/ Shopping

Has Ocado’s switch to M&S worked for you?

It’s been three months since Marks and Spencer became available on Ocado. Is it still a draw, or are you shopping online elsewhere?

To much fanfare at the start of September, Marks & Spencer products became available for delivery on Ocado, ending its long-standing arrangement with Waitrose. 

At the time shoppers were told that not much would change – Waitrose products would have an equivalent available from M&S.  

Which? research also demonstrated that people would save money – spending £2.74 less on M&S-branded products than they would on the Waitrose equivalent

So a different brand, but a similar shopping experience. Three months on though, is this still the case?

Price and selection may vary

There seems to be a difference between M&S and, well…. M&S. Back in October, shoppers noticed how prices on some M&S items were different in store than on Ocado

In addition to price changes, community member Alfa says she’s noticed the selection on Ocado appears to have changed as well. She told us that some brands have disappeared, while others have been replaced.

She’s also noticed some M&S products increased in price after three weeks. Alfa’s now decided to get a regular Waitrose delivery once a month alongside Ocado in order to account for some of her regular products not being available.

Still delivering for you?

If you’ve shopped with Ocado before, how has the M&S changeover been for you? Has it been a positive experience to get M&S products delivered, or have you started looking at alternatives from other supermarkets?  

Ocado was a popular option for many who shopped for groceries online during the spring national lockdown. 

When we asked back in July though, most of you told us that you’d be returning to the shops when the pandemic eases.

Now that restrictions are somewhat easing depending on where you live, have you been continuing to shop for groceries online, or have you been returning to the shops?

Comments

I’ve been completely satisfied with the switch to M&S. The product alternatives to the Waitrose items are equivalent and in some cases better. I spend on average £230 per week and the Ocado system is very good. Their drivers are also the tops.

I returned to Ocado during lockdown, it was easier to get Waitrose via Ocado than direct (Waitrose delivery slots inadequate in my area). Ocado drivers friendly and careful. Good back up from Ocado – eg: if wrong product delivered. However, since M&S switch so many products out of stock and lines (M&S) limited. I do not think it is as good as before; prices remain in line but availability / choice does not. I will persevere in the hope that it improves. I would add that I have found Tesco deliveries fantastic during lockdown/this year; more agile in response and good value with some surprising top quality products. I don’t feel the need to stick with one supplier – quality, choice and value varies between them. As much as anything its (still) about getting a delivery slot……

M Edwards says:
18 December 2020

Well it would be nice to enjoy M&S on line – if only we could sign up to Ocado. We keep trying but always told they’ve no space for new customers.

Mary Coughlin says:
18 December 2020

I wonder if many of the previous comments reflect brand loyalty and familiarity (Waitrose). I have subscribed to Ocado since it’s inception. Initially, I remember, available products were “Waitrose heavy”. In recent years the range of products has widened considerably. I have purchased fewer Waitrose items , instead favouring other brands with equivalent or better quality and value for money. The Ocado Gold range is notable in this respect.
Perhaps it’s also a reflection of the type of product that some Ocado customers buy that has provoked criticism with the change to Marks and Spencer. My experience has been positive. I cannot comment on price differences between in store M and S food and on line purchases.
I decided to place an online order with Waitrose two weeks ago. I was dismayed by the lack of choice (surely the local Waitrose store stocks more items than this!). I bought a pack of Continental cooked meats from the Number 1 range. It looked the same in all but the labelling to a similar product (M and S) on my Ocado shop the previous week.
In total since the change over I have placed 3 Waitrose shops. On 2 of the 3 , the drivers were disgruntled, one of them being highly critical of Ocado. I found this unprofessional. I accept this is my opinion and perhaps not a wider reflection of Waitrose employees. I have rarely found an attitude problem with any of the Ocado drivers. In fact I would award them very good/excellent most times.

I am not enjoying the switch. As a cook I need ingredients and when you can’t get raisins in a kg bag, biggest was 325g in the run up to Christmas this is an issue. I relied heavily on the Ocado range and Waitrose essentials and have no interest in prepared ingredients or ready meals. I have already started ordering in parallel from Waitrose click and collect and will try Sainsbury’s once the current problems settle. Shame as Ocado have the best stock management solution.

I have noticed quite a few products are no longer available in their large sizes, so you have to spend more on higher priced smaller sizes.

I have not bought raisins recently but Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose all sell 1kg bags of mixed fruit. What I have learned in the last nine months is the value of using more than one supermarket to take advantage of variations in price and availability.

Ocado is a great service but I don’t want M & S stuff. Ocado said they would replace Waitrose lines with M & S but strangely the ones I liked became out of stock and have now disappeared altogether – pork ribs for instance… I regret the changeover very much

margaret holmes says:
18 December 2020

I have to agree with the disappointment of using Ocado. The site for a start is not straightforward compared to others and the last delivery I had caused major mayhem as I was handed a bag dripping with sticky colourless cordial (unbeknown to me although the delivery man said something was leaking but decided it wasn’t the bag given to me) Caused damage and I had to fight for some compensation – from £20 offered to £85 accepted – on an order valued £140. MANY items only had 2 days from use by dates, oranges bad after 3 days – the list is endless with my dissatisfaction with Ocado compared to Tesco and Sainsburys.

A glass jar of mayonnaise was broken in a recent delivery and the driver couldn’t have been more helpful. He assumed I wouldn’t want any of the items in the bag, but most of them were washable so I kept them. Only one box of chocolates had to be returned.

