Ihug unveils nationwide e-commerce plan

Ihug has unveiled its e-commerce play - a nationwide online ordering and delivery service called e-mmediate.

Ihug has unveiled its e-commerce play - a nationwide online ordering and delivery service called e-mmediate.

The service is based on software developed over the past year by Ihug and will operate as a joint venture between Ihug and the owner of The Source video rental chain, Dave Fermah.

It will launch with a trial based around delivering videos, DVDs, games, CDs and snacks from The Source's stores in Ponsonby and the North Shore. But Ihug managing director Nick Wood says the company will eventually roll out a nationwide ordering one-hour delivery service that will be available to any business on a revenue sharing basis.

"It's going to be an e-commerce engine for us," says Wood. "We've had the idea for a couple of years but it's taken about a year to develop the software and so we've been beaten to the punch by a couple of people in the States.

"A good place to look is kozmo.com in the States, which is similar in that it's based around video as a starting point. They've had just a big chunk of their company bought by Amazon.com, Warners and Columbia TriStar.

"Amazon have said if you can't get your deliveries done in under an hour you're dead. So we've taken on the issue of distribution and providing a nationwide solution which has people being able to get multiple different types of products delivered to the customer inside an hour, whether at home or at work."

Wood says the company will draw on the expertise of its shareholder Tappenden Holdings - whose director Alan Gibbs has experience with Freightways and New Zealand Couriers - in building the delivery network.

"The critical thing to online selling is to make it convenient. If you just continue to discount that doesn't provide the margins for resellers. They need to be able to sell their products at a normal price and have the convenience factor be the issue with online shopping."

Wood says the venture will "obviously" dovetail with the company's digital television service in future but won't comment on the ongoing role of The Source.

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