This award has been dominated in the past by Tesco and Ocado, but Sainsbury’s has made major strides on a number of fronts.

The result, over the last 12 months, is that sales have grown by more than 20% year-on-year, recently enabling Sainsbury’s to leapfrog Asda to become the second-largest online food retailer in the UK. And weekly order numbers also hit a record high of 165,000, with 1.5m people on average visiting its site every week.

These impressive results have been achieved thanks to a number of new initiatives, including a massive rollout of the company’s Click & Collect service to more than 900 stores. While Tesco and Waitrose are now hot on its heels, the fact is Sainsbury’s offers the most comprehensive Click and Collect scheme in the UK.

Another feature is its improved availability of delivery slots, up by more than 10%, increasing population coverage from 92.9% to 95%. And service also improved. Last year Sainsbury’s introduced training for its growing army of drivers. This resulted in customer service scores creeping ahead of retail rivals in terms of availability, promptness of delivery and all-important doorstep satisfaction.

The company also introduced text and email reminders for customers the day before delivery was due, highlighting the fact that shoppers could amend orders until 11pm.

Beyond the site, the retailer has used the web to telling effect with the launch of Brand Match (qv) while more than trebling the number of social media followers to 330,000 by December, upping its Facebook friends by 20%, and Twitter followers by 29%.

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