waitrose While Youre Away

Source: Waitrose

Last week the number of homes involved grew from 50 to 150

Waitrose wants to extend a London trial of delivering groceries while customers are out to the broader UK, the supermarket has said.

A spokesman said the service was being offered to more homes “with the intention to hopefully roll out to the whole of London and, ideally, the broader UK”.

Waitrose launched the ‘While You’re Away’ service in October last year. In May, The Grocer revealed the supermarket was looking for more consumers take part, and last week the number of homes involved grew from 50 to 150.

The spokesman said the initial 50-home trial had been a way to identify any teething issues. Changes to the service were being tested now with the additional 100 homes, ahead of the planned wider rollout.

The delivery area has been expanded from 300 to 818 postcodes in Coulsdon and West Ealing, with orders served from Waitrose’s Coulsdon fulfilment centre. Waitrose is asking for more customers to register their interest at wya.waitrose.com, even if their address is not currently eligible.

To take part, customers must have a new smart lock fitted to their front door by Waitrose. Drivers open the door by entering a temporary 24-hour code that customers must send to Waitrose via the shopping app the night before delivery.

Once inside the property, the driver puts chilled or frozen goods in the fridge or freezer and leaves everything else on a kitchen counter. They wear a body camera and customers can request to see the video of the delivery the next working day.

The drivers also wear “special foot covers” to avoid traipsing in dirt from outside.

To be involved, customers must make a minimum of six orders, each of at least £25, a measure to be reviewed after the trial.

Feedback from the initial trial had been positive, according to the spokesman.

“Having to stay home for a delivery can be incredibly disruptive to your day and many of our customers now demand more flexibility,” said John Lewis Partnership head of business development Richard Ambler.

“This service has great potential to revolutionise the way people do their shopping in the UK and the goal of extending this trial is to find just how much of an appetite there is for the service. So far, the response from customers has been hugely positive and we welcome anyone that is interested in the service to visit our website and sign up.”

In May, Waitrose announced plans to treble the size of its online operation to a £1bn business in three years, with the help of Ocado co-founder Jonathan Faiman and his new company TDP. The plans include three new automated fulfilment centres.

Also in May, the supermarket confirmed its second fulfilment centre, in north London, would be operational by spring 2020, a move separate to the TDP deal.