COVID-19: Supermarkets still struggling with demand for home deliveries

Commercial Motor
April 16, 2020

Major supermarket home delivery fleets are still struggling to meet demand despite the government's desire for most of the population to order groceries online. Stores have been matching government databases of the vulnerable against their postcode regions and contacting customers directly but many customers are still finding that it is not possible to book an online delivery from any of the major supermarkets.

Both Tesco and Sainsbury have suspended their subscription delivery service for new customers, and are asking anyone who can to shop in-store. A spokesman for home delivery specialist Ocado said: “Demand continues to be several times our current capacity and no matter how hard we work, we simply cannot meet it all. As a result, we aren’t able to offer regular deliveries to all of our customers at the moment.” The company has issued priority emails to those on the government’s shield list and to its longest-standing customers. Anyone not on its priority list will not be able to access its website until unused next-day slots are released at 6pm each day.

Attempts by supermarkets to meet demand has seen Tesco increase its home delivery capacity by 20%. This has taken its weekly slots from 660,000 a week to 805,000. It is also adding nearly 200 new vans to the fleet and has recruited another 2,500 drivers and over 5,000 pickers.

Sainsbury vowed last week to increase its 450,000 priority slots by a further 150,000. It is piloting a service with bike courier firm Chop Chop, turning a convenience store in Blackfriars, London, ‘dark’ to meet customer demand. The store said if the trial is successful it will roll the model out across other urban convenience stores.

 

Words by Louise Cole

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Commercial Motor

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