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Supermarket delivery slots have seen a surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic as Britons were told to stay home. Even as lockdown eases, the service is still popular with new quarantine rules coming in regularly and some people still shielding. But there are plenty of options to choose from as brands are now competing for customers – with Tesco announcing its latest plans for a free delivery service.
The UK’s largest supermarket is part of the ‘Big Four’ alongside Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, and now it’s taking on new grocery rival Amazon.
The tech giant announced that it would be offering free delivery to its 15million Prime members in the UK as part of its plans to expand its Fresh food service.
The Fresh section on the site sells groceries including milk, cheese, meat and vegetables as well as cupboard staples.
Those paying the monthly £7.99 fee can get home delivery on their Amazon Fresh groceries for free as part of the deal – something Tesco is set to copy in the near future.
The supermarket launched its own premium membership scheme, Clubcard Plus, in November last year.
It costs £7.99 a month and provides added benefits on top of the Clubcard points scheme, including 10 percent off two shops of your choice in-store each month.
The offer could save regular shoppers up to £40 a month, with the maximum discount of £20 per shop.
However, Tesco’s bosses have revealed that there could be more benefits added to the subscription service to make it more of a direct rival to Amazon.
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Talking to the Sunday Telegraph, Chief Executive Dave Lewis said: “The idea of Prime is very similar to where we are in Clubcard Plus, in terms of bringing a whole bunch of benefits together.
“So an opportunity into the future for us is to think about how we put delivery into Clubcard Plus.”
He added that “that’s always been the direction of travel”, though with Amazon announcing it is rolling out its grocery service across the UK by the end of the year it could happen sooner than planned.
Tesco already offers free deliveries with its Delivery Saver subscription, which is £7.99 a month.
However, the news means the benefit would be part of the Clubcard Plus scheme as well, enticing more shoppers to sign up for the service.
Until now, Amazon Fresh purchases have required a monthly add-on fee of £3.99 or a £2.99 delivery fee, even for Prime members – and they weren’t available in many postcodes.
Russell Jones, Country Manager of Amazon Fresh UK said of the changes: “Grocery delivery is one of the fastest-growing businesses at Amazon.
“We will keep improving the grocery shopping experience so by the end of the year, millions of Prime members across the UK will have access to fast, free delivery of groceries.”
Tesco’s announcement will no doubt come as welcome news to some shoppers who were disappointed by its recent pricing changes for online shopping deliveries.
The supermarket axed its peak and off-peak pricing model last week following the huge demand for the service during the lockdown, which seems set to continue.
Customers will now have to pay a flat fee of £4.50 for a one-hour slot, while anyone whose orders are delivered from one of its fulfillment centres will pay £5.50.
Shoppers have raised concerns over the change, seeing it as a price hike as slots used to be available for as little as £2.
However, they also reached £7 for peak times – which Tesco has now said is no longer fair given the new sustained demand for deliveries in the UK.
There’s also a charge of £1.50 for Click and Collect orders, though for either option there is a surcharge of £4 for orders under £40 (delivery) or £25 (collection).
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