An update from our CEO

Dear Customer, 

I’m very sorry our service isn’t running as smoothly as you’re used to at the moment. Like all supermarkets, we are working round the clock to keep up with high demand and make sure everyone gets what they need. We may not always get it perfectly right but we are trying our best. Thank you for bearing with us. 

I’d also like to take this chance to thank our amazing drivers and warehouse staff who are working tirelessly to deliver groceries to as many people as possible in these uncertain times. Their dedication and hard work is truly amazing. 

Naturally, the safety and wellbeing of everyone connected to Ocado remains our priority. We will continue to follow the latest advice from the Government and the World Health Organisation while the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues. 

These are some of the changes we we’ve put in place so far:

Receiving a delivery. Your driver will knock and greet you as normal, but they will then place the bags on your doorstep. They will no longer be carrying them into your home or handing them to you directly. Also, please do not hand any used bags back, they will not be able to take them. 

Placing an order in advance. Delivery slots are selling a lot faster than usual, so we suggest booking one or more ahead of time to avoid disappointment. We are releasing further delivery slots as soon as they become available. Don’t forget, slots are bookable up to three weeks in advance.

We’ve turned off the app. Due to performance issues driven by continued high demand, we have decided to keep our app offline for the time being. In the meantime, please shop on our website instead.

Managing the flow to the website. We have also launched a new queueing system on the website to manage the increased demand. This will help us to give you the best shopping experience possible under the current circumstances. If you see a page saying you’re in a virtual queue just sit tight, don’t close or refresh the page or you’ll lose your place. 

There’s enough for everyone. We continue to see high demand for certain products as customers are choosing to stock up. To help with fair distribution, we’ve temporarily limited some products to one or two items per order. We are working closely with suppliers to restock products regularly so all customers get what they’ve ordered each time they shop. 

Those are just some of the changes we’ve put in place to help manage in these extraordinary times, and it’s important to remember that we’re in this together. 

To quote this week’s joint announcement from all of us supermarkets together, “we would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together”

Here are a few ways you can make a big difference at the moment:

  • Only buy what you need, there’s enough for everyone. That will help us to make sure everybody gets what they need. 
  • Share deliveries with neighbours if you can. The continued high demand means delivery slots are selling out very fast, so sharing a delivery could be helpful. Also remember to look out for vulnerable people you may be able to help. 
  • Try not to make last-minute edits to your order. Even better, place your order in one go and only make edits if you must.
  • Make sure you’re at home when your delivery is due. This may seem like an obvious one, but if you’re not there to receive your order it’s unlikely we’ll be able to redeliver and the fresh food will go to waste. Frozen food may get wasted too.  
  • Follow the guidelines carefully. If you’re in self isolation, it is essential that you notify us in your driver notes as you check out your order. We ask you to remain inside your home when your shopping arrives. Your driver will leave the shopping bags on your doorstep.

We’ve collated all important messages and info onto one page. If you want to know more about particular changes, head to our Coronavirus information and updates page. 

Finally, I’d like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this incredibly busy time.

Mel, CEO and all the Ocado Retail family

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and updates

257 thoughts on “An update from our CEO

  1. I am at high risk of contracting Coronavirus due to three critical illness. I have Socially distanced myself, as guided, and as a regular customer of Ocardo I was hoping to order everything online for home delivery.

    Hearing the Ocardo have closed the online home shopping, I now find myself in the position where I must go to the supermarkets and mix with other people. When will I be able to order my shopping for delivery.

    Kevin Bradley

    • Kevin, they have not closed it if you are an existing customer. Otherwise write to – they are kind and will hopefully help you. They have done such an amazing job to help the country. If you are all reading this, THANK YOU! 🙂


      • I couldn’t agree more with all the comments on this forum. We are in a similar position to many, at risk and self isolating. I am meant to have a weekly slot. To be reassured that I have a fortnightly one would be wonderful. I have an order in my basket – I think, but can’t pay for it even after waiting endless hours for that crazy green van to let me in. The system tells me I have a slot for April 3rd, but do I?
        I pay for the smart pass thing, nothing smart about it.
        Then today we receive another meaningless email from our friend Melanie, which actually gives no relevant practical information at all.
        At some point I am going to have to go out shopping, and I know that if I catch Covid19 it will probably kill me.
        Your staff are wonderful, but the system with all its robots isn’t quite as clever as the PR machine would have had us believe.

