Ocado has played down a network failure at its central warehouse that resulted in cancelled orders for hundreds of customers.
One shopper whose order was cancelled was told by Ocado's customer services that it had been forced to cancel 500 orders on March 16. However, an Ocado spokesman said that less than 1% of the 46,000 orders it received that week were cancelled.
In a letter of apology, Ocado informed disappointed shoppers that it had created additional delivery slots over the following two days exclusively for them. It was also offering online shoppers £25 off their next order by way of compensation.
The Ocado spokesman said that the problem had been a one-off occurrence at its warehouse in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, and that it was the first of its kind since Ocado began trading in 2002. He also claimed that 80% of those customers affected by cancellations had re-ordered the following day.
Meanwhile, Asda is stepping up its efforts to attract new customers and entice old ones back to its online shopping service. The retailer is offering free delivery on orders over £75 on selected delivery slots during the week.
It is offering lapsed shoppers a £10 off voucher for orders over £50 and it is also promising more convenient delivery slots for customers.
Elsewhere, the major multiples were using tomorrow's Mother's Day celebrations as a key tool to generate extra sales of online flowers this week.
Typical offers included £5 off bouquets at Asda.com.

Ronan Hegarty

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