COVID-19 Online Shopping Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the lives of everyone in the UK practically overnight, forcing us all to adapt and make drastic changes to the way we live day-to-day.

For many, especially the vulnerable and elderly who are not able to leave their homes at all, one of the most difficult changes has been how to buy food and other essential items.

Here at Charged we’ve been inundated with requests from concerned shoppers about where they can get the food they need, how they can secure delivery slots from overstretched grocers and whether they can buy non-essential goods during lockdown.

We’ve put together this guide to help provide as much useful information as possible for those who need it most.

Please let us know if we have missed anything in the comment below.

 

Grocery Delivery Options

    Morrisons online grocery delivery service is available here and is currently taking new registrations. 

It is also selling seven individual food boxes which can be bought here, providing enough food to feed a couple for around a week.

For those not comfortable with online shopping Morrisons has also launched a telesales service which can be accessed on 0345 611 6111 and select option five. You can see the full list of items available here.

“If you are self-isolating, please mention this in the Delivery Instructions section at checkout, or update the Delivery Instructions in your Address Book.”

    Sainsbury’s online grocery page can be accessed here. If you are not already a customer Sainsbury’s says it is not taking any new registrations unless you are on the government’s most vulnerable list.

“We’re in the process of contacting these customers to offer them priority access to home delivery slots. We are waiting for the database from Northern Ireland and will contact vulnerable customers in this area as soon as we are able.”

For those vulnerable customers not able to secure a delivery slot, Sainsbury’s advises to “keep checking for available slots” as new ones are released each day.

“It can take up to two days from registering for online delivery to be able to book a slot. Please remember that customers have access to a maximum of one delivery slot per week.”

    Tesco’s online delivery service can be accessed here and it is currently taking new registrations.

While it says its delivery slots are at capacity for the next few weeks, it said it had identified 75,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated customers who will have delivery slots created for them.

You can find out more about how to access these slots here.

    Marks & Spencer is currently offering six different food boxes available for home delivery here.

While most deliveries will arrive next-day, the retailer warned that some “deliveries are taking a little longer than usual due to extra measures put in place to help keep colleagues and customers well.”

    Waitrose is still taking new registrations and can be accessed for online delivery here.

25 per cent of Waitrose delivery slots have reportedly been reserved for the elderly and vulnerable, and the grocer has more than trebled its Rapid delivery service, which enables customers to order up to 25 grocery items for delivery within two hours.

Find out if your area is covered by its Rapid delivery service here.

    Aldi is now offering food parcels “filled it with 22 food items and household products” for delivery online, which can be accessed here.

It warns that “our food parcels may not be available all day. Please continue to check our website daily, as we replenish our stock every day.”

    Co-op home delivery can be ordered here however large portions of the country including London, Bristol, Brighton, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth no longer offer the service.

Co-op says that its delivery services will soon be available in Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Birmingham.

For those able to access the service and secure a slot, Co-op has limited orders to 20 items.

    Ocado is no longer taking new registrations, but existing customers can order here.

Ocado has been one of the worst hit by the high demand, and is struggling to fulfil order to many customers, including the vulnerable Smart Pass holders.

“We would love to be able to serve you, but demand is extremely high at the moment and it’s not possible to deliver to everyone. We’re really sorry for any disappointment caused, we hope to have more slots available soon.”

    Asda is still accepting new signups for its grocery delivery service here.

The grocer says it is prioritising those identified by the government as extremely vulnerable, and that it can only contact people on the list who are already Asda customers.

For those who believe they are on the list, have no one to shop for them and have an Asda account, it advises customers to ensure their email address and phone number given to the government is the same as that on their Asda account.

“If you are eligible for help but do not have an Asda account, check to see if someone else in your household does. If they do, ask if they can change the name, phone number and address to match yours.”

 

E-Gift Cards

If you are unable to get to the shops to do your own shopping, but are lucky enough to have a friend, family member of volunteer to do it for you, many supermarkets are now offering E-gift cards.

These enable you to purchase a certain amount of credit and send it to your volunteer via email so you can pay for your own shopping without having to exchange cash.

Sainsbury’s Volunteer Shopping Cards can be topped up with between £5 and £250 credit from here.

