Sainsbury's grows e-job to rival Tesco

Sainsbury's is looking to exploit new technology alliances in an attempt to snatch the number one spot in online retail from supermarket rival Tesco.

Sainsbury's has also expanded the role of its e-commerce director, Angela Megson, to try to catch up with its rival.

Megson said, "My extended role will accelerate our capability to assess market opportunities for the Sainsbury's brand across all existing and new channels to market."

Last month Sainsbury's launched a joint venture with television company Carlton: Taste.co.uk was created from the merger of Sainsbury's Tasteforlife Web site and Carlton's Simplyfood site.

The new site enables people to watch their favourite cooking programmes, download the suggested recipes and order food and drink via their interactive TVs and the Internet.

The retailer has also announced an agreement with off licence Oddbins to sell pre-selected cases of wine.

Customers will be able to access the new service, called the Destination Wine Company, through the Taste.co.uk Web site, a mail order catalogue and the stores themselves.

Sainsbury's expects that up to 10% of its business will be generated through media channels in the next 10 years.

Megson explained, "We have been actively moving our brand into new channels to market and into other new media customer services via our joint ventures with both Carlton and Oddbins.

"This provides new choices and services to our existing and new customers," she said.

Datamonitor, the research company, announced last week that Tesco.com is now the world's largest online grocer, accounting for more than half the UK's total Internet grocery sales of $580m (£395m) last year. Tesco sold $310.6m of products online, compared to $125m sold by Sainsbury's.

Nick Gladding, analyst at Datamonitor, said, "This is a good initiative from Sainsbury's. There is certainly a lot of scope for integrating supermarkets and digital TV. This could give them an edge in this market."

Gladding added, "Its success depends on the uptake of Internet TV, which is an unknown quantity at the moment."

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