INDEPENDENTS GET A SLICE OF ONLINE PIE
Written on the 9 December 2015
AN ADELAIDE business is helping independent supermarkets take a bite out of the grocery giants' sales, after putting a fresh spin on its e-commerce ordering platform.
NoQ allows retailers to trade online with a fully integrated system, including image library, mobile technology, fulfilment app, coupon codes, home delivery, payment and analytics.
Former Adelaide Crows ruckman Brad Moran established the business in 2011 as a pre-order and payment system targeted towards fast-food restaurants and coffee shops.
NoQ has since redeveloped its offering to attract a wider range of retailers, securing more than 70 supermarkets across Australia in the last two years.
Moran says web-based sales are vital for the survival of independent supermarkets, with online grocery shopping one of the fastest revenue growth sectors in the world.
"We've spent more than $3 million to completely re-engineer the entire system to become a totally scalable SaaS (software as a service) platform that sets us apart from the competition," Moran says.
"Independent retailers require more than just an e-commerce store to succeed online. They need a system that is embedded in the way they operate.
"For example, our iPad fulfilment application reduces the cost of picking orders from an hour to just 20 minutes, which makes it more profitable for stores to sell online.
"Reducing that cost removes a barrier to entry for independents to get online. That's one of our key differentiators, which is why we've got a lot of adoption in this market."
As well as drive online revenue, Moran says NoQ allows supermarkets to extend their sales reach.
"The great discovery for independent retailers is that buying behaviours are different online," he says.
"Customers tend to order their full weekly shop online rather than bits and pieces, so they spend much more. Instead of being a secondary shopping location, they become the customer's primary store.
"That's the value proposition of NoQ to independent supermarkets."
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acquired a stake in the business in 2012. The team has since grown to 25 employees, including the appointment of South Australian Economic Development Board chairman Raymond Spencer to the NoQ board.
NoQ manages clients from across Australia, with St Helens Supa IGA in Tasmania reporting an average online basket value of $194.96 last month compared to $37.60 in store.
Store owner Kemuel Wood says 80 per cent of online customers this year have been new to the store.
"Our online business delivers groceries to customers who live 150-160km away," Wood says.
"Also eight of our 10 best-selling products are fresh products, which is not the case with online sales by the big chains, so we're building up a relationship of trust with our customers."
NoQ will integrate Bluetooth beacons placed around a store with the platform, to map out product locations more efficiently.
Image: NoQ GM Nick Paech and founder Brad Moran