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UK online shopping first for independent grocery store

A family-run supermarket in Dorset has just become the first independent grocery store in the UK to offer its customers a complete online weekly shopping service – with a firm focus on local food.

Joining the big four multiples, Dike & Son Superstore & Cafe in Stalbridge, North Dorset, has spent three years developing the website, which offers next day home delivery to local postcodes, as well as click & collect.

The grocery business was first started by Harold Dike in 1851, offering delivery to Stalbridge residents by horse and cart. Now run by the fifth generation of the family, the shop has refrigerated vans delivering seven days a week across the area.

The award-winning store, which moved up the road into 22,000 sq ft purpose-built premises in 2007, is now the biggest independently-owned supermarket & deli in the West Country.

The Dike family are passionate about supporting local producers and suppliers – they currently stock produce from over 130 local growers, makers and bakers – as well as employing 95 local people directly. This won recognition from the Countryside Alliance Awards in 2012, when the store was named South West Champion for Local Food in the ‘rural Oscars’.

Managing Director Andy Dike said: “We have always offered local delivery, which is a lifeline for many elderly people in this rural area. They can telephone their orders through and we will pop it round to them.

“My father William, who ran the business for over 40 years, used to hate watching Tesco delivery vans driving past the shop and swore he would one day be able to compete with online shopping.

“Sadly he passed away before his dream was realised, but myself and my mother Deirdre, who is Company Secretary, are very proud that we have the first independent shop in the country to offer a complete online shopping service to our customers.”

Dike & Son is a member of the UK’s largest buying group, Nisa, which allows the store flexibility on a very wide range of stock. It also means they are able to compete with the multiples on pricing, offering good deals on everyday branded groceries.

In keeping with the store’s passion for supporting local suppliers, the website lists over 1,000 local products, allowing customers to support their local economy while also helping smaller local producers and suppliers that don’t have their own e-commerce sites.

As an encouragement to shoppers to opt for locally sourced, a congratulatory message comes up when they have completed your shopping, telling them how many local products they have bought.

The website was developed by full service digital agency Strawberry Soup, working closely with Dike & Son Director Adam Vincent and other members of the team.

Strawberry Soup Managing Director Neil Dennis said: “We have been working closely with Dike’s for a number of years to develop their new supermarket website. Its been great to be involved with a local business and giving them a site that enables them to compete with some of the bigger names. The team at Dike’s have worked so hard to produce everything that was needed to launch the site and we wish them every success with it. We look forward to continuing working together with them and seeing the site grow.”

Adam Vincent said: “It was a massive undertaking to build a custom-made system that would integrate several independent systems, such as the tills, payment software, stock and of course the front end of the website. Not least because we had to write descriptions for around 15,000 different products and set up a photographic studio where we could photograph them all. It is a constant process updating the products and pack shots.”

As an introductory offer, customers can enjoy free delivery and click & collect when they place an order at www.dikes-direct.co.uk

To visit the online store, go to www.dikes-direct.co.uk

For more background information about Dike & Son visit http://allaboutus.dikes-direct.co.uk/

For information about the history of the firm, go to

http://allaboutus.dikes-direct.co.uk/our-history

If you would like any general store pictures please call Head of Marketing Victoria McManus on 07968 454904 or email victoriam@dikes-direct.co.uk

To book an interview with one of the directors or a visit to the store, please contact Andy Dike or Adam Vincent on 01963 362204, or call Victoria McManus on 07968 454904.