QUEENS, N.Y. -- Two Key Food stores here are testing home shopping through a new Web site called HomeDelivery.com. Consumers can access the site directly or through a link on the retailer's Web site at www.keyfood.com.
The Key Food stores, which are owned by Gemstone Supermarkets here, offer an assortment of 8,000 to 10,000 items in grocery, dairy, produce, frozen food, general merchandise, pet items, beverages and household supplies. Deli platters and other catered foods are also available on the site.
The retailer is processing 36 orders per week throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Nassau County, N.Y., according to David Mandell, owner of the two Key Food stores.
Ari Friedman, president of HomeDelivery.com, said the site, launched in March, answers concerns independent retailers have about the future.
"The big question for local retailers is, 'are people going to shop [on-line] and have their groceries sent Federal Express or do consumers prefer to shop at their local merchants whom they know and who know them?' " Friedman said. "These are the questions that local retailers are concerned with and we provide an answer for them."
The success of HomeDelivery.com in the New York area will help determine the cost-effectiveness of expanding its service into a national grocery site which routes consumers to independent grocers in their area of the country.
HomeDelivery.com also brings different types of catalogs and national retailers closer to the local consumer by grouping them with the neighborhood stores on the Web site.
"We're going to do it," Mandell said, referring to the national site that will network independent grocers. Mandell has a more than average interest in the success and growth plans of HomeDelivery.com because he also serves as the company's vice president of sales. "It's just a question of how soon and working out the logistics and the prototype."
"The idea is to say 'I know the Internet and the grocery business and this is how we're doing it,' " he added. "For me to say that, I have to say 'I've done it and that it's working in the New York area.' "
To access the Key Food section of the site, consumers click on the icon that indicates "local" shopping and enter their ZIP code.
Consumers click on areas of interest including grocery, dairy and produce. Clicking on an item such as Florida Natural Premium Apple Juice priced at $3.29 drops the item into an area of the screen that has a shopping basket. The price is added to a running sub-total, which indicates how much the individual is spending on the order.
When all the items are chosen, consumers click the checkout and see a summary of their entire order and a form requesting information such as name, address, method of payment and time of delivery.
Next the user hits "process order" and gets a confirmation for the order. An e-mail receipt is sent to the consumer to indicate the order has gone through.
Once the order is received by Key Food, the retailer calls consumers to confirm the order and discuss possible out-of-stocks. Customers are not charged until the order is completed and selected by store personnel. Credit card payments for the order are processed at the store. This method of handling the order enhances customer service and addresses the security issue of payments over the Internet, according to Mandell.
Key Food offers free delivery anywhere in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Nassau County Monday through Saturday. Minimum delivery order is $50.
Orders placed before 10:00 a.m. are delivered between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. the same day, according to information on the site. Orders placed after 10 a.m. are scheduled for next-day delivery.