Is Woolworths the Leader of Innovation?

Power Retail By Power Retail | 14 Apr 2020

Supermarkets have been one of the ruling retailers during the crisis, for fairly obvious reasons. Which supermarket is leading the way throughout Australia? Power Retail investigates.

During the outbreak, supermarkets have experienced a peak in popularity and sales, with stock-piling becoming one of the most significant issues during the preparation of self-isolation.

Online shopping and specified store hours have been a shining light amongst the darkness of the current outbreak.

Since isolation came into play, the leaders in Australian supermarkets have been fighting tooth and nail to beat the other to reduce the pain of stock-piling and remaining profitable.

However, it seems that Woolworths has been ahead of the curve, and Coles is following in its footsteps.

On March 15th, Woolworths introduced an hour dedicated to elderly and disabled shoppers. “We’re launching a dedicated shopping hour in our stores to help support the needs of the elderly & people with disability in the community,” the supermarket said in a statement on Twitter.

The next day, Coles announced the launch of its Community Hour, which allowed elderly shoppers to shop exclusively in-store for an hour.

Last week, Woolworths launched its Community Pickup Service, which allows ‘Priority Assistance customers to place an order online for someone to pick up on their behalf’. More than 700 locations around the country have been opened and will be available for over 100 Pick up Drive-thru locations and in 600 stores for Pick up at the service desk.

Coles’ Coles Online Priority Service (COPS) service, now provides the same service, along with priority hours and online order priorities. According to Google Trends data, Woolworths has five times the penetration of Coles, despite offering the same service.

So, as Woolworths adds more services to its name during the outbreak, it appears that Coles quickly catches up.  As a result, the online traffic for Woolworths has been rising significantly, whereas Coles has started to falter.

via SimilarWeb Australia

Source: SimilarWeb Australia

According to SimilarWeb data, Woolworths has consistently built up its weekly visits, while Coles follows. “This graph shows that in the last two weeks, while Woolworths’ site traffic is continuing to increase, Coles is starting to lag behind,” said David Fear, Head of Analytics at Power Retail.

Regarding the grocery box services, which both Woolworths and Coles offer for $80, the former company is leading the online penetration. According to Google Trends data, Woolworths is the top search term when searching ‘$80 box’.

via Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

While Coles is undoubtedly a leader in the supermarket chain throughout the country, it appears that Woolworths is the leader of innovation in the supermarket category.

Power Retail is dedicated to providing critical and live e-commerce retailer benchmarking data and shopper insights for the online retail industry. Click here to find out more about Power Retail E-Commerce Intelligence or here to sign-up for the free weekly Pulse Newsletter for more essential online retail content.

11 Comments

11 thoughts on “Is Woolworths the Leader of Innovation?”

  1. Deborah says:

    I’m usually a Coles but they don’t offer a priority delivery service to all of us on a disability pension, Woolworths does. Woolworths also offers it to people with compromised immune systems without having to be a member of NDIS. I did ring Coles customer service but had no luck. I’ve become a Woolworths customer!

  2. Roy says:

    Have always shopped at all supermarkets depending on specials but iam now a woolies customer/supporter. The only chain who would home delivery during this crisis

  3. Janette says:

    The pack your own grocery is still a mess and doesn’t work for keeping 1.5mtres. 2 times I have packed and both times the checkout chick has been in my face inches from it busy putting the grocery under my bags which were open and ready to except, as I try to fiddle on a space that is not suited for doing it yourself, with grocery ending up on the floor or the other side of the register where the 2nd person used to serve. I was upset and flustered with trying to do it and have since started sneezing after the last visit.

  4. Boyd Bonett says:

    I would hardly say so.

    We refuse to order from Woolworths anymore after the following;
    1. calling their online customer service and being on hold for more than 3 hours at a time for more than twice a week for the past 3 weeks. We are ready to just give up.

    2. Being told to wait on their online chat service, before 35 minutes later a message prompts up stating that we are too busy to assist you, please contact us via phone where you can wait in line for 3 plus hours at a time.

    3. Leaving 6 emails without a single response over the past 2 months. Hence why we have to keep calling.

    4. Failing to bother delivering an order to someone whom has been directed to go into self isolation.

    5. cancelling our monthly online order when we have had our monthly discount applied and not bothering to offer the discount on our next order.
    They quickly forgot about their custoneed a but happily advertised to the media and via marketing about how good they are.

  5. KJ says:

    I think Boyd should look on mirror.
    We have nothing but praise for Safeway delivery service , some people will never be happy . By.

  6. Wendy cowton says:

    Please people give our esential workers a go we are proud of what we do and care for our customers if everyone did the right thing there would be no problems or concerns with things our suoermarket people are in the firing line and people should have respect for all of them and there stores in these hard times hopefully things wont take to long for a good turn around so in the mean time try to all keep calm at this point in time and have respect as well .

  7. Annie says:

    Woolworths have very clearly been leading the way and offering services that Coles then copies in retrospect. I shopped in Woolworths last week and was anxiously and hurriedly packing my groceries as I don’t like to inconvenience anyone waiting. The assistant told me not to worry, there was no hurry. My experience at Coles this week. Packing as fast as I could and then the assistant started to serve the next customer, who’s products were coming through while I was still trying to pack. Not good. Also Woolworths have a perspex barrier in front of their staff now. Yet another innovative idea from WW. Have yet to see Coles do the same for their staff.

  8. Rick Whitehouse says:

    Both Coles and Woolworths failed miserably. I had to self isolate after returning from overseas and none to shop for me.Neither Coles or Woolworths provided a service to home in our area. Fortunately a local Foodworks did. As a shareholder in both Coles and Woolworths I Wwas appalled and there was nowhere on their webiste to give them feedback.

  9. Aaron says:

    Except there was 1 small supermarket owner that did it first and publicly said he hoped the other large 3 would follow his lead…

  10. Annie says:

    I tried to sign up online but there was no follow up help when I couldn’t do it. Not everyone is computer savy and I have no one to help me. Therefore I have to go to the supermarket which is risky for me as I am in the vulnerable category. Quite disappointing.

  11. Verity says:

    I find the handling of the trolleys quite illogical, although Woolworths had hand wipes for the outside trolleys prior to the Wuhan Flu. I don’t understand why the customer handles the trolley then goes inside the shop to have the handlebars cleaned, either by a staff member or yourself. The first point of call should where the trolleys are “parked” which is generally outside the store. Anyone can re-dirty the trolley handlebars as the are walking along the aisles, thus returning a dirty trolley for the next person to handle before it gets cleaned.

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