TIME-POOR residents are voting with their fingers and laptops as the region’s online grocery shopping stocks continue to climb.
The latest alternative to a trolley in Tamworth is Coles with the South Tamworth store launching an online department this week.
They follow Woolworths into cyberspace, the online service creating another 24 jobs, according to management, and coinciding with a new Coles website that went live last week.
The service allows customers to have the order delivered or to pick it up from the store and caters to an area that also takes in Moonbi, Manilla, Bendemeer, Gunnedah, Timbumburi, Carroll, Attunga and Piallamore.
Coles Tamworth will be hoping to ride the online shopping wave that saw sales in Australia climb 14 per cent last year, but the growing phenomenon is nothing new to one of the region’s pioneers in this area.
In 2009 Paradise Fresh Tamworth launched an online service for fresh produce that has attracted a loyal customer base that keeps expanding every year.
Owner Brendon North said the initial store’s success had been overwhelming, motivating them to explore franchise options and finally leading to another four businesses in Narrabri, Dubbo and Sydney’s northern beaches.
He said there were now between 4000 and 5000 customers across the group with that to grow in the next four months as a further six Paradise Fresh franchises open across Sydney and Newcastle.
With the new businesses opening, revenue was expected to double in the next 12 months, Mr North said.
The farmer, who entered the online business world as a means of finding a new market for his produce, knows exactly what keeps his customers coming back and why new people sign up each week.
“People are becoming more online-savvy and they love the convenience,” Mr North said.
“They can shop online at night and have it delivered the next day.
“They also can’t believe how much fresher (the produce) is.”