The grocery delivery wars look set to get cooking… UK supermarket chain Tesco has announced the launch today of a one-hour delivery service in central London called Tesco Now — echoing Amazon’s Prime Now delivery branding.
This comes hot on the heels of the news that ecommerce giant Amazon is wading into the bricks-and-mortar grocery business, with its planned purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7BN.
As well as a one hour delivery service (priced at £7.99), Tesco is offering a two-hour option (for £5.99) via the new Tesco Now Android or iOS app.
The supermarket chain already offered a same day delivery service in London and the South East, and a same day ‘click and collect’ option.
The new faster delivery service only covers central London, aka zone one (see below for the full list of covered postcodes). Customers can pick up to 20 items from a selection of 1,000 products. Deliveries will be made by moped.
The delivery component of the service — including the picking of the items — is being taken care of by UK startup Quiqup, which last month raised a £20M Series B round to grow its “shop on your behalf” app and b2b business.
Quiqup launched in September 2014 and has delivered over 550,000 orders at this point, with more than 2,000 self-employed couriers on its gig economy platform at this point.
Tesco, which is the UK’s largest supermarket chain, clearly represents a major customer win for the startup.
In a statement Quiqup co-founder and head of product, Tim Linssen, said: “We are proud to be partnering with Tesco to provide last-mile logistics and delivery services for Tesco Now. Time is precious for today’s consumer, and Tesco Now will help give Londoners more time for what they enjoy most.”
Tesco Now covers the following London postcode areas at launch: E1, E2, EC1, EC2, EC3, N1, N16, NW1, NW10, NW3, NW5, NW6, NW8, SE1, SE11, SW10, SW11, SW12, SW13, SW14, SW15, SW1, SW3, SW4, SW5, SW6, SW7, SW8, W1, W10, W11, W12, W14, W2, W7, W8, W9, WC1, WC2.
“As consumer expectations change, retailers of all sizes and across verticals will be expected to offer flexible, efficient and affordable delivery to their customers. Quiqup partners are able to do this quickly and easily by integrating our technology and infrastructure into their existing systems,” added Linssen.
The startup’s tech platform provides delivery estimates — viewable via the Tesco Now app, which also provides live updates and order tracking (again powered by Quiqup’s API).
The startup has notably also previously partnered with Amazon acquisition target Whole Foods in London to be their sole online ordering option (Whole Foods has only a small store footprint in London). Quiqup also provides b2b services in non-food verticals such as independent florists and pharmacists.
Last month the startup told us that b2b deliveries make up about 45 per cent of its business. The Tesco Now deal could well ramp that up considerably, assuming its offering proves popular with Londoners.
Amazon launched its Prime Now one-hour delivery service in London back in 2015 — although that service was focused on products such as toiletries, rather than groceries.
It subsequently added the ability to order meals from London restaurants via a service called Amazon Restaurants via Prime Now.
This story was corrected to specify that Quiqup’s staff will be picking the items, rather than Tesco staff