My main complaint with online shopping (to which I am now doomed for ever) is with fresh green vegetables. If I order what I will need over 2 weeks, much of it will already have only a few ‘use by’ days remaining and/or will have bruised or crushed green veg in their packs), so I am pushed to eat, cook or freeze it all quickly. I definitely would not have chosen it in store!

If you are able to use click & collect you may be able to hand back any damaged produce for replacement. I did this with a leaking bottle of milk at Morrisons and they brought another one with the crates for the next customer. It depends how the supermarket runs its click & collect service.

Very happy with the Ocado deliveries. The Delivery staff are wonderfully happy and helpful.
Prefer M & S food. So this is a big bonus.

Linda says:
18 December 2020

Not at all happy about the switch. I’ve been shopping with Ocado since the beginning was a Smart Pass member and always really pleased with the service and products. This year however the service has not been great (apart from the drivers) and the M & S products not up to the standard of Waitrose. I have been receiving Waitrose deliveries in conjunction with Ocado so I can get the products I like and when I compare prices, some products are more expensive with Ocado. My Smart Pass expires in January and I will not be renewing it.

Can’t get a slot full stop.

95% of my groceries come from Aldi, 4% Sainsburys, 1% others.
I would never contemplate Waitrose and only M & S if I’m walking past a store which is almost never. Waitrose products rarely come tops in surveys for quality yet they are often tops when it comes to price. I dont know why people use them unless its their nearest store, money to burn or some sort of snobbery.
The Aldi Specially Selected range is first class quality and usually cheaper than the other supermarket brands. The rest is mostly acceptable quality but nearly always substantially cheaper. The range is limited but that makes for a much quicker shop and less ‘off shopping list’ buys.

Nadine Vella says:
18 December 2020

Prefer Waitrose to M & S and, anyway have an M&S food store at the top of my street. I like Waitrose because they have a much larger selection of branded products. I switched to Waitrose delivery which has been fine

G Kenyon says:
18 December 2020

I wish that we in Cumbria had access to ocado; they are not delivering yet north of Lancaster, but you wouldn’t know about it as it is not admitted unless one complains.

Claire Lewis says:
18 December 2020

Is this just me, or does the Waitrose website not show items that are temporarily out of stock? After the switch, I search their website for a few own brand Cooks’ Ingredients items that we had been buying for years from Ocado. They weren’t listed, though I could see no reason why such staples should have been discontinued. After checking several times, I sent a query to Waitrose but I’ve never had a satisfactory answer. Ocado’s website indicates if an item is out of stock temporarily and it only disappears if it has been discontinued. Now I still don’t know if I will ever be able to get these ingredients from Waitrose. (My local store is only a Little Waitrose and I don’t want to travel further these days.)

Graham Brown says:
18 December 2020

The Ocado system is the best available for on-line deliveries as they rarely don’t have an item, where as our local Sainsbury’s often can’t fulfil an order completely.

However, I shall not be using OCADO very much in future because I believe they have abused their customers by taking advantage to charge maximum for deliveries.

I had been a loyal on-line OCADO customer for 12 years prior to the pandemic using a mid-week Smart pass. Because we were going to Australia for 6 weeks in February this year I let it lapse, them the pandemic struck. When I returned I could not get back into the system as no more smart passes were being issued. Every delivery was charge at £7.99 instead of £2.99 a month. 12 years shopping with them, spending £4,500 per annum counted for nothing.

They displayed Capitalism to the full, their choice.

I now shop with Sainsbury’s who even in the pandemic still had 50p slots available. My choice.

Alan Inglett says:
18 December 2020

I have not been able to access Ocado but, after seeing the obscene differential between it’s CEO’s wages and the median wage, I won’t try again

Pamela Barrett says:
18 December 2020

I have used both Waitrose and Ocado for many years and find that since the switch to M&S I have been buying much more from Waitrose than Ocado, so much so that I will probably not renew my Smart Pass. There is not much of a difference in price (sometimes Ocado is more expensive) but although I cannot fault Ocado for ease of use of the website, availability of delivery slots and really friendly, helpful drivers, I find that, as someone who regularly cooks fom scratch and soes a fair amount of baking, the lack of access to certain Waitrose products is a real inconvenience. I cannot always get equivalent M&S products and certainly not in the larger, more economical sizes. Also, I have noticed that whereas a substitution or unavailable product was once a rarity with Ocado, increasingly M&S items have been substituted or not delivered. This has always been more of an issue with Waitrose as orders are supplied from the shelves of my nearest store (and this is one of the reasons I chose to use Ocado) but I cannot understand why it should happen with Ocado’s system of stock control as you are informed when ordering if items are unavailable. The M&S offers at the start of the new system were also better value than they are now…the “dine in” deal, for example, has cheaper products than it did and most of the more desirable options seem to be out of stock when I order. Overall, I do like some of the M&S products and accept that change can be a challenge at first but I much preferred it when Ocado stocked Waitrose products as I then had the best of both worlds, the excellent quality of Waitrose items combined with the super-efficient ordering and delivery system of Ocado.

I am very dissatisfied with the switch to M&S from Waitrose. So many products are always out of stock or just not available on Ocado. I love M&S Bellante (sparkling rose) but apart from the small bottles in the first few weeks it is not available to buy. I enjoy M&S yum yums and also their raspberry yum yums. Not stocked on Ocado. A German bread I enjoy is also not available. The burgers I prefer also not available. Other wines I like from M&S either not available or out of stock. For a recent order 15 of the M&S items I wanted were out of stock. I have to make top-up shops at M&S to get everything I want. So frustrating. I’m thinking of switching to Waitrose in the new year.

Impossible to book ahead as they only release 2/3 days/slots at a time and it is impossible to get a slot at the moment.