Last year Iceland opened a picking centre in Sunbury, enabling it to offer an enhanced range to 1.3 million households. Director of home shopping Jon Grey contacted The Grocer to point out the areas covered by the trial, so we picked a virgin online shopper to put the improved service to the test.
Iceland had fared badly in autumn's online shop, as well as that of last Christmas. This time our shopper was impressed. She logged on at 9.20pm, her first chance as a mother with a one-week old baby and three others under three. Access to the home page was immediate but it took three attempts, 14 minutes, to register as her screen froze. Once she succeeded, the process was quick. She used the browse aisles option but had some difficulty finding where items were classified, especially sausages. In these cases she used the search engine, which was fast. The only annoying thing about browsing aisles was scrolling back up the list to get the dropdown bars, which she found "frustrating".
There were no new potatoes so our shopper substituted. She put in Homepride for Dolmio and Kingsmill for Hovis. There were no Tetley 40s, so she substituted the more expensive drawstring, nor the 24-pack of Persil tablets, only the 18. Some fruit and veg was pre-packed. On delivery Iceland put in substitutions for the ordered Kleenex, orange juice and Birds Eye fish fingers. The total amount, with substitutions, came to £45.15 but delivery was free.
Our shopper thought variety was limited, especially in yogurts, but six items had promotions, making it good value. Delivery was "bliss". Delivery man Ted placed all items on the kitchen table and pointed out the frozen bag. Our shopper discovered he would be the regular delivery man, making it a personal shop. She said she would definitely use the service again. "The delivery outweighed any hassle during the shop."