UK retailer Waitrose says its online arm for the frist time has processed more than 150,000 orders in one week. That is more than double the amount of weekly orders it filled at the beginning of 2020.
Because of the robust increase, Waitrose is adding 150 new delivery vans to its fleet, which will enable it to offer further increases in delivery slots to customers over the coming weeks.
"The expansion plans we had in place for Waitrose.com have allowed us to respond as best we can to the huge surge in demand in recent months - especially from vulnerable groups who need home delivery services," says Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson. "We're seeing a fundamental shift to many people's shopping habits, and we're incredibly proud of how our shops have scaled up our online operations at such speed."
Since the start of the year, Waitrose has been scaling up its online operation, increasing the amount of weekly slots it can offer to customers as well as covering more of the country. The company is in the process of turning 24 of its shops into delivery hubs, with three going live within the past week.
Nearly 90% of active UK postcodes can now order from Waitrose.com. There are 173 Waitrose shops that deliver Waitrose.com orders (including the three being added this week), and 26 of these are now delivering more than 1,000 orders each week.
Two Customer Fulfilment Centres in Coulsdon and Enfield support the additional demand in London - the latter of which opened on 7th May.
While Waitrose.com is expanding rapidly, demand for online slots is still outstripping supply, and Waitrose has been working to prioritise vulnerable customers who need deliveries the most, including those on the government lists of clinically vulnerable people. The Waitrose Rapid service has recently trebled its deliveries to 7,000 per week, with at least 40% of the slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.
The new vans are quieter and more efficient than previous models used by the retailer, and offer 19% more delivery capacity.