Waitrose Volunteer Shopping cards can be topped up with credit between £10 and £500 credit in £10 denominations from here.

Asda Volunteer Shopping Cards can be topped up with between credit £5 and £150 credit from here.

Marks & Spencer e-gift cards can also be topped up with credit between £10 and £500 from here.

 

Other Ways to Get Food Delivered

Deliveroo has also partnered with various supermarkets and convenience stores offering delivery on a limited number of items through its app and website.

Marks & Spencer was the first to partner with Deliveroo offering delivery from around 120 franchise stores across cities including Cambridge, Reading, Brighton, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds and London. More information is provided here.

Convenience store giant McColl’s is also partnered with Deliveroo to offer a range of “daily essentials” across 300 stores in the UK. You can find the nearest store offering Deliveroo delivery here.

Morrisons also now offers 70 “essential household” items via the Deliveroo app from 130 of its stores, reportedly meaning one-in-four households can access the service. A full list of available stores is available here.

Co-op similarly offers a limited range of items available through the Deliveroo app. You can check if the service is available in your area here.

Uber Eats also offers grocery delivery from over 600 independent grocery and convenience stores, though a majority of its coverage is focused in London. You can check if any stores deliver via Uber Eats near you here.

This week Uber also announced that it was piloting Uber Direct, which will offer retailers on-demand booking for speedy deliveries to customers isolating at home, though its not clear when this will be rolled out in the UK.

 

Avoiding Queues

The Supermarket Check-In app provides live information on the queue times and stock levels of local supermarkets which can be downloaded here on iOS and Android.

Users can simply input their postcode and the radius in which they’re willing to travel and the app will rank local stores by queue length and stock availability in real time.

 

Non-essential Shopping

There has been both confusion and controversy over whether we can and whether we should be ordering non-essential items online while in lockdown.

Secretary of State Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Alok Sharma has written an open letter to clear up confusion about its position on non-essential online sales.

“The Government has always been clear that online retail can continue to operate and is encouraged, and that postal and delivery services will continue to operate”.

Many fashion retailers have now begun to reopen their online operations after implementing strict social distancing measures at their warehouses, including Next, River Island, Dunelm, Schuh, Fenwick and Quiz have all announced the relaunch of their online operations.

B&Q said this week that it was reopening a handful of stores on a trial basis with social distancing measures enforced, after reopening its website previously.

AO.com, which sells electrical goods like fridges is offering anyone who works for the NHS and can provide a valid NHS.uk or NHS.net email address free delivery and a 10 per cent discount on all items.

 

Amazon

The online giant will be the first port of call for many looking for non-essential items during lockdown. However, the due to an influx of new orders, lack of available delivery drivers and pressure to enforce social distancing in its warehouses, its usual speedy delivery struggling.

Though its no-longer restricting deliveries to essential items, it is prioritising them meaning most customers will experience delivery delays.

To avoid these delays its worth checking the sellers’ own websites as well as simply giving the items a Google.

Most Amazon sellers will have their own webstores outside of Amazon and will offer delivery options unaffected by Amazon’s logistics network, meaning you can get the same items for the same price in a shorter time.

While Amazon is good at collating items from all over the web, few items are exclusive to the platform and smaller independent retailers selling the same or similar items will be keen for customers during this tough time, meaning many will be offering discounts.

 

Secondhand Goods

Customer-to-customer sales have been hit massively by the pandemic and rightly so, with buyers and sellers alike unable to meet in person to make transactions.

Sending parcels has also proven difficult as sellers are reluctant to visit post offices, which themselves often have large queues.

Shpock announced last week that it is now offering its users free, contactless delivery on for goods sold on its platform.

When an item is sold, sellers must now arrange a collection time with a delivery driver and leave the parcel outside their door for them to collect.

 

Security and COVID-19 Fraud

Sadly the the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said 471 fake stores had been taken offline over the past month, alongside around 2000 more online scams.

These included 900 advance-fee fraud schemes which promise a large sum on money in return for a one-off payment.

The NCSC has now set up a Suspicious Email Reporting Service where shoppers can forward suspected scam emails report@phishing.gov.uk

You can also access further information about staying safe online during the coronavirus crisis here.

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