in the UK, with a keen focus on London, as they seek to tap into the on-demand grocery boom.
Data from Pitchbook revealed that £9.8bn of private investment has been ploughed into the on-demand grocery market globally during the last 12 months. Turkish company Getir’s latest fundraising round valued it at over £2.6bn, while Deliveroo’s market value remains in excess of £4.7bn – higher than the likes of M&S and Morrisons – despite its disastrous IPO in April.