Posted by: lucylastic | October 13, 2010

Ocado delivers Waitrose; and so do they – why?

When Ocado first announced they were going to deliver shopping on behalf of Waitrose I was very miffed to discover that their service didn’t cover Swindon.  In time, this changed and one day I received an email announcing that delivery was now available ‘in my area’ and I excitedly placed an order.  One hour delivery slots, (compared with two hours from usual supplier Tesco) was a bonus, plus the fact that I felt just a little bit ‘posher’ having an Ocado van outside as opposed to a Tesco’s one, (sad, but true).  Heaven forbid the day that anyone spots an Asda van outside………………..but I digress.

So, so far, so good.  Waitrose themselves didn’t deliver, but Ocado, who, as I understand it were part of the John Lewis partnership, did.  Ocado grew and grew and became so successful that they got floated on the stock exchange as a separate company.  Good.  In the meantime, delivery charges have increased quite considerably, (far more than the cost of fuel) and slots seem harder to come by.  Bad.

Enter Waitrose………….. We now deliver!  (They proudly say).  Free delivery for orders placed on line!  Good.  But my question is ‘why’?  Why set yourselves up as competition to something that you could have done, chose not to and is now very successful.  Apart from free delivery, (which I don’t imagine will last forever), what’s the benefit to the punter?  I can only speculate that the (surely expensive) pairing of Delia and Heston hasn’t been enough to draw shoppers back to the Waitrose stores and they are trying to make some money.  I predict this will end in tears for someone, it just remains to be seen who!

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Responses

  1. I expect there’s more to this than meets the eye….perhaps Ocado have not been meeting their targets or perhaps since being floated they’ve become too big for their boots? Waitrose is enjoying quite good growth while the bottom end of the market shrinks


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