    • I totally understand the extreme situations that Ocado is under. What I can’t understand is I need to edit my order which is to be delivered on Saturday, and I have been on the virtual queue since 7.00am this morning and I have been in position 3204 for at least 4 hours with the number behind me is now 32,777 and going up, how come I haven’t moved up the queue.

    • Hi. So are we! Keep safe. I had given up on Ocado, and I don’t know why I did it, but I just logged onto the site and GOT STRAIGHT ON and a delivery slot for tomorrow 👏👏👏👏. No green van virtual queue.
      So maybe they are getting their act together. Who knows. Just keep on trying and you may get very lucky like me. I’m in the West Sussex area.

  2. Well, finally made it and there are no delivery slots available. It will only show the next 3 days, so unclear whether everything is booked for weeks or if the slots for three days from now haven’t yet been released. Why not close the virtual queue if that’s the case rather than have customers waste hours of their lives fruitlessly? Pun semi-intended. We’re longstanding smartpass customers and your delivery people have been stars, but assuming we all survive this mess, I’ll be changing my online grocery provider.

  3. I have just been informed that Ocado Reserved slots are suspended which means I cannot get food to my mother this week. I had sent an email to Ocado warning them that their service and delivery was essential to my elderly and in poor health mother who cannot go out to shop. I live too far away to deliver anything to her and I am now scrambling to try and find someone to help.

  4. I keep waiting in the virtual q and make progress for a bit and then I get sent back to the start. I have a delivery booked and I want to edit, how am i supposed to do this if I keep being put back to the start? Incredibly frustrating! I realise the demand is unbelievably high, but you have had over 2 weeks to get this sorted. Please can you sort out the website!

  5. I joined the queue at about 6.30am this morning. But I am now stuck at position 1630 in the queue, and have been for about an hour. Is there a way to resolve this?

  6. The queuing system is rubbish. I’ve twice found myself chucked off & gone from being around No 2000 & 5000 , edging closer & then suddenly I’m No 23,000!!! How does this work??
    Also got to the front a few nights ago & the site wasn’t working.. nothing went in the basket.
    I agree with the other comment, please can Melanie save her empty words.

    • I also waited 4 hours only to go from number 4325 in the queue to 14752! As a regular customer in an at risk group I thought there would be some kind of support system. Don’t know what to do, I do appreciate the pressure they are under, but I am disabled and can’t get out and also wanted to order for housebound 90 year old mother. It’s very frightening as there is no support from anyone in this area.

  7. I am very sorry that our reserved feature has now had to be removed.

    This is due to the amount of web traffic on the site that has been causing problems so we have and to strip away some features to enable a more stable platform for everyone so unfortunately you will have to book your slots manually.

    I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Kind regards,

    Steffan Avey
    Ocado Customer Service Team

    Hi Peter, Well the above is an email reply that I finally received yesterday, as I was confused as to why my reserved slot after the 3rd April was not showing. But I, as many others are finding out, trying to get a slot manually at the moment is unlikely. By doing this, they are in my humble opinion, not only letting down their loyal Smart Pass customers, they are also creating more web traffic to the site as people try to get slots. There seems to have been no general announcement that this has been done, it seems that people are just finding out when they eventually log onto the website.

    • Yes I agree. No chance of getting a slot even if you manage to get onto the website. So what now?

    • I totally agree with you. By suspended the reserved slots they are driving more traffic to the site. I tried to book a slot even in the future and it is impossible and they do not tell you when the slots become available to book so you have to spend your time checking the site all the time. I am not sure they have thought this through properly. I did manage to get through but could not book anything so it was pointless.

