- Canadian supermarket Loblaw has launched an online marketplace to expand product assortment through its PC Express click-and-collect and delivery service, according to a company press release.
- The marketplace will offer products and brands that Loblaw has not historically stocked and will span categories like baby, home, toy, pet and kitchen. Customers can order from the online marketplace for home delivery or in-store pickup.
- Once the marketplace launches, Loblaw will introduce additional third-party companies in five expanded categories and will continue to add new products.
Loblaw's national marketplace will present the largest variety of inventory to its customers to date. The company is billing the move as added convenience for customers with a curated assortment of products from new vendors that can complement their current shopping needs.
"The intent of this service is to better support the needs of Canadian families, with easy ordering through the PC Express service and returns through many of our stores," said Hesham Fahmy vice president for Loblaw Digital, in a statement.
For example, she said, a family that's ordering diapers online could also order related products, like blankets, and even a big ticket item like a crib.
Loblaw acquired a tech company called PFTech earlier this year to support the integration of the online marketplace with the PC Express platform, the company said.
Retail consulting firm IGD wrote that Loblaw will use the marketplace to boost sales and advance its Canadian e-commerce strategy, where it has established itself as a leader. The company offers pickup from more than 700 stores and uses Instacart to fulfill its delivery orders. It also plans to construct a 12,000-square-foot micro-fulfillment center in partnership Takeoff Technologies to fuel its pickup service in the Toronto area.
Other retailers have tested the marketplace concept to partner with more suppliers and offer a wider online assortment for shoppers. Walmart Canada launched an online marketplace in 2017, initially doubling the retailer’s product assortment. Albertsons created a digital marketplace last October with 40,000 specialty products from artisans, entrepreneurs and local vendors.
The effort helps companies establish their own endless aisle offerings as they compete with Amazon’s massive marketplace.