Books, stationery, phone chargers, toys and exam guides are the latest items to be transported to customers on fast delivery bikes through a partnership between WH Smith and Deliveroo.
The street retailer will offer 600 products for delivery in just 20 minutes, joining similar services offered by supermarkets, pharmacies and takeaways.
Sean Toal, Managing Director of WH Smith’s high street business, said: “We are always exploring new ways to delight our customers in-store and online by providing them with an exceptional shopping experience.
Like many other retailers, the popularity of the WH Smith website has grown rapidly during the pandemic, with sales more than tripling over the spring and summer of 2020. The site already offers next day home delivery or collection in store.
Now 10 stores will benefit from the retailer’s deal with Deliveroo starting with Reading on Tuesday and followed next week by Cambridge, Brighton, Oxford, Leeds, St Albans and Guildford as well as Richmond, Chiswick and Muswell Hill in London.
Carlo Mocci, commercial director of Deliveroo’s UK and Irish operations, said the combination with WH Smith would increase choice for shoppers and “create more work for passengers across the UK”. None of Deliveroo’s couriers have paid holiday or sick pay guarantees, as they are stated to be independent contractors.
Deliveroo, which was originally a takeaway delivery specialist, has gradually expanded into new areas in recent years. During the pandemic, it has met demand for home delivery of groceries through links with Morrison, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco’s One Stop convenience store chain, in addition to the Co-op, covering around 6,000 grocery stores in the UK and Ireland. He also delivers for Majestic Wine and Lloyds Pharmacy.
Aldi also trialled home deliveries with the film, but scrapped it in January as consumers returned to stores in greater numbers.
The desire for expedited delivery has spurred the growth of specialist players such as Getir, Gorillas and GoPuff who have raised hundreds of millions of pounds to expand their network of bikes and mopeds to deliver groceries in under 15 minutes .
DIY chains are also getting in on the act with Screwfix launching a one-hour delivery service in around a third of the country covering more than 9,000 products.