Ella's Kitchen delivery box

Ella’s: “We are not going head-to-head with retailers”

Shoppers will be able to buy the entire Ella’s Kitchen ambient range direct from the supplier from next week.

The baby and toddler food business is expanding into e-commerce on Monday (27 January) with the launch of shopping pages at ellaskitchen.co.uk that have been optimised for mobile and tablet devices. The e-commerce elements use the Shopify platform, while distribution is handled by a third party.

No retailer currently carries the full Ella’s range, and founder Paul Lindley said the site would make life easier for parents who couldn’t always find the product they wanted.

But the business claimed it was not looking to challenge its retail customers with the site, which it described as an extension of its marketing activity rather than a commercial endeavour. Rather the undercutting supermarket prices, Ella’s will sell at its own rsps.

Orders will be delivered - at a cost dependent on order size - in colourful printed boxes that can be transformed into objects including a castle and a rocket. Some orders will also contain free gifts, such as a helium balloon or a teddy bear.

“We are not going head-to-head with retailers,” said Mark Cuddigan, Co-MD of Ella’s Kitchen Europe. “This is not about market share, it is about giving our customers a wonderful experience. We don’t expect millions of orders.”

However, parents have shown a growing appetite for online shopping, with online-only retailers understood to be taking share of nappy sales from the mults, as savvy parents use sites like Amazon, which offers a Subscribe & Save service that gives discounts and allows shoppers to have products regularly delivered without having to re-order them.

Selling directly to consumers gave brand owners autonomy, suggested Nick Turner, partner in the marketing & insight practice at consultants Deloitte. “Brand owners can get customer insight if they own the transaction, and understand the category better.” Turner added he was confident 2014 would be a big year for brands going direct to consumer.