Waitrose is expecting growth of 30% year on year in its ecommerce division as it prepares to relaunch its website and take on Ocado inside the M25.
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The grocer will relaunch its website in the second week of March, investing more than £10m to enhance its existing offer. This week Waitrose began emailing customers to explain the changes to the website.
The grocer’s online food operation - which will rebrand from Waitrose Deliver to Waitrose.com - has started to deliver within the M25 and will be fully rolled out in July. It was previously banned from delivering in the area due to a clause with its deal with Ocado.
Waitrose director of ecommerce Robin Phillips said: “The key to the launch is to make the site cleaner and easier to navigate and enhance the multichannel experience.”
He said the site has been designed to give customers the same high standard of service as they would receive in stores. It will also aim to offer a consistent shopping experience across all Waitrose online channels - click-and-collect, wine, flowers, gift ordering, HomeDirect and Waitrose Entertaining.
The move will put pressure on Ocado, which also delivers Waitrose products. Waitrose, which offers free delivery for orders over £50, will roll out within the M25 based on its store footprint. Ocado has said previously that there is room for both Ocado and Waitrose.
Phillips said the new website will offer several “personal touches” to replicate store service levels. This will include picking specific numbers of items rather than a pack size, or requesting extra thick slices of ham or more green bananas.
“Anything from our service counters can be tailored to the customers’ needs,” he said.
Waitrose will also add more delivery slots for peak times, and delivery drivers will carry shopping right to the kitchen, which is one of Ocado’s trademarks.
Phillips said the website will continue to be developed and will add further offers such as ratings and reviews. It will also launch a transactional mobile app later this year.