Can e-Grocers survive the last mile?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Business




Barnett, M., & Alexander, P. (2003). Can e-Grocers survive the last mile? In Proceedings of 4th International WeB Conference (IWC). Perth, WA. We-B Centre School of Management Information Systems, Edith Cowan University.


Online grocery shopping is a significant and growing sector of e-business. While much focus is on the online order-taking technology, the delivery process affecting the so-called "last mile" is itself a major determinant of success of such operators. Using a model developed from a case study, which shows that as volume of deliveries increases, costs characteristics and activities fall into 7 discrete phases, we propose that retailers looking at last mile solutions can accurately predict costs for proposed market volumes, and do so as their business volumes increase. Online businesses then, in setting up their systems and alliances can assess their offerings in comparison to other entrants. A preliminary survey of Australian e-grocers' last mile offerings is included.

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