An update from our CEO


Dear Customer,

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 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 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.

Melanie Smith


Ocado Retail Ltd

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