Survey ranks UK’s supermarkets from best to worst for online shopping

Posted on February 26, 2019


Statistics show that the UK is a nation that loves to shop, and more and more Brits are choosing to ditch wheeling their trolley around the supermarket and instead order from the comfort of their own home. In 2017, it was revealed that the UK has the most frequent online grocery shoppers in the world and also the ones who spend the most per shop, but where should they be doing it, and where should they avoid?

Consumer group Which? has released its annual survey on how the leading supermarkets are performing both instore and online, and the big story this year is that the traditional ‘big four’ supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons) are losing out in the favourability stakes. In the online survey, these four shops occupy the bottom four places among the seven analysed.

Top of the shops

According to the survey, the best place to shop online for groceries is Ocado, with an overall customer score of 81%. Ocado is the only one of the seven stores that does not have physical supermarkets, and received five-star awards from Which? for convenient delivery slots, drivers’ service and its range of products.

Budget frozen food store Iceland came second, falling short in its product range and fresh produce offerings, but scoring highly on value for money and drivers’ service to reach 79% overall.

Third place was taken by Waitrose. Known to be a high-end store, it’s perhaps not surprising it scores poorly for value for money, but it scored 75% in total thanks to customers appreciating the quality of its fresh foods and own-label goods.

Online shop flops

Asda took this year’s wooden spoon, with a disappointing 65% overall. The main gripe with the store was that items are frequently substituted due to being unavailable, with more than half (55%) of Asda’s online shoppers saying their last order had at least one item changed.

Elsewhere, Tesco (71%), Sainsbury’s (70%) and Morrisons (69%) had little to separate them in the online supermarket middle ground.

Key learnings for online supermarkets

With none of the seven online supermarkets scoring more than three stars in the ‘choice of substitute items’ category, it suggests that internet grocery shopping suffers from something of an inventory problem. While online shopping is convenient, one of the main factors brick-and-mortar stores have in their favour is that customers know that if an item is on the shelves, it is available for sale. Online, some problems seem to remain in making sure that items displayed on the website are actually in stock.

Furthermore, the study cites some complaints of unsuitable substitute items. Bottom scorer Asda was the chief culprit here, with one customer perplexed when their bottle of red wine was replaced by a bottle of red wine vinegar.

It seems clear that supermarkets need to work on synchronising their websites with their stock levels, and using a more intuitive approach to choosing substitutes should items be unavailable.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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