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Waitrose prepares for online expansion

21 April 2011 - 12:08 by Sarah Collinson

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Supermarket chain Waitrose is getting ready to meet the growing needs of consumers who carry out safe shopping online to pick up their weekly groceries.

It has recently announced the conversion of 100,000 square feet of warehouse space for the dedicated online-only part of its business, although it will be partnering with John Lewis to share the location in West London.

Waitrose MD Mark Price said that the popularity of safe shopping online in combination with the concentration of the population in England's capital were the two driving forces behind the creation of the new space.

Mr Price pointed out that consumers would expect the same level of customer service and product availability online as they would in-store, which is why it was necessary to expand the available warehouse space which is specifically intended to service its e-commerce users.

Delivery will be available on orders up to 11pm at night and because of the relatively unique situation of London's large customer base there will be a wider selection of items on sale to keep those with many different tastes satisfied.

At the moment Waitrose is forced to gather the goods for each individual online order at the standard branch which is closest to the home of individual customers, although this is hardly a practical long term solution in London. underwent a serious upgrade at the start of 2010 with more than £10 million invested in improving the interface and expanding the reach of its services.

It is clear that supermarkets are gearing up to fight tooth and nail for the allegiance of consumers over the coming years, with Waitrose attempting to establish itself further while newcomers like Morrisons do all they can to catch up with rivals and enter the age of online shopping.