DENVER -- King Soopers here plans to sell its home-grown home-shopping service, Teleshopper, to a national third-party home-shopping company. The change, to be implemented in the next 60 to 90 days, would add Internet ordering to the existing phone and fax connection methods.
"We are committed to providing an ongoing shopping and delivery service because our customers have found this service to be valuable and necessary," said John Burgon, president of King Soopers, in a prepared statement. "To enhance this service with improvements like Internet ordering, a company with significant knowledge and resources was required, while we continue our focus on expanding our traditional store base."
OnCart, Lombard, Ill., formerly Shoppers Express, would take over the Teleshopper operation from King Soopers, a division of Dillon Cos., Hutchinson, Kan., which is a division of Kroger Co., Cincinnati.
Besides adding Internet ordering, OnCart is planning other service enhancements beginning in February 1998, including personalized shopping lists and consumer access to a variety of product information.
King Soopers began offering home shopping in 1990, and had amassed a customer base "in the thousands," according to a spokesman for the retailer. "We offered the service marketwide, from Fort Collins, Colo., in the north to Pueblo, Colo., in the south," he said. "It was a successful program."
The retailer used a combination of in-store picking and a separate pick facility in fulfilling the home-shopping orders. King Soopers had its own fleet of vans and used its own dedicated staff people to make deliveries.
The King Soopers spokesman expects OnCart to continue picking home-shopping orders in the stores. Specific operational questions, however, such as who would own the delivery vans, are to be decided during the transition period.
OnCart provides home-shopping services in conjunction with retailers in six U.S. markets: Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth; Los Angeles-Orange County; Phoenix; and Seattle.
The company added a national home-delivery service in November, offering more than 7,500 nonperishable products to on-line users anywhere in the United States. Features available via the web site, www.oncart.com, include personalized shopping lists that the company keeps on file.