Waitrose free delivery sparks home price war

17 April 2009

http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/6304/trolly21907002194786.jpgI hate grocery shopping. And that's not only because it's been the main sort of exercise I've been getting lately, but also because no one has invented non-polythene carry bags that don't dig into your hands.  Granted, there's reusable shopping bags, but that's not necessarily everyone's cup of tea.  Ordering online would really be the most attractive option, but unfortunately, delivery charges have never previously made it an attractive option.

Until now. Waitrose decided to scrap delivery charges this week for online orders of over £50, commencing intense online battles amongst the £3 billion/year grocery home delivery market. Thanks to the publicity, Waitrose reports today having the strongest week of the year. Unfortunately, the Waitrose site was loading so slow last night that you'd feel that blood vessels over your temple pulsing angrily with frustration. Or maybe that's just because I've got a smashed up laptop screen with an unusually slow contingent of electrons.

Reader androoski comments that Waitrose price matches Tesco on many items (confirmed here), so a judicious selection of items can result in reasonable deals on some groceries while listening to your iPod in your underpants, a practice apparently frowned on in actual stores.

I must however warn you that deliveries are carried out via Ocado, with whom I have no personal experience with, but some readers over on HUKD are less than satisfied with their services. You can also read further details on Which?, while you wait for that damn Waitrose site to load. HUKD also referenced the same deal, categorized under "Misc", for unfathomable reasons. The move will likely put pressure on large rivals like Tesco. Question is, while an online delivery slash would be great for consumers (given that they logistically manage to slot in the high increase of orders), would supermarket retailers suffer?

[HotUKDeals] Deals found by vibrant and thefatcontroller (not a crime fighting duo).

9 comments

  • Ian
    Waitrose Deliver and Ocado are two completely different companies (although Waitrose does own a share in Ocado). Thus, if you order with free delivery from Waitrose.com, your order will be delivered by Waitrose themselves. [Disclaimer: I am a part-time employee in JLP.]
  • Ian
    Additionally, the tesco pricematch applies to ocado only (see http://www.ocado.com/webshop/startWebshop.do?about=true#Tesco%20Price%20Match), and not waitrose deliver (who offer free delivery over £50).
  • WBR
    I know that Waitrose and Ocado deliveries are seperate (the above is wrong) however; in defense of Ocado: I have been using them for years and have found them punctual, the orders are always accurate (often with Tesco I still had to go out and shop as they missed off half the stuff) and most importantly - the food is the delivered to you as fresh as your local Waitrose get it becuase it is sourced from the main warehouse, unlike Tesco who get the the oldest, most handled+dropped, ready to go out of date produce located at the front of the shelf from your local store. They might not be cheapest for everything but their food therefore lasts longer so less is thrown away. Have I mentioned the superior quality of the salad/meat/vegatables as well? Just remember, despite what many people on HDUK seem to think, cheapest is not always best.
  • Jackie
    Waitrose are totally awesome and this free delivery puts them within everyones reach because imho once you have experienced Waitrose you will see Tesco & Sainsburys for what they are - the poor relation. I cant think of a single reason not to shop online with thim every week and I hope the rest of the UK feels the same. Out of interest I am in Edinburgh and the delivery service has been outstanding even when I was paying £5 for it.
  • Me
    'Waitrose are totally awesome and this free delivery puts them within everyones reach because imho once you have experienced Waitrose you will see Tesco & Sainsburys for what they are - the poor relation' This is absolute truth. I won't shop anywhere else now.
  • Jill
    Wheres the price war then?
  • Clapton A.
    If you are not too fussy about getting late deliveries (like say 10pm) you can often find free delivery slots with Ocado.
  • Helene
    Not such a great deal is it, when Waitrose don't deliver nationally. We've only just started getting Ocado, which is good (but expensive). Waitrose (and John Lewis) don't see fit to service Suffolk very well. I think there are 2 Waitrose stores and both are about an hour away. As for John Lewis you can go whistle, at least an hour and a half.
  • sam m.
    Another correction is that you state that Waitrose price match Tesco. This is not always the case. We price match (not on every product....but instore barkers will tell you the the products we do price match on) the nearest supermarket so it could be Sainsburys, Morrisons etc but as I said, if you look at the barkers (shelf tickets) instore you will see what supermarket that store price matches against WR Employee

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