As you will be aware, the Prime Minister addressed the nation last night, to announce some important and necessary measures in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We currently have around 10 times more demand for our services now than we did before the outbreak began, and with every announcement, we see a further extraordinary surge of customers to ocado.com. No matter how hard we work, we will not have enough capacity to serve the unprecedented levels of demand.
As I’m sure you will have seen, we took the call to not take any new orders for two days last week, which was an exceptionally difficult decision to make. This didn’t mean we closed for business. Quite the opposite: all delivery slots during this period were sold out, and our colleagues worked tirelessly to deliver groceries to over 80,000 homes. It also gave us the opportunity to make some important changes to the website, changes like freeing up more slots so more customers can get the delivery they need.
The good news is that the site has been up and running again since Saturday. The virtual queue is still there (this is vital to control the flow to ocado.com and keep the site operating smoothly) but, with patience, existing customers can continue to shop with us and edit orders.
When we can confirm the availability of personal shoppers and drivers, we will release new delivery slots. These new slots will be released every day for the coming week, as and when we have capacity.
These are some of the other important changes we’ve made to make it fairer for all:
- Customers can only book one delivery slot every seven days, freeing up more slots for customers.
- We’re making sure there’s enough for everyone by working closely with suppliers to constantly restock, so all customers get what they’ve ordered each time they shop. To help with fair distribution, some products are limited to one or two per order.
- We’ve reviewed our range to make sure we have everything you need, but have decided to take out a small number of bulky items which reduce the number of orders we can carry in our vans.
We know you are worried about your families, and we are doing our utmost to serve as many UK homes as we can. We are already delivering groceries to many elderly and vulnerable individuals, who have long formed a substantial proportion of our customer base. Our support teams and drivers are working tirelessly to identify and support our most vulnerable customers and to make changes to our service so that we can prioritise their immediate needs.
We’re also making suggestions to customers to help us all across the wider community:
- Sharing: If you know someone who can’t get to the shops, consider adding a few items for them to your order;
- Caring: Shop considerately by only buying what you need. There’s enough for everyone if we all stick to buying what we usually buy.
- Giving: Did you know you can donate food to those in need through Ocado? Just add a You Give We Give voucher to your shop and we will match your donation so our food bank partners get double the value of fresh groceries – an important essential for everyone at the moment.
We will, of course, continue to follow all the latest advice from the Government and the World Health Organisation while the situation develops.
Finally, I would like to thank our incredible team of drivers and personal shoppers in our warehouses. They have been working around the clock to deliver to as many families as possible.
Thank you all for your continued understanding and patience.
Ocado Retail Ltd