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Coles tries 30 minute home delivery with Deliveroo partnership

Coles has added another twist to its experiments with online delivery, teaming up with the bicycle-based service Deliveroo to offer 30-minute home deliveries on groceries. 

Deliveroo, which mostly delivers food from restaurants, has been offering "food packs" such as a selection of barbecue items or entertainment snacks for delivery to customers in Melbourne's inner-east since early this year. 

The partnership upped the ante last month and is now offering a range of basic groceries for home delivery, including milk, bread, cheese, spreads and fruit and vegetables, plus a range of "meal packs" that include ingredients to make dishes such as pork noodle soup and risotto.

Coles has started promoting the offer to customers, advertising home delivery within 30 minute on those products through Deliveroo's network, which is made up of contractors mostly using bicycles or scooters. 

​Deliveroo is the second "share economy" service Coles has teamed up with as it tries to improve its online and home delivery offering ahead of digital retail giant Amazon's arrival in Australia some time next year. 

The supermarket last month started a short trial with Silicon Valley giant Uber, in which the "ride-sharing" company's network of drivers completed same-day deliveries for items that were left out or needed to be replaced from orders Coles' own trucks delivered. The Uber trial was run out of Coles' online-only "dark store" in Richmond South.    

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A Deliveroo spokeswoman said the service was only available to customers living within about three kilometres of Coles' Richmond store, but that "based on the success of the partnership, we're wanting to roll it out further". A Coles spokesman declined to comment. 

Retail consultant Steven Kulmar, founder of Retail Oasis, said Coles and Woolworths were both improving their online offering and deliveries with an eye on Amazon, which is due to open a full retail service in Australia some time next year. 

It is not clear exactly what Amazon's local offering will be, but it could include its grocery service Amazon Fresh, which in the United States offers customers same-day grocery deliveries. 

Mr Kulmar said delivery models like Uber and Deliveroo were attractive because consumers were moving towards smaller, more frequent shops. 

"Customers are more interested in fresh - they're interested in tonight's meal and tomorrow night's meal, not meals for the next fortnight," he said.  

Larger items were better suited to a click and collect "drive through" model, which had been "incredibly successful" for Amazon Fresh and which Woolworths was trying to emulate, Mr Kulmar said.  

Amazon has signalled its intention to become a bigger player in the supermarket space with its $18 billion aquisition of Whole Foods.