The Evolution of Online Shopping

How has online shopping at Waitrose evolved?

Online shopping and interaction with eCommerce websites has become essential to everyday life. With the rapid evolution of technology, Waitrose prides itself in not only keeping up with industry standards but doing what we can to exceed these standards and maintain our position within a very competitive marketplace.

By ensuring we have the perfect combination of technology, quality, and service, Waitrose is committed to continuing to exceed our customer’s expectations. In fact, we are adding Waitrose eCommerce capabilities to 24 more stores in preparation for our next step.

Before 2000

The Grocery sector was one of the largest Global sectors in the 90s, and it was also one of the first sectors to try and integrate the internet into its day to day operations, meaning online grocery shopping has been around almost as long as the internet itself. However, customers in the 90s were more reserved and slightly dubious about the concept of online shopping, so this, combined with companies not quite having the necessary infrastructure to offer consistent eCommerce fulfilment meant the start of online shopping was not without its challenges.


In October 2000, and not long after Ocado launched, Waitrose joined the eCommerce delivery service as their main supplier and part owner. This was the John Lewis Partnership’s first step into the online shopping industry and the beginning of a budding relationship.

With some of the best produce on the market, working with a dedicated online presence such as Ocado led to fantastic growth for both companies. We were also the first company in the UK to remove the delivery charges on all our fulfilment services in May 2009.

As our e-Commerce offering continued to grow, we renewed our agreement with Ocado for another 10-year period.


Waitrose began to develop our own online retail site and began refitting stores, some of which up until this point had been unable to be serviced by Ocado. With more stores fitted with state-of-the-art order fulfilment technology, it meant that the pick and pack process continued to grow and run as smoothly as possible.

In October 2011, we remained close to our Acton roots and opened a “Dotcom Customer Fulfilment Centre” which is dedicated to delivering food to most of Central and West London. Designed like a Waitrose store, the CFC is staffed with over 200 Partners – but with one difference – it is closed to the public. Its purpose was to serve the large eCommerce business that London has to offer and would be the template for the future.

With the revolutionary technology and innovation found in our first Customer Fulfilment Centre, we opened our state-of-the-art Coulsdon Customer Fulfilment Centre in March 2015. With over 500 Partners in a 6-acre site, it has been the gem in our eCommerce fulfilment operation for 5 years due to its capability to double the number of online grocery shopping orders in London.

2020 & beyond

With our long-standing history, Waitrose eCommerce is about to embark on its next exciting stage. As we part ways with Ocado in Autumn of this year, there is no better time than now to ramp up our efforts and evolve.

We are refitting 24 more strategically placed stores with new and improved customer fulfilment services, implementing a rejuvenated eCommerce platform, designed by our excellent in-house digital team, as well as ensuring that there is sufficient amount of customer delivery drivers spread across the network. The majority of these will be based out of our newest and largest Customer Fulfilment Centre in Enfield.

From September 1st 2020, will be the only platform where our customers can make online purchases of our products so we are ensuring that we are in the best position to meet the demand. As part of our £100 million investment into our online retail business, our new CFC in Enfield will create jobs for 850 new Partners and will fulfil double the amount of our online grocery orders in London.

By creating more eCommerce jobs, providing our customers with a variety of delivery options and offering an all-round excellent online shopping experience – our aim is to expand our customer base using our online platform With the constant evolution and success of our online shopping over the last two decades, We are excited for what is in store for the next 10 years and beyond. Explore our range of Waitrose & John Lewis Partner jobs here >

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