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Internet retailer Amazon piled the pressure on Ocado today with the overnight launch of a grocery division selling 22,000 products including brands such as Pampers nappies, Ariel washing powder and Pedigree Chum dog food. The company, best known for its online sales of books and CDs, made the surprise announcement hot on the heels of the publication of the float prospectus for Ocado, which is aiming for a market valuation of i?? 1. 37bn when it lists on the stock exchange later this month.

Amazon said its new “grocery store” would offer 22,000 lines with big consumer goods firms Kraft, Nestland Procter & Gamble among the suppliers involved. By comparison, Ocado sells 20,000 products, roughly a quarter of which come from Waitrose. Amazon already sells groceries online in the US and has recently launched a similar service in Germany. Analysts, however, said shoppers would find it difficult to rely on the website for their weekly food shops as some items such as fresh and chilled food would be delivered by third party suppliers, meaning orders could arrive in several separate parcels. The delivery terms are the same as other Amazon goods and delivery is free if customers are willing to wait several days for their chicken.

Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon. co. uk, said the division offered customers the chance to buy staples such as washing powder and toilet roll in bulk, or shop for gourmet and organic products such as pheasant, partridge and wheels of cheese. “I don’t think many people will do their weekly shop [with us],” said McBride in one interview, adding: “There will be many people who live outside of the big cities, who might find it difficult to track down their favourite brand of green tea, or ingredients for a Japanese recipe. ” Indeed, items for sale include a whole lamb carcass for 120.

Ambrian analyst Philip Dorgan said this suggested the retailer was targeting cash-and-carry and wholesale customers. The website also offers an eclectic mix of niche and ethnic foods, and halal and kosher meat. Dorgan said the product mix was “crazy” but that the breadth of the range demonstrated the weakness of the Ocado model and “would not be helpful” for the flotation. An Amazon spokeswoman said it was “early days” and that the groceries range would continue to expand over time. She declined to comment on whether, like Ocado and Tesco, Amazon planned to use liveried vans to make deliveries.

Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, Amazon started out selling books but now also offers items ranging from e-books to shoes and washing machines. It took seven years to become profitable but global sales reached $24. 5bn (i?? 16bn) last year. In the past comparisons have been drawn between Amazon and Ocado, which, despite its float plans, is still loss-making after eight years of making deliveries. Fans of Ocado argue it is well placed to benefit from the growth in internet food shopping: analysts at market research firm IGD predict that online sales of groceries will almost double to 7. 2bn by 2014.

Dorgan said such comparisons flattered Ocado. He believes Amazon was able to revolutionise bookselling because it was the only sector where an online operator could have cheaper distribution costs than a traditional store. “This is not the case in online food retailing,” he added. “Both companies are pure-play retailers and lost money for quite a number of years, but that is about it [for comparison purposes] as far as we are concerned. ” http://www. guardian. co. uk/business/2010/jul/07/amazon-groceries-ocado-flotation

Online Grocery Shopping: Pros and Cons Feb 12, 2010 With the convenience of shopping online, it’s no wonder online grocery shopping has become a possibility. Take a look at these pros and cons of grocery shopping online to see if you think it is for you. Pros of Online Grocery Shopping With online grocery shopping, there’s no hassle of finding time to pack up the kids, drive to the store, find a parking space, grab a cart and shuffle through the store with a list trying to remember to grab everything while the kids constantly ask for something or bicker with one another.

It’s as simple as choosing the items you need, entering your payment information, and waiting for the delivery to make its way to your door. Online grocery shopping tends to be much less stressful than conventional shopping as several different things will play into how stressful the trip to the conventional store becomes. You can wait until the kids are in bed, sit with your list in front of you, and shop leisurely.

You’ll be sure to avoid any impulse buys–resist the urge to click on a product you do not need by distracting yourself for a moment with the remainder of the list items–and will not have to deal with the children bickering or throwing items in the cart. Impulse items are easier to avoid because the image on the screen doesn’t do as much mentally as having the product in front of you to touch. It may not save you any money, but it may save you some calories. You will be aware of your subtotal as you go along adding items from your list, so you’ll have an easier time keeping on top of the grocery budget.

Cons of Online Grocery Shopping You may miss out on significant savings through the use of store specials and coupons. These missed savings have a potential to add up, depending on how much food you are buying. At times, the savings from sales and coupons will make the trip valuable. The online grocery stores are generally higher priced than conventional stores. Not only will you miss out on potential savings, but you will have to spend more for the convenience. Many online grocery stores and delivery services will charge fees for the shipment and delivery on your items, regardless of how much you spend.

This tacks on even more to the bill. Often times, online grocery stores have a much more limited inventory than conventional stores, and their online inventories may not be correct all the time which means if you order an item, you may not receive it right away. You will have to be sure you are at home during a certain time of the day when the groceries are delivered. Weighing the Decision There are times when you will want to go ahead and spend the extra money to avoid having to take a trip to the grocery store.

If you have had a really stressful week and need the time off and have the money to spare, consider using the online services to allow you to have an errand free weekend. If you are on a strict diet or cannot resist the impulse buy temptation, cut it out and use the online services. Generally speaking, you will probably only spend $20 or so more with the online store vs. the conventional store, but with the conventional store, you risk spending the additional $20 in impulse buys. If you want to cut down on trips to the store and continue saving money, consider buying items in bulk so you don’t need to go as often.

http://www. brighthub. com/money/personal-finance/articles/34470. aspx Online Grocery Shopping From milk and eggs to exotic fruits and wines, online grocery shopping is a great option for the busy consumer. Maybe you hate the crowded aisles and fluorescent lighting of your local grocery store, or are frustrated by sold-out items or hard-to-find delicacies. Perhaps your busy schedule and ever increasing commute times keep you from the grocery store. Or maybe other factors, such as a disability or a single parent household, make it hard to find the time to shop for groceries.

Luckily, you do have online options – both your neighborhood grocery and online grocery stores are available to take the stress and complication out of grocery shopping -for a nominal fee, of course. Taking Shopping To The Next Level You’ve shopped for clothing, magazine subscriptions and consumer goods online, so why not take it to the next level with online grocery shopping? Many neighborhood groceries are beginning to offer the online option. For example, some Kroger stores such as King Soopers, Safeway, and other local stores have online shopping options in some areas.

Even better, small specialty stores such as delicatessens, wine shops and bakeries are offering more and more online options and may give you the opportunity to order groceries for delivery online. But how can you find these sites and services in your area? A simple Google search for the names of local stores will bring up their web sites and online options, if applicable. Bear in mind that not all areas have access to online shopping – some stores are still testing out their online programs or have not branched out onto the World Wide Web.

In addition, be prepared to be unable to select individual items such as the ripest apples and oranges without a visit to the store’s physical location. Certain brand names may have limited online availability, and many stores have a required minimum purchase amount for online orders. Notwithstanding these warnings, the benefits of convenient, time-saving online grocery shopping often outweigh still limited services. Other options include all-online grocery shopping services, such as Netgrocer, which delivers groceries via FedEx.

This service allows you to remember past orders or place a standing order on some goods, and is available wherever FedEx ships. If you prefer to let someone else do the cooking, you might want to consider an online meal preparation and shopping service such as DineWise, which provides ready-to-cook entrees and sides for busy working families. And there are thousands of specialty merchants on the Web – a simple Web search will reveal everything from Russian delicacies to Texan hot sauce, ready to be ordered for your next potluck or family gathering.