Daylesford is launching an online farm shop on the Ocado website next week, using technology from the online retailer that could soon create a “virtual high street” of shops.
The online farm shop will operate as a separate entity within the Ocado site, allowing shoppers to browse the farm’s products from a single welcome page but still buy other Ocado products in the same shop.
The welcome page will be topped with links to the farm, so shoppers can learn more about how the products are made, and even watch a video about the Cotswolds farm itself.
Customers will be able to navigate the farm shop by product category while also viewing promotions.
Ocado already stocks over 60 Daylesford products, but the launch of the new shop on 1 September will almost double the offering to 135, enabling shoppers to select from its full range of groceries.
“Ocado is the only platform that allows us to sell within our own virtual store, allowing customers to explore our organic farm and choose our artisan products,” said Daylesford CEO Jamie Mitchell. “And with this technology 70% of the UK population is now within reach.”
The launch of the virtual Daylesford shop is expected to be the first of many on Ocado’s site, as it looks to combine everyday groceries with specialist products not widely available on the high street.
It’s already created a section of 140 kosher products that “only a local specialist shop could rival,” said Ocado head of grocery Lawrence Hene, and worked with Carrefour to sell over 100 French delicacies under the Reflets de France brand.
With the launch of the ‘shop-in-shop’ technology, Hene anticipates that “a lot more [virtual] shops like this one will open in the future. We’re talking to other specialist product providers, and also some of the major fmcg brands, who are interested in showcasing their products this way,” Hene added.
Currently, Ocado has 20,000 SKUs, but it plans to increase that number to 30,000 by 2012 and eventually build up to 40,000. With one central depot at its core, Ocado claims it can stock more products than would ever be possible if it had to rely on a network of stores.
The launch of the Daylesford shop next Thursday comes on the back of a busy week for Ocado. It began a week-long trial of a ‘shopping wall’ at the One New Change shopping centre in Central London on Friday, allowing passers-by to ‘shop’ by scanning barcodes on photographs.