UK supermarkets are racing to increase capacity as the demand for home delivery services soars amid the pandemic
All UK supermarkets are prioritizing home delivery slots for those who are vulnerable, mainly the elderly, disabled, immunocompromised and self-isolating. Many of them have also introduced special in-store shopping hours dedicated to essential workers.
Home delivery services are set to increase by hundreds of thousands in the coming weeks, meaning shoppers will have an easier time securing an online food order.
The surge in demand following the outbreak in the UK has forced grocers to restrict supermarket delivery slots. Limits on the number of items customers can buy have also been introduced to ensure stocks are available for everyone
Here are some supermarkets that offer delivery services
Asda is among the UK supermarkets to launch a Volunteer Shopping Card. The card makes it easier for people to shop for those who are self-isolating, older or medically vulnerable.
Delivery slots are being prioritized 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.
Morrisons is currently operating a queuing system on its website to access its online shopping service. However, it warned that it has no available home delivery slots due to the surge in demand.
“We are doing everything we can to increase the number of delivery slots and capacity we can accommodate,” the supermarket has said.
Like other supermarkets, Sainsbury’s is prioritising deliveries for elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. Over the past two weeks, it has booked more than 320,000 deliveries for people in this group.
The grocer is aiming to increase its capacity to 600,000 supermarket delivery and click and collect slots by the end of next week.
Last week, Sainsbury’s announced it is trialing a bike delivery system from closed convenience stores in London.
The Chop Chop service is available for customers living within 3km of the Blackfriar’s local store. Shoppers can order home delivery for up to 20 essential items at a time.
Sainsbury’s could roll the service out to other cities if it proves popular with locals.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We know there’s still work to do, and we’ve recognised the need for the government to help us prioritise the most vulnerable. That’s why going forward, they will identify customers who they consider the most vulnerable, and we’ll give those people priority access to home delivery slots.”
Tesco has already identified and contacted 75,000 vulnerable customers from a list provided by the government. These vulnerable groups will have priority access to and can book a supermarket delivery from 6 April.
The supermarket has increased its home delivery and click and collect capacity to around 805,000 slots. That compares to 660,000 two weeks ago.
Tesco said it has plans to add hundreds of thousands of slots in the coming weeks.
However, it has asked shoppers who can visit its stores to do so. That will allow it to keep home delivery slots free for the vulnerable.
Online supermarket Ocado has closed to new customers following an unprecedented surge in demand.
The company is prioritizing customers that have been identified as vulnerable. Existing customers who do not fall into that category could find it difficult to get a home delivery slot.
The company advises individuals who are shopping online to book a delivery slot before filling up your basket to ensure there is availability in their area, and to complete their order in one session as slots and services are limited