Spar has teamed up with neighbourhood online shopping service to provide local internet shopping and home delivery services. The scheme involves clusters of local stores within a neighbourhood that will form local BeeBeep networks. Shoppers log on to the BeeBeep site to select and pay for goods from any of the stores. They can either collect the goods in person or have them delivered to their homes. "BeeBeep will do local deals with local delivery agents on an expanding basis to fulfil the orders," explained Spar IT controller Roy Ford. Two Spar outlets are involved in a trial in Battersea commencing mid November. "It's actually very simple to provide an accurate list of products available instore for the BeeBeep site," added Ford. "We just use EPoS data." Retailers are alerted by e-mail that an order has been placed giving them time to pick and pack goods. "Home shopping is here to stay. Obviously we're not in a position to offer a single nationwide solution, but now we can enable retailers who want to take advantage of the growth in home shopping to get involved." If the London pilot proves successful, local schemes will be rolled out nationally. "This is a real breakthrough for local shopping," said Ford. "Many consumers prefer goods only available locally, for example a preferred wine brand." BeeBeep spokesman Neal Sussman said: "There are no set-up costs for retailers. We're supplying the stores with PCs and scanning in the products to build up a picture library for the website." Once the scheme becomes profitable, retailers may be asked to pay a small monthly charge for the service. Customers pay a 50p service charge per order. {{NEWS }}