Waitrose opens a six-acre buyer centre to double its on-line orders
WaitroseThe supermarket company opens (May 7th) in Enfield, North London, a six-hectare customer fulfillment center to double its online grocery orders in the capital by September.
The location creates 370 new jobs, out of 850 at full capacity. By then, 13,000 weekly delivery spaces will be added for London customers.
The center is part of a £ 100m investment in its online business to prepare Waitrose.com as the only place where customers can buy Waitrose groceries online from September this year.
Since the announcement of a national expansion campaign in February, Waitrose.com has significantly accelerated its plans to meet the extreme demand for online purchases due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Service has increased more than 50% to more than 120,000 customer orders a week. The number of hours worked by Waitrose.com orders and deliveries has also increased by more than 1,300 full-time positions in the past few weeks.
Vulnerable and older buyers have priority. 35% of orders in the last week go to buyers. Waitrose can identify as a member of this group. Although everything is being done to respond to the rapidly increasing demand for slots, the demand far exceeds the number Waitrose can reach.
The Enfield center will work with an existing center in Coulsdon that delivers grocery orders from Waitrose.com customers across the South London region, as well as a network of 14 stores in the capital that collectively serve all London postcodes. Forty shops in London have also become grocery stores in the past few weeks where customers can click and pick up orders. Across the UK, a network of 183 stores reaches more than 90% of postcodes.
Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson said: “Before the coronavirus, Waitrose.com was already experiencing a period of significant expansion with investments in our infrastructure and website. Enfield was planned as a large part of our expansion plans – but it is now helping us to respond as best we can to the huge demand for online slots – especially from our most vulnerable customers.
“One thing that has made it clear to us in the past few weeks is the importance of online retailing for vulnerable people. Our businesses have always been deeply rooted in their communities, but in these challenging times, our partners who work in stores and deliver grocery orders have been at the forefront of responding to these needs in ways we couldn't have imagined. We are very proud of partners across the country and the important role they play. "
Work on the new location began last October with a focus on environmentally friendly measures wherever possible. 95% of the waste removed was recycled, recovered devices and fittings were installed, and a rain harvesting system was created to allow the 100 vans to be cleaned with rainwater.
Enfield Center general manager Paul Shanks says: “Many teams have made a herculean effort to prepare for the launch. The team has worked tirelessly in such unprecedented times, reacting, hugging and evolving to ensure that we are on the right track. It was great to have a role in it. "
In addition to its work to expand Waitrose.com, the retailer has more than tripled the size of its rapid service to 7,000 orders a week, with at least 40% of slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.