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WHSmith to deliver cards in 20mins with Deliveroo

Retailer’s new rapid delivery trial includes greeting cards in product line-up


Greeting cards are among the items WHSmith expect customers to order when they take advantage of the retailer’s new partnership with rapid delivery specialists Deliveroo.

Having started out specialising in takeaway deliveries, Deliveroo is launching an exclusive trial across 10 WHS High Street stores, giving customers the choice of 600 products which can be delivered in as little as 20 minutes.

The partnership launched yesterday (29 March) in Reading, and will be rolled out to Richmond, Muswell Hill, Chiswick, Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, St Albans, and Guildford over the next week, giving on-demand access to items including greeting cards, stationery, gifting, home office essentials, books, revision guides, toys and games.

Above: Greetings offer – cards can already be ordered online from WHS
Above: Greetings offer – cards can already be ordered online from WHS

Sean Toal, managing director WHSmith High Street, said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Deliveroo for this trial which will complement our existing offer and enable our customers to receive the products that they want and need from us as fast as possible from their local store direct to their door – whether that’s a greetings card, working from home essentials, a last-minute gift or a newly-released book!”

“We’re always exploring new ways to delight our customers both in store and online by providing them with an exceptional shopping experience.”

Above: On the High Street – WHSmith has 540-plus stores as well as its international and travel offer
Above: On the High Street – WHSmith has 540-plus stores as well as its international and travel offer already offers next-day Click & Collect and home delivery for online orders, and its site offers online ordering and direct delivery of personalised greeting cards by 9.30pm the next day, while this new partnership with Deliveroo allows the 230-year-old retailer to provide even greater speed to customers that need items in as little as 20 minutes.

WHSmith is looking for the relationship with Deliveroo to further build on its reputation as a leading retailer of cards and stationery.

Deliveroo’s chief business officer UK&I Carlo Mocci added: “We are delighted to announce a new partnership with WHSmith in 10 stores across the country.

“This partnership will further increase the choice and selection of on-demand convenience products for our consumers, delivered in as little as 20 minutes, and will create more work for riders across the UK.”

Above: Let’s get personal – Funky Pigeon is WHSmith’s online personalised card arm
Above: Let’s get personal – Funky Pigeon is WHSmith’s online personalised card arm

Deliveroo has gradually expanded into new areas in recent years, with the pandemic allowing it to cater to demand for home delivery of groceries via tie-ups with Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco’s One Stop convenience store chain, covering about 6,000 grocery stores across the UK and Ireland. It also delivers for Majestic Wine and Lloyds Pharmacy.

The desire for fast-track delivery in the UK has spurred the growth of specialist players including Getir, Gorillas and GoPuff which have raised hundreds of millions to expand their respective network of bikes and mopeds to deliver groceries in less than 15 minutes.

However Kunaal Shah, retail analyst at leading data and analytics company GlobalData, warned that WHSmith must improve its online proposition by offering more than rapid delivery with its results for the 20 weeks to January 15, 2022, showing the retailer’s High Street revenue remained unchanged from 2020, which itself was only 87% of 2019 levels.

Kunaal said: “While WHSmith’s trial with Deliveroo will ensure its products are more accessible, whether there is real demand for stationery and books through rapid-delivery services remains to be seen.

“While a rapid-delivery partnership will allow WHSmith to differentiate its online proposition from Waterstones, it should be focused on making its entire online store more convenient and easier to use. A good start would be launching a transactional mobile app, as well as a loyalty scheme that rewards consumers the more they shop with WH Smith.”

Top: Fast service – Deliveroo riders coming to a WHSmith near you

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