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PublixDirect to Test Delivery in Florida

PublixDirect, the online order and delivery unit created by Publix, plans to start service next month in Florida and plans a launch in north metro Atlanta next spring, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Tom O'Connor, president of PublixDirect, headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., told the AJC he thinks the business will make money but won't reveal how soon the company expects that to happen.

PublixDirect plans to charge $7.95 on all orders with a minimum order of $50 for delivery in a 90-minute window. The online Webstore prices will be the same as in-store. At first, PublixDirect planned to offer both home delivery and store pick-up, but O'Connor says the company will start with home delivery only. He says market research indicated 17 to 20 percent of potential customers view at-store pickup as an option.

"Our strategy is to satisfy the other 80 percent that would want home delivery," he says.

PublixDirect, now with 45 workers at company headquarters, is keeping its costs low and operating the online unit as if another store. O'Connor says the chain is starting out small, with a warehouse less than one-third the size of Webvan's.
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