      • Hi Melanie, yup, I cannot believe they have got it so badly wrong and that they haven’t informed customers, we seem to just be finding out as we go along ! In other news, I just went for a walk (2 metres apart) with my friend and a mutual friend of ours had just spoken to her about Ocado, said she was going to try to get a delivery as she had just been sent an email with a £30 off voucher ! (she did 1 shop 2 years ago!) – doubt she will get a slot, but I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry ! seems that they are still managing to do some marketing eh? perhaps their marketing department would be better used to communicate with existing customers and sorting out this mess, which in my humble opinion will bite them on the bum when this mess is over ! For me it is just like a shop now charging £5 for paracetamol – I would never use that shop again, ever ! they need to sort this out and quickly – but I am not holding my breath !

    • I have paid for Smart Pass twice and it is still not showing on my account. This is in addition to queuing for a total of about 12 hours in the past week or so. I have made it to the top and added into my basket an order of food which is predominantly for my elderly parents. But alas, still no idea how to get slots – only 3 days showing – OCADO, PLEASE TELL US WHAT IS HAPPENING AND PLEASE REFUND MY TWO PAYMENTS!

  8. I’m yet another longstanding customer who usually has Ocado Reserved. I totally get that you are overwhelmed with orders, but why is my regular order stood down to allow someone else to grab it instead, leaving me unable to get any other order time? No logic to that and I, like most of your other regular customers, will be going elsewhere I suspect when all this is over. I’m not wishing to be unreasonable – as someone else has said a regular fortnightly order for now would be much appreciated.

  9. I am have health condition that stop me going to the shop, how can I place an order as I just can’t get on the website,

  10. I just want one delivery slot, just one little old delivery that I pay for. So far I’ve the one I booked before this madness and then nothing. I emailed to ask what was happening for people paying the smart pass and actually not getting what they have paid for and I’m still waiting for a response. That was Saturday. I’d cancel but I can’t get though on the telephone to do so, it’s almost comical 😂 Old Melanie has said we can only book one a week, fab, so why does the slots only allow you three days? The driver I spoke to what now seems weeks ago, also thinks it’s ridiculous. He couldn’t book a slot either!! Come back Sainsbury’s, all is forgiven.

  11. If Ocado caused this problem themselves by letting new customers register when they couldn’t service them, by not having an IT contingency plan in place for a rush on the website and by deliberately not restricting the service to loyal customers as they do at Christmas then this is just the most outstanding example of either gross incompetence or outright commercial greed of any company so far in this crisis. If they don’t get their act together soon their reputation will be forever based on this shambles.

  12. Will smart pass payments be refunded?
    Will we be informed if our Reserved slots are not going to go ahead?
    More visibility and honesty would be welcomed. If you can’t manage it, just say so – we need to make plans!

    • It is official that reserved slots are no longer operating. One contributor on here has had the confirmation, but not everyone. Just have to join the never-ending virtual queue.

  13. I’m in a queue on the ocado site; have been sent back to the beginning by clicking refresh by mistake. Id like to log out as I can see that the queue/ website isn’t working but cant see how to do this. Help?!

  14. After you get through the virtual queue and get online what then happens if cannot get a delivery spot? Does that mean you loose it all ad have to keep queuing all the time to get a delivery slot! I’m just confused how it works once finally get on 😞

  15. I am double-disabled as I am registered blind and have mobility problems. I have spent a great deal of money on a regular basis but have been totally let-down by a company that is pitched as highly tech competent. Phone is a message. There has been no effort made to identify vulnerable customers. I will have to break self-isolation or go hungry. People will remember all this in times to come.

  16. Ocado need to change their approach asap. The current queuing system isn’t working at all and is just annoying customers. The traditional supermarkets at least allow you to browse and add items to your basket, ready for whenever a slot becomes available. Using a little patience, I’ve successfully ordered from both Tesco and Asda. Can’t get anywhere with Ocado.

    You’ve only got to look at the way the share price has tanked since last week to realise that confidence in the company has been seriously eroded.

    • Why are you ordering from all the supermarkets? Perhaps it is people like you who is stockpiling and causing the problems

      • Disabled people cannot get out and elderly are isolated, many without support. Have a little heart!

  17. Doesn’t it seem likely that there will be a lot of Russian bots in the queues? The bot/troll farms see any bad situation as an opportunity to cause more trouble.

    Maybe this problem could be reduced by identifying the customer before putting them in the queue.

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