By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
The UK-based retail giant has already invested about Bt300 million in the development of its online shopping business in Thailand, including IT system, stock management and related equipment, such as 30 delivery vans. The online service will be first launched in Bangkok to ensure that the service will be absolutely right and fit in with customers’ needs before going into other big cities throughout the Kingdom.
Tesco Lotus said overall Internet penetration in Thailand is currently about 30 per cent, up from 27.3 per cent last year. However, in urban cities like Bangkok, the Internet penetration is as high as 50 per cent and about 25 per cent in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces. The mobile phone penetration in Thailand is more than 100 per cent. However, about 90 per cent of urban people had used smart phones.
"For Tesco, the success of online shopping is not just about technology, it’s about the end-to-end shopping experience – from the website to the door step," said Tesco Lotus CEO John Christie.
He said that online shopping in Thailand, however, was quite small, accounting for less than 1 per cent of total retail sales in Thailand. In Korea, the online shopping accounted for 10 per cent of total retail sales, and up to 12 per cent of total retail market in UK.
Tesco has operated its online grocery home shopping service at its home market in UK for 12 years and online shopping business now accounts for about 4 per cent of its total sales in UK.
He said that Thailand is the 7th country in the world, besides UK, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ireland, South Korea, and Malaysia for the launch of its grocery home shopping service.
He said that Tesco had applied the same IT platform used at its online shopping service in many markets around the world to Thailand. It, however, brought something new to online shopping in Thailand.
He said that five Tesco Lotus stores in Bangkok – Rama II, Rama IV, Min Buri, Bangkapi, and Chaeng Wattana – had been promoted as the hubs for the home delivery of its online shopping service.
Christie said that Tesco Lotus softly launched the grocery home shopping service at its Min Buri branch to test the system and trained its ‘personal shoppers’, who will be professionally trained for selecting products purchased by its customers online.
He said that more than 20,000 product items had been bought in the online service, including fresh and non-food products. About 30 per cent of them are fresh products.
After registering at www.tescolotus.com and going to Shop Online in the menu, customers can choose from more than 20,000 lines of fresh and frozen food, groceries and non-food items. Once a shopping list is created, the customer can easily pick one of the six delivery time slots available from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week. Orders will then be sorted by "personal shoppers" before being delivered right at the customer’s home the next day. The store will charge its online customers Bt60 per trip with no minimum order.
Tesco Lotus currently operates about 148 hypermarkets, together with 1,100 Express stores, in Thailand.