Waitrose has followed the lead of the big four by launching a smartphone app for online grocery.

The supermarket chain has updated its existing app, which is available on Google Play and App stores, so customers can make and edit orders.

Previously, the app, which was launched in 2010, was purely content-based. It featured a branch finder, a food and wine matching guide, and exclusive recipes.

Waitrose said it was working on the development of a transactional app at the start of 2012, but it has taken until now for the upmarket supermarket to launch one.

“This continues the evolution of Waitrose.com, fulfilling our customers’ need to shop how, when and where they want,” said Waitrose e-commerce director Robin Philips.

In October last year, Waitrose came last in the first-ever Grocer 33 mystery shop conducted by mobile, largely because it was the only supermarket surveyed not to have a transactional app. Waitrose scored just three out of 25 after it took nearly two hours for our shopper to place an order using the mobile version of the website.

The new-look app syncs with the desktop site so customers can start shopping on one platform and then carry on using another.

Customers can use it to sign up to the myWaitrose loyalty card or link their existing card to their online account.

They can also continue to use the app to find out the location and opening hours of stores and look for cooking inspiration from a recipe library.

The new version of the app has received mixed initial reviews from shoppers. “Well worth the wait. Nice layout and navigation feels snappy,” said one user.

But another complained the app was slow and lacked some of the features of other apps like barcode readers and offline functionality.