Woolies books $1.2B in online sales

Mercury II project to tap data analytics to improve shopping experience

Woolworths completed $1.2 billion in online sales this financial year, a 50 per cent increase on FY2013, making the company Australia’s largest internet retailer.

The company on Friday reported net profit after tax of $2.4 billion, up 6.1 per cent on 2013. Sales totalled $60.8 billion, up 5.9 per cent on the previous year.

Online is a key growth area for Woolworths with Web-based offers in the areas of food, liquor, and apparel exceeding the company’s expectations with 3 million items delivered each week, CEO Grant O’Brien said on Friday.

Australian food and liquor sales were $41.2 billion, an increase of 4.7 per cent on 2013 with online sales increasing by more than 35 per cent. Online sales in New Zealand grew by 20 per cent during the year.

Woolworths recently opened a dedicated online fulfilment grocery store and implemented ‘Track My Order’ GPS functionality which enables customers to track their online purchases. They can also share shopping lists or locate any product in store.

The retailer also expanded its Click & Collect network to 202 stores during the year and relaunched BigW Online.

“We continue to put in place the enablers for a new era of growth,” said O’Brien. “We have commenced [business transformation project] Mercury II to drive the next phase of supply chain enhancements and our 50 per cent ownership of Quantium is allowing us to use data to better tailor the shopping experience to the needs of our customers.”

Wooloworths paid $20 million in mid-2013 for a non-controlling stake in Quantium, and will use the company’s data analytics tools to improve its customer analytics capabilities.

Meanwhile, Woolworths said the integration of homeware and apparel catalogue provider EziBuy – which operates online – is progressing well with its distribution capabilities being used to enhance the retailer’s online offers.

Woolworths also said it will improve its online presence with mobile-enabled venue websites, special online offers, an online booking service for accommodation, and integrating advertising into social media platforms.

O’Brien said the retailer expected net profit after tax to increase by 4 to 7 per cent in FY15.

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Tags homewareretailwoolworthsGPSretail marketGrant O'BrienFoodEzibuyQuantiumliquor

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