Woolworths has launched a new app that promises groceries door-to-door within an hour for a $5 fee in a move that poses a huge challenge for a crop of start-ups that offer a similar service but a boon for consumers who have grown used to speedy deliveries during the pandemic.
The app, Metro60, launched this week in 11 eastern Sydney suburbs, including Bondi, Vaucluse and Rose Bay, to little fanfare. The supermarket giant plans to roll it out in hundreds more neighbourhoods across NSW and other states in coming months as it fights for market share in the $100 billion-a-year sector during an economic downturn.
About 4000 products from fresh produce to cleaning supplies will be available from Woolworths’ small format Metro stores via Uber couriers. The first three deliveries are free, with a $5 delivery fee and $20 minimum order thereafter.
Woolworths’ chief transformation office, Von Ingram, described Metro60 as a way for customers to quickly get last-minute snacks, ingredients or meals.
“Our busy customers are already familiar with the convenience a Woolworths Metro provides when
they’re on the go, and we see Metro60 as an opportunity to offer a new level of ultra convenience and help customers save even more time,” Ingram said.
Woolworths’ move follows a string of start-ups in Australia that sprung up last year offering supermarket deliveries in 10 or 15 minutes, including Milkrun, Voly and Send.
Send collapsed in May while The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed Voly had cut staff and stores earlier this month amid a technology downturn that has made it harder for start-ups to raise money.
But Woolworths poses an even greater challenge for the two surviving firms. Even compared to Milkrun, which has announced capital raises totalling $86 million, Woolworths is a financial colossus with a market capitalisation of more than $42 billion, an established supply chain and a huge store network across the country.