Online shop orders soar in a repeat of spring coronavirus effects

Selver e-shop warehouse.
Selver e-shop warehouse. Source: Merilin Pärli/ERR

Even though supermarkets remain open and people still go grocery shopping, e-commerce orders have returned to the spring emergency situation level.

For Coop, the volume of online orders now matches the spring level when people stopped visiting malls and grocery stores and started shopping from the comfort of their home. However, if in spring, delivery could take upwards of a week, unto the service being unavailable, Coop says they can now deliver inside 24 hours. It was possible to get your order delivered on the same day recently, before the second wave of the coronavirus really took off.

"We have rendered our processes more effective, hired new people. We are constantly boosting our capacity," said Martin Miido, head of communication for Coop.

Miido considers a waiting period of 24 hours to be optimal.

Online orders have mainly exploded in Lääne-Harju Municipality where Coop installed food lockers in October. Crisis reserve orders that are sent all over Estonia in cooperation with Omniva as they do not include perishable goods have also grown.

The cost of an average order has gone up.

"This has happened with every crisis. But if people tend to visit the physical shop more seldom and buy more items at a time, online shopping takes place more often while people still buy a lot of goods," Miido said.

People are no longer hoarding toilet paper and goods with a long shelf life.

"People were afraid of the unknown in spring. They now know that there is enough food, which is why we are not seeing panic buying of dry food, canned food and instant soup as we did in spring," Miido explained.

Coop home delivery orders start at €25, while food locker orders are not limited and can consist of a single ice cream.

Maxima e-shop operator Barbora is also faced with increased demand.

"Demand has grown and same day orders are booked in the morning. We boosted our consolidation efforts considerably during the spring emergency situation and were ready this time," said executive manager Kirke Pentikäinen. "Most orders are delivered by the following day."

Demand has grown for Barbora everywhere in its service area of Tallinn and the outlying municipalities.

Orders are smaller than they were in spring.

"People are more rational and have stopped stockpiling dry goods. Necessary food items are bought in sensible quantities, while purchases have become more regular, with many customers ordering their shopping once or even twice or three times a week," Pentikäinen said, echoing the trend at Coop.

Barbora home delivery is free starting from a purchase of €50.

Selver on top of e-commerce deliveries

Even though the number of e-commerce orders has also grown for the Selver chain of supermarkets that operates the largest home delivery area in Estonia, queues have not been created.

"Waiting times have not grown and most orders are delivered on the same day. Our capacity has more than doubled. We are more operative and have over 10 order consolidation locations all over Estonia," Rivo Veski, head of communication for Selver, said.

The average Selver e-shop order is bigger than what people spend in the shops at around €80.

"The makeup of e-shop orders did not change much in spring either as stockpiling of non-perishable goods took place in shops," Veski added.

Selver home delivery is always for a fee at €4.90.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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