By Aimee Chanthadavong

An Australian-based company is giving independent supermarkets and grocery stores the opportunity to have access to e-commerce technology in order to remain competitive against major supermarkets while increasing customer satisfaction.

Myfoodlink has launched a purpose built online supermarket e-commerce system that will allow independent stores to offer their products online.

Nathan Male, Myfoodlink director business development, told RetailBiz that there are very few grocery stores that offer an online store because the technology is often too complicated, expensive and unable to cope with complexity of a grocery retail environment.

“[The inspiration] was really because we identified the grocery market has a whole lot of needs compared to other online retailers as grocery stores tend to have about 10,000 lines and the large ones have about 30,000 lines. But the current e-commerce solutions out there are predominantly designed for other sorts of retail where they might have a few thousand lines but their prices remain fairly static,” he said.

“Grocery prices, on the other hand, change everyday and are very dynamic and people want to buy a lot of items and want to do so quickly, efficiently and sometimes repeatedly.  So it’s just very difficult for grocery retailers to integrate the normal e-commerce system.”

After three years in development, which was longer than anticipated, Myfoodlink has produced an easy to use front end e-commerce system for grocery retailers that helps manages grocery fulfillment, picking, packing, product substituting, delivery runs and pickups.

“We provide all the hosting so all of that side is managed and we work hard with the grocer to get it setup. We either use existing technology or build that technology so the system can be integrated with their point of sale system so there’s no double-handling of data. We also provide an update and a database for up to 40,000 products with images and prices,” Males said.

Hill Street Grocer is the first in Hobart, has now publicly launched its online store.

‘The response in our initial testing phase has been overwhelming,” said Nick Nikitaras, co-owner of Hill Street Grocer. “Our customers love the convenience and find it an easy site to use.”

There are no upfront costs to establishing an online store with Myfoodlink and ongoing charges are based on a small percentage of turnover so the risks are very low.

Myfoodlink is currently working with supermarkets and grocery stores in Hobart, Launceston, Brisbane and Singapore to set up their online stores.