Monday, January 21, 2008

On Online Delivery of Old Spice

Remember when I posted "Why Online Grocery Services Should Be Like Online Dating Services" and mentioned that (a) I was only looking at a small part of the "online grocery" topic, and (b) Connie Reece would presumably be addressing the subject in further detail in her blog?

Well, she addressed the topic. And I was right; I only dealt with a small part of the issues. In fact, because some of the people were not in my Twitterverse, I actually missed a significant part of the conversation, most notably suggestions for online communication of daily specials/fresh items, as well as incorporation of valuable content such as recipes into the service.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering if I subliminally affected Francine Hardaway's brain. She just posted something about online dating service communications.

Here's part of an East Coast guy's view of an ideal date:

So I was out by 6:30, freshly shaved and awash in Old Spice, (reminds me so of my Dad), I am on my way to your house. I’ve had the car details to get rid of all my road trip trash and old Burger King smells. I like the “New Car scent” the best....

You invite me in and I wait till you’re finishing dressing. A look around the room reveals an elegant lady with fine taste. Photos of children happy to pose for their mom. classic photos of Grandma and Granddad in their 50’s looking way. A nice sofa for guest, intimate talk and set in front of a nice fireplace stoked with wood awaiting a lit match…

You appear down the hall from your bedroom. Elegant and quaffed; hair well blown, immaculately dressed, impeccable and sleek, a cashmere top, my ears tinkle at the swish swish of your nylons.

And here's part of Francine's reply:

I think you are at the wrong house! You enter my house, acompanied by a cacaphony of barking dogs who shed all over your suit. You will come out "wearing" Buppy the Puppy. I am wearing jeans, and unwilling to change, as all I ever wear is jeans. You can have dinner anywhere in California in jeans.

Did I mention that the guy was from the East Coast?

But let's ask this question for the heck of it. What if Francine, instead of waiting for a date, was waiting for her groceries from her personal Bashashopper?

Coming down the street looking for your address I see an old stone house and the correct house number. Arriving at your door and I knock, checking to see how loud the door reverberates to judge if a knock is sufficient, then ring the bell if necessary. Waiting I listen for foot steps...Ah there, I hear shoes and aprons... And there goes the door – ‘Hello – here I am?” You invite me in and I wait till you’re finishing making the salad dressing. A look around the room reveals an elegant lady with fine taste. Cookbooks galore fill the bookcase. Classic cookbooks from Grandma and Granddad in their 1940's looking way. A nice oven for baking, culinary talk and set next to a nice refrigerator stoked with eggs awaiting a frying pan...

OK, maybe I'm carrying this online grocery "dating" thing too far.

Returning to the original topic, a Jeremy Middleton mention of smallbizpod led me to Bighams Ltd, which led me to Ocado in the UK. Here's how Ocado markets its services:

We believe you should be able to shop online without making compromises on convenience or price. That's why we've made our website even easier to use, and introduced Ocado Lower Prices on hundreds of everyday groceries; all delivered straight to your front door....

We pick, pack and deliver your groceries as if they were our own. Maybe that's why we've been recently voted Online Retailer of the Year at The Grocer Magazine's Gold Awards.

I couldn't find any evidence of personal shoppers, but I did find this:

How can I get a refund for damaged or missing items?

1. go to Orders

2. click the relevant order

3. click 'refunds' (Note: This feature is only available once the delivery hour has passed and for a period of 24 hours thereafter)

4. select the products that are either missing or damaged and continue

Once you have completed the refund request, we will investigate and confirm back to you by e-mail as to whether the request has been successful.

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