ramilevy - Daniel Bar-On - November 23 2010
Rami Levy Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Discount grocery chain Rami Levy Shivuk Hashikma is launching its brand-new retail website next week, featuring largely the same prices as shopping in person.

Specifically, 92% of the products will have identical prices to the real-world store, and 8% will depend on local competition, says founder Rami Levy.

The chain will be starting its online venture with a pilot run among 3,000 customers in the Ramat Gan area. Within three months, service will be provided nationwide, Levy says. "Our prices will be much cheaper than the competition. Anybody buying through us will save tens of percent on each purchase. It doesn't matter if the delivery costs a few shekels more than the competition charges," he said yesterday.

Delivery will cost between NIS 25 to NIS 29, Levy says. Super-Sol charges NIS 28, but waives the fee if the purchase is greater than NIS 750. Blue Square charges NIS 19 but has a minimum order of NIS 50.

The Rami Levy chain made headlines back in 2009, when its Nesher outlet triggered the "chicken wars" - featuring fresh chickens for a shekel or less. A survey done in May found that that 50% of respondents would shop at a Rami Levy website granted the prices were low enough.

Levy adds that the range of products available online will be identical to the stores. Clients will get the goods when delivery is made to their area.

Grocery shopping online isn't common yet. Industry observers estimate that only 1% of Israeli households did their shopping via Internet at the start of 2010. Levy is optimistic, though. "I think that in 10 years, 20% to 25% of food sales will be via the Internet," he said. "We will be the first to provide hard-discounts on Internet too. It will expand our customer base."

The service is ideal for would-be clients of the chain who can't reach its stores because they don't have time, or have some practical impediment, he said, adding that quality and service will be the critical points: If people get both, they will return.

Blue Square says that since it launched Mega on Internet a year ago, its online sales have reached NIS 70 million, the chain said.