Coles has continued to optimise its e-commerce and supply chain operations to fulfil larger volumes of online orders with greater accuracy. 

In a trading update released today, the supermarket chain said online sales revenue grew by 57 percent for the quarter ending September 27, contributing 6 percent of overall supermarkets sales.

In Victoria, online sales grew by more than 100 percent as restrictions were reimposed in response to the second wave of Covid-19 infections.   

The supermarket said strategic investments in capacity and service had led to a “significant improvement in key customer experience metrics”. 

In particular the ‘perfect order rate’, which measures the availability of products ordered and delivered in full on time, more than doubled during the quarter.

The performance is an improvement on the previous six months when supermarkets were forced to close off online orders to cope with stock shortages. 

To improve the online shopping experience, the supermarket giant said it had introduced single-click checkout to its online store and new personalisation features. 

The number of stores with contactless click and collect (to the boot of a car) grew by 14 percent to more than 450.         

Coles also reduced the number of catalogues it printed by 32 million after it stopped delivering printed catalogues to homes in September, replacing them with more personalised digital marketing under the banned “coles&co.”

At the back of house, Coles has rolled out a software system to digitise the entry and exiting of distribution centres as well as automate the onboarding processes for drivers. 

The supermarket chain has also completed its implementation of GT Nexus, a global supply chain management platform that simplifies international trade operations. 

The improvements are part of Coles’ Smart Selling strategy, a four year transformation program which includes large investments in automation. 

Construction is underway on a Witron automated distribution centre built in Queensland while development approvals for a similar NSW site are expected to be finalised in the coming months.  

The supermarket said construction on the Ocado online customer fulfilment centre in Melbourne is ongoing and development has been approved for the Sydney online customer fulfilment centre with construction starting this quarter.

“We have made further progress executing our strategy to ensure the long-term growth of Coles, particularly in digital and online,” CEO Steven Cain said. 

“This is despite significant Covid related restrictions in Victoria related to our main store support centre, our distribution centres, our meat suppliers and of course, our customers – many of whom were not able to visit their regular Coles store due to the restriction on not travelling more than five kilometres from home or permitted workplaces.”

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