Source: Ocado

Ocado customers in the south west have expressed their frustration over being bumped on to a different app and website to other users, which they say are fraught with technical issues and less functionality.

Late last year, thousands of Ocado shoppers in Exeter and surrounding postcodes were “auto-enrolled” onto a separate Ocado Exeter app and website, which is used as a testing ground by the online supermarket’s developers.

In recent months, users have left a string of damning reviews on the Apple app store, complaining the trial app is “utterly useless” and “like stepping back in time”.

Since October last year, all written reviews in the app store have been negative, one-star ratings (the lowest users can give).

“This new app was forced on me several weeks ago,” wrote one user, “Every time I use it I encounter a new problem.”

“This app routinely fails to load,” another wrote, “the user experience is time consuming, the receipting misleading and is a massive backwards step compared to the original app and interface of the old version.”

The new app was “stone age compared to the old app” one shopper noted, “so frustrating”.

Ocado has responded to each review to say it was “sorry” and that the feedback would be passed to its development team.

A spokesman for the supermarket told The Grocer the Exeter project was “a small trial” to “test new e-commerce functionality” and “provide an enhanced shopping experience”.

“We’re consistently adding features to the beta app so it meets the usual high levels of service customers expect from Ocado,” the spokesman added.

Ocado firmed up its commitment to the region in 2021 with the opening of its first ‘mini CFC’ in Bristol.

Overall on the Apple app store, the Ocado Exeter app – for users in the EX and TQ postcodes, and many DT and TA postcodes – has received 207 ratings and has a score of 3.5 out of five stars. The Ocado app for users elsewhere has received 2,700 ratings and has a score of 3.3 stars.

In its latest results, Ocado reported revenue to be nearly flat in Q4 2022 (up 0.3%) versus the same quarter in 2021. Despite having boosted the number of active customers using Ocado.com by 12.9% year on year, to just under a million, each was shopping less frequently and purchasing smaller baskets when they did, with average basket value down 1.3% to £117.