Books, stationery, phone chargers, toys and exam study guides are the latest items to be ferried to customers on fast-track delivery bikes via a partnership between WH Smith and Deliveroo.
The high street retailer will offer 600 products for delivery in as little as 20 minutes, joining similar services offered by supermarkets, pharmacies and takeaways.
Sean Toal, the managing director of WH Smith’s high street business, said: “We’re always exploring new ways to delight our customers both in store and online by providing them with an exceptional shopping experience.”
Like many other retailers, the popularity of WH Smith’s website grew rapidly during the pandemic with sales more than tripling over spring and summer 2020. The site already offers next day delivery to homes or for collection in stores.
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, the chief business officer for Deliveroo’s UK and Irish business, said the tie-up with WH Smith would increase choice for shoppers and “create more work for riders across the UK”. None of Deliveroo’s couriers are guaranteed holiday pay or sick pay as it says they are independent self-employed contractors.
Deliveroo, which started out as a specialist in takeaway deliveries, has gradually expanded into new areas in recent years. During the pandemic it catered to demand for home delivery of groceries via tie-ups with Morrison, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco’s One Stop convenience store chain, in addition to the Co-op, covering about 6,000 grocery stores across the UK and Ireland. It also delivers for Majestic Wine and Lloyds Pharmacy.
Aldi also trialled home deliveries with the fim but ditched it in January as consumers returned to stores in greater numbers.
The desire for fast-track delivery has spurred the growth of specialist players including Getir, Gorillas and GoPuff which have raised hundreds of millions of pounds to expand their network of bikes and mopeds to deliver groceries in less than 15 minutes.
DIY chains are also getting in on the act with Screwfix launching a one-hour delivery service across about a third of the country covering more than 9,000 products.