UK supermarkets are racing to increase capacity as the demand for home delivery services soars amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All UK supermarkets are prioritising home delivery slots for those who are vulnerable, elderly, disabled or self-isolating. Many have introduced special in-store shopping hours dedicated to key workers.
The surge in demand following the coronavirus outbreak in the UK had forced grocers to restrict supermarket delivery slots, but they have now increased capacity.
But where do you stand the best chance of successfully placing a home delivery order? We look at each supermarket’s delivery policy.
Asda is among the UK supermarkets to launch a Volunteer Shopping Card. This is to make it easier for people to shop for those who are self-isolating, older or medically vulnerable.
Delivery slots are being prioritised for the most vulnerable. Asda has emailed those customers in England to offer them first access.
The grocer said it is working on similar programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The supermarket has increased its capacity to 700,000 slots per week, up from 450,000.
“[We] would continue to urge customers who are able to visit shops to think of how they can support others in their community and if they can shop for them – allowing us to maximise our online capacity for those who need it most,” a spokesperson said.
Asda has also recently announced that it has launched a free prescription delivery service across all of its 255 pharmacies to help get vital medication to its customers who are currently self-isolating, or less able to get into stores.
Asda has also announced a new foodbox which allows consumers to purchase a £30 box for family and friends, with two day delivery. The box includes hard to find items like bread, pasta, long-life milk and tinned food.
Morrisons has doubled its delivery slots during the coronavirus outbreak, and has introduced a click and collect service at 280 of its stores.
The supermarkets has also doubled its business with Amazon’s Prime delivery service and is selling pre-prepared food boxes.
Morrisons has launched a telesales option for elderly and vulnerable people to secure home delivery slots, to cater for those who have not used an online delivery service before.
Morrisons said customers will be able to place orders over the phone, and the home delivery will be made the next day from a local store.
Customers ordering on the phone will be able to choose products from a list of 47 essential items and pay by card on delivery.
Chief executive David Potts said: “This new telephone service will ensure that more people who can’t leave their home to go shopping will be able to get a delivery.”
Potts said Morrisons had taken on an additional 25,000 staff to help with in-store demand and cover higher than usual absences.
Like other supermarkets, Sainsbury’s is prioritising deliveries for elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. The grocer is aiming to increase its capacity to 600,000 supermarket delivery and click and collect slots.
Sainsbury’s said it had received a list of the most vulnerable people from the government and was in the process of contacting 150,000 of those it had identified as Sainsbury’s customers.
The supermarket said that it is still prioritising vulnerable customers, but it has secured capacity to offer some slots to other shoppers.
It has also launched a telephone ordering service for vulnerable shoppers that have been unable to place an order online.
Delivery slots are temporarily limited to one per customer within a seven day period.
Sainsbury’s said it has extended its opening hours to reduce queuing times, with most stores now open between 8am and 10pm. Convenience store opening hours have also been extended to 10pm or 11pm.
The grocer recommended that customers visit stores throughout the day to avoid queues in the morning.
Sainsbury’s previously announced it will trial a bike delivery system from closed convenience stores in London. It has now expanded the Chop Chop service to 20 cities across the UK to extend grocery home delivery.
It comes after it launched from its Blackfriars convenience store. Shoppers can order home delivery for up to 20 essential items at a time via the Chop Chop app.
Tesco has doubled the number of its delivery slots to a million, and has recruited an extra 12,000 new staff to pick and prepare the orders. The grocer has also hired 4,000 new delivery drivers.
Like other grocers, Tesco has already identified and contacted 75,000 vulnerable customers from a list of provided by the government.
Tesco is releasing slots for home delivery online when they become available but the demand is still high. Shoppers who are able to have been urged to shop in stores or make use of the click and collect service, so slots can be prioritised for more vulnerable customers.
Click and collect deliveries can be ordered up to three weeks in advance, and can be held for two hours.
Priority slots are given to vulnerable customers and have an eight-hour delivery window from 10am to 6pm and 2pm to 10pm.
The supermarket has introduced a limit of 85 items per online order but is removing purchase limits on most products.
Some items including toilet roll, alcohol, pasta and hand sanitiser are still subject to restrictions until Tesco has fully stocked up on those products.
Online supermarket Ocado increased the number of delivery slots available. The previous limits on the number of items on sale, put in place to stop customers from panic buying, have since been rolled back.
Ocado has eliminated bottled water from orders which it says has allowed delivery to an additional 6,000 households.
It had previously been forced to suspend the entire service briefly, and temporarily pulled its app due to the spike in orders.
However, the supermarket said today that existing customers without priority access will have an opportunity to book a home delivery slot over the next few days.
In total, 16,000 supermarket delivery slots will be available to book from 6pm tonight for delivery on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week.