Waitrose has teamed up with Deliveroo to enable 30 minute deliveries as it parts ways with Ocado, which has apologised after some customers saw delays and cancellations of their orders.
The 12-week trial will offer 500,000 households the opportunity to have orders delivered via the Deliveroo app and website, with over 500 Waitrose products set to be available.
The service is already available from Waitrose stores in Bracknell and Clifton and will operate from Surbiton, Fitzroy Street and Notting Hill shops from tomorrow (3 September).
James Bailey, executive director for Waitrose, said: “We have laid down a marker for our future strategy with the growth of Waitrose.com and Waitrose Rapid and this gives us another opportunity to give our customers a taste of what the future of convenience shopping could look like for us.
“Our trial with Deliveroo has huge potential to give new and existing customers greater choice and flexibility for when and how they want to shop with Waitrose.”
Waitrose’s 10-year deal to sell goods through Ocado has now come to an end, with Marks & Spencer replacing it as the main supplier as of 1 September.
Waitrose has prepared for the switch by rapidly expanding its distribution capabilities with technology from automation company Today Development Partners.
It is investing £100 million in its online offering, opening two new distribution centres this year in the London area. It now offers over 160,000 weekly slots, compared to 60,000 before the pandemic, with the goal to increase this to 250,000.
Working with Deliveroo adds another string to the retailer’s bow, as the courier app has made rapid progress in offering convenience or “top-up” shops.
Meanwhile, Ocado has faced negative headlines as the supplier change-over was dogged by reports of customers complaining on social media that their orders had been delayed or cancelled.
Ocado responded to the claims, saying that only a “very small number” of orders had been affected and that delays were due to high demand for M&S products.
An Ocado spokesperson said: “The M&S launch has been incredibly popular. We have seen a surge in demand for M&S products in the run up to launch which has impacted a very small number of orders today. The vast majority of customers are unaffected and will be delivered as normal. We would like to thank our customers for giving M&S such a big welcome and sincere apologies to any customers having to wait a bit longer.”