Virtual Supermarket Trip Brings Groceries to Your Door

By Szadkowski, Joe | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 14, 1997 | Go to article overview

Virtual Supermarket Trip Brings Groceries to Your Door


Szadkowski, Joe, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Traditional supermarkets, discount food warehouses and specialty markets are facing new competition from an Internet site that appeals to those who hate to go grocery shopping.

All Things Delivered (http://www.allthings.delivered.com) is an on-line shopping service that sells food and related items in the D.C. area.

"Industry experts predict that within five to 10 years, 10 percent of all food shopping will eventually be done over the Internet," which means potential sales of $4 billion to $7 billion a year, said Hans L. Wydler, vice president of operations.

All Things Delivered began about three years ago when Anne Proctor, a working mother of four boys in Bethesda, decided that it would make sense to form a neighborhood shopping cooperative where one person would do the shopping for multiple families.

"Anne's mission is to make life, and shopping, easier for people," said Beth Dijiulian of the All Things Delivered operations department. "Now that we are on line, we are taking our personalized service to a wider market."

Shoppers who enter the All Things Delivered site can choose to scan the aisles for everything you would see in a supermarket, or they can opt to use the simple search engine to find specific brand names to fill their on-line shopping carts.

Orders received by 7 a.m. are delivered that day within a specified two-hour time frame. A delivery fee of $7 is charged on orders under $50 but is waived for larger orders. Payment is via a credit card through the Web site or by cash or check on delivery. The decision to go on line with All Things Delivered was made for various reasons, but one advantage is the ability to quickly adjust prices for sales and special promotions.

"We think the Internet is a natural place for a home grocery delivery service," Mr. Wydler said. "One benefit of the Internet site is eliminating the cost of reprinting catalogs and sales fliers as our costs fluctuate, which can happen on a daily basis."

All Things Delivered uses wholesalers and discount warehouses to keep prices competitive with what a shopper would pay in a grocery store.

"For example, our produce, which is ordered through Kearney Produce and delivered to us fresh daily, is extremely competitive to that found in the retail store," Miss Dijiulian said. "Right now Sunkist oranges can be purchased at Safeway for five for $1.99. We sell California navel oranges for 49 cents a pound, which averages out to be about five for $1.09."

Since the debut of the Web site two weeks ago, Mr. Wydler has seen growth in the customer base. "Internet orders now account for 20 percent of all deliveries made by All Things Delivered," he said.

Future plans for All Things Delivered include expanding the service farther into Virginia and opening another distribution center there. The Web site will also grow as All Things Delivered provides, among other features, recipes that automatically adjust the amount of ingredients based on portions.

LOCAL SITE

For fans who prefer to play and not just watch the national pastime, SportFrame Inc. (http://www.citi.net/sportframe) of Woodbridge, Va., offers an economical way to polish that batting stroke. CEO and President Tim McLain has put together a bare-bones site that heralds "the most innovative portable batting/pitching net on the market." Site content includes product information and pricing for the SportFrame system. A net being promoted on the Net - I'm so confused.

DOWNTIME

I'm not entirely sold on the entertainment value of this site, but Faces (http://www.corynet.com/faces/) is certainly a pleasant way to kill a few minutes. Created by Cory R. Gilbert, a self-professed "guy who likes to create Web content," Faces is a Web game that lets players combine the facial features of various celebrities. A star's face is broken up into three parts: forehead, eyes and mouth. …

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Virtual Supermarket Trip Brings Groceries to Your Door
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