Estonian state-owned logistics company Eesti Post AS, operating under the Omniva brand, is to conclude a more than year-long pilot project involving grocery delivery in the Tallinn metro area, as rendering the service has proven economically unviable. Supermarket chains are now weighing their own alternatives.
During the pilot project, Omniva analyzed the expenses of providing the service and the efficiency of different working processes and reached the conclusion that consolidation in the case of food delivery will not give an effect and a classic logistics model does not work in the case of this business. In addition to that it has been noted that providing the service would no longer be economically viable if the supply regions expand and a similar logistics process is continued, the company said.
"The pilot project in question has given a very good input into how logistical processes today must change and how quickly the needs of customers will change when consuming different services," Sten Argos, head of parcel operations at Eesti Post, said.
Considering the processes of the cooperation model so far, the price of the service generated based on that, the wishes of partners with regard to the details of service areas and providing other services and the wish of each retail chain to be more visible with their branding, it is more reasonable for each chain to manage their own food deliveries.
"The service is popular among final customers and the work of the food carriers has received excellent feedback from customers. As the market develops and the results of the experiences of the current pilot project are analyzed, we cannot rule out that Omniva might return to food deliveries in the future. But then with a specific process and solutions developed for that kind of a service," Argos said. "We will definitely support and help our partners to continue with food deliveries."
Supermarket chains introducing their own delivery services
Many major supermarket chains operating in Estonia were already prepared for Omniva's announcement and either already have their own delivery services in the works or are weighing introducing them.
The e-store of Tallinna Kaubamaja Group member Selver, for example, will transition fully to its own logistics as of Sept. 1.
"Selver has its own e-store logistics, and in that regard we are independent from logistics companies and carriers," Selver management board member Kristi Lomp told BNS. "In some regions, we successfully launched our food delivery in the first half of this year, and the transfer to our own logistics will happen in full as of Sept. 1."
As a result, according to Lomp, the only change for customers will be that the vehicle stopping in front of their house will be in Selver, not Omniva, livery.
Coop, which operates Maksimarket, Konsum and A ja O supermarkets and grocery stores, is likewise to launch its own service beginning in September.
"Coop was well-informed of Omniva's plans and has actually been preparing for some time to launch its own delivery service," Coop Eesti communications director Martin Miido told BNS. "Therefore nothing will change for customers. Rather, in offering our own delivery service, we can make the e-store service even faster and more personal."
According to Miido, Coop has planned it so that they will immediately transition to operating their own grocery delivery service as soon as the partnership with Omniva concludes, without leaving a gap in service.
Maxima, meanwhile, has yet to decide whether it will begin using its own vehicles or involve partners in launching its own grocery delivery service in September.
"There are currently a number of options in the works, including both involving partners and using our own vehicles," e-Maxima director Mihhail Solovjov told BNS. "As soon as we have made our decision, we will notify our customers and the public."
According to Solovjov, it was Omniva with whoom Maxima launched the first e-supermarket in Estonia, and the supermarket chain would continue cooperation with Omniva through Sept. 15.
"We will definitely offer a solution which will allow e-Maxima cutomers to receive their necessary goods without error and as comfortably as before, at a time and place convenient for them," he said. "We are working toward the change bringing an even better service to our customers."
Editor: Aili Vahtla