Riverford beset by complaints over new online ordering system

Riverford’s new ordering system has caused problems

Riverford Organic Farms has come under fire from customers after a new £500,000 online ordering system prevented shoppers from placing orders and resulted in incorrect deliveries being made.

The organic veg box retailer introduced new software to replace its 10-year-old ordering system in April.

Since the switch, shoppers have found products randomly added to or removed from their orders, and have sometimes been unable to place orders because the system has crashed.

“Last couple of weeks things keep disappearing from my regular order. I have to add them again every week. Sometimes I do it on Friday but then on Monday I check just to be sure and they are gone again!!,” wrote customer Anna Albecka-Moreau on Riverford’s Facebook page.

Some customers have threatened to cancel their orders until the problems have been resolved. “It is just not worth the hassle at the moment even though I think the boxes are fantastic quality,” wrote customer Jacqui Williams. “Off to local farm shops and markets instead for now.”

On Friday, Riverford founder Guy Watson apologised to customers in his blog for the “website hell”.

Speaking to The Grocer, Riverford MD Rob Haward admitted the new system was causing “a bit of short-term pain”, but claimed a “fix” implemented on Monday [17 June] would solve the problem.

There had been minimal impact on sales, which, for May and June, were up 14% year-on-year, he said, adding that the new system would bring “long-term gains”.

Provisional figures for Riverford’s 2012/2013 financial year showed retail sales of £43.2m, up 9.5% on the previous year, Haward said.

Last week, Riverford was named Best Independent Retailer in The Observer ethical awards.