AFTER being on the internet for only a few months, the Wooldale Co-op Society's expat-shopping site has proved a big success.
The service, which provides all the British essentials from marmalade to steak and kidney pie, has been named the second most used site in its market ? only behind the historic London store Fortnum & Mason.
Wooldale launched the site initially as a member benefit, so those who moved abroad could still get their Co-op own-branded goods.
Started in December 2004, it soon shot up the internet rankings according to Alexa.com. It attracts1,500 unique visitors a month, and that has rising by around 30 per cent each month since it's launch.
Fergie Cowan, Chief Executive of the society, said: "Expat Shopping Co-op has a current `reach` of 9.5 per million internet users and while that may seem small, when one considers the millions of websites there are worldwide, it is a significant achievement in a short space of time in a relatively small market.
"The site now, has well over 140 account holders with new accounts opened at the rate of about one a day."
Mr Cowan added that since the launch, the society has delivered pasta to Italy, supplied a European British Embassy and sent Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney Pies to a customer in the USA, which cost them almost £ 5 each with shipping charges.
A husband in Austarlia was so desparate to get some 150g Twiglets in time for his wifes birthday, that he ended up paying over £ 3 a packet for them. There are few major countries in the world that the service has not delivered to.
Mr Cowan told the News: "All this has been achieved by perseverance and without spending a penny on internet advertising. The long-term future of the site is considered to be promising and Wooldale is extremely proud to have launched an absolutely `unique` service to Brits abroad."
The society has also received several wholesale enquiries from international parties. If your society would like to help support the site and help grow the Co-op brand across the world by creating a website link to www.expatshopping.coop then contact Mr Cowan at the society on 01484 690720.
Wooldale will also be launching www.wooldalewines.coop in the next few weeks. This service will offer home delivery of the Co-op's established wine range.