Sainsbury’s simplifies digital presence as it shuts down non-food website

Sainsbury’s is shutting down its standalone non-food website and moving its general merchandise produce onto its grocery platform as it aims to simplify its digital presence and make shopping online more similar to the experience customers have in-store.

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From November, customers will be able to buy household items such as kettles, toys and bed linen alongside their main grocery shop. Currently the two run on different platforms requiring a separate order, transaction and delivery.

Sainsbury’s is the first of the major supermarkets to move its food and general merchandise onto the same platform. Tesco currently runs two separate websites for groceries and non-food, as does Asda. Morrisons only sells food on its website.

Sainsbury’s says the move will give customers “better access to everyday items”. It will also move general merchandise sales onto the newly upgraded grocery website.

Sainsbury’s says the decision to move to one website is in response to consumer feedback that shows they expect to be able to buy the same products online as they do in store. The non-food offer will focus on products that best complement the grocery online business, such as dinnerware, stationery, kitchenware and bed linen.

Larger products, including furniture and larger electrical goods, will no longer be available to purchase online.

Sainsbury’s online director Robbie Feather says: “Customers told us that they expect to buy the same products online as they do in our stores, so we will soon include a larger range of popular everyday items on the groceries platform. We are focused on developing the customer journey online and ensuring that we give customers the best possible access to the products they love.”

However, Sainsbury’s still plans to launch a separate clothing website for its Tu range that will allow customers to choose between click and collect and home delivery services. The new site is being piloted among a small number of customers in the East Midlands before a wider roll-out.

Sainsbury’s will also maintain its separate digital entertainment site where shoppers can download and stream music. It will also be adding e-books to the website having just bought the 36 per cent of e-book platform Anobii that it didn’t already own from publishers PRH and HarperCollins.

Sainsbury’s says the move will give it “full control” of the Sainsbury’s Entertainment digital offer. The supermarket plans to offer an “enhanced” experience across film, music and books that rivals Tesco’s Blinkbox.

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