Holland & Barrett has been forced to open a brand-new distribution centre to meet a massive spike in demand for online orders during lockdown.
The health supplement retailer has hired hundreds of new staff to help it meet a 400 per cent jump in demand which it has struggled to meet, leaving hundreds of customers furious over the delivery chaos.
@holland_barrett I know that you must be receiving more orders than usual and you must be very busy, but I have been charged for a full order but only received half of it; I've tried calling and emailing but no response. Is there anything I can do to get the rest of my order?
— David Norman (@davidnorman) May 11, 2020
Hey @holland_barrett any idea what's going on yet? I got your standard message on my DM, no actual detail though. Ordered in March….. Still no product or money back. Please, for the love of God let me know.
— Adam Smith (@smithscabana) May 11, 2020
Dear @holland_barrett, You told me to write you and then there is radio silence? I WANT MY MONEY BACK now, not because of the delay but because of your horrible horrible customer service and the way how you treat your customers!!
— kdg_uk (@kuhudas_uk) May 5, 2020
In order to try and get a handle on the spike in demand, Holland & Barrett reduced its product lines by 2500 for two weeks while it cleared its backlog, though it continues to have a week-long lead time instead of the pre-pandemic next-day service.
Now it has opened a separate distribution centre at its facility in Burton, hiring 200 new staff to fulfil orders, while hiring a further 150 new staff to its customer service team to help fulfil home delivery from 50 stores.
“Like many omnichannel retailers, over the last two months we have seen an unprecedented increase in demand for online orders at 300-400 per cent of the normal level,” a spokesperson said.
“As a result, we have been working tirelessly to increase our capacity to accommodate this extra demand. However, this has led to a delay in the timeframe and service that we would usually deliver customer orders.
“We are aware some customers have had to wait too long for their order and we sincerely apologise to anyone that has experienced these delays. We have communicated to all customers affected to update them on the situation over the last few weeks.
“Our customer service team has received an extraordinarily high volume of order queries as a result of delays and are working day and night to answer these.
“We are now making significant progress in getting all overdue orders to customers and are now operating at a seven-day lead time on new orders. We are extremely confident that our customers will see a return to the service that we’re proud to provide shortly.”