Ocado has apologised to shoppers who were left empty handed after a “surge in demand” meant it had no choice but to cancel orders.
Ocado was forced to cancel orders hours before delivery was due on the first day of its new tie-up with Marks & Spencer causing angry shoppers to take to social media to complain.
The online grocer said that this only affected a “very small number” of customers, but it has been reported that the cancellations affects hundreds of shoppers, some of which had placed orders weeks before.
And you cancelled my order tonight, just several hours before my delivery… not going so well, so far is it…. I am recovering from surgery and left without a my weeks shopping. pic.twitter.com/5zx58EnNzi
— Farrah Herbert (Faz) (@herbert_farrah) August 31, 2020
This will not be the start it had hoped for on the debut of its hotly anticipated joint venture with M&S, which saw its products sold online via Ocado for the first time yesterday.
The blunder comes after Ocado’s boss Tim Steiner panned Waitrose during an interview with The Sunday Times, who M&S has now replaced on its platform, for not having “the technology, the infrastructure or the systems.”
“To put it bluntly, they don’t understand the online market like we do,” Steiner added.
Despite seeing a spike in sales during lockdown, Ocado has been dogged with capacity problems throughout the pandemic, leaving many customers without access to deliveries and preventing thousands more from signing up.
In July, M&S chairman Archie Norman warned customers that the spike in demand meant Ocado is continuing to operate “at capacity” and therefore will not be able to serve many new customers when the joint venture launched.
I’ve been counting down the days to my M&S food. Now I have to investigate the bottom of the freezer to find something for tea because @Ocado cancelled my order too! Not a very start. https://t.co/BYcWn2iwfH
— Libby Ashworth (@elizashworth) September 1, 2020
To tackle this issue Ocado has now pledged to increase capacity by 40 per cent by the end of 2021 through “significant” investment next year.
Ocado said in a statement: “We have seen a surge in demand for M&S products in the run up to launch which has impacted a very small number of orders today.
“The vast majority of customers are unaffected and will be delivered as normal.
“We would like to thank our customers for giving M&S such a big welcome and sincere apologies to any customers having to wait a bit longer.”