RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (FNS) -- Pao de Acucar, Brazil's second-largest supermarket chain, is one of the latest retailers worldwide to launch a home shopping and delivery service.
Beginning this month, the chain's customers in suburban Sao Paulo can choose from among 2,000 items, excluding perishables, and place orders by fax or telephone. Next month shoppers will be able to use personal computers to order groceries and arrange same-day or next-day delivery.
The PC shopping component will feature compact-disc read-only-memory interactive technology that allows shoppers to view the interior of a store and select items by pointing and clicking with a mouse. A running order total appears at the bottom of the screen.
The 220-store chain has invested $500,000 in the program thus far for product-ordering software development, the purchase of eight delivery vans and the setup of order-assembly operations.
A return on investment is expected to come from increased sales and a broadened customer base, the company said.
"While the new telephone, fax and computer shopper delivery services won't, for the time being, have an expressive effect on our annual sales, we hope they will bring in new customers," said Joao Paulo Diniz, Pao de Acucar group's director of development.
By year-end, the chain plans to expand the program to a second Sao Paulo suburb, making the service available to a half-million residents.
"By the year 2000," Diniz added, "all residents living near any of Pao de Acucar's stores nationwide will be able to order by phone, fax or computer."
Pao de Acucar is the second chain to offer home shopping service in Brazil. Earlier this summer the 15-store Se chain began accepting telephone and faxed orders; delivery is provided by a third-party firm.