UK supermarkets' online channels crumble under Christmas pressure

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez December 22, 2014
The likes of Sainsbury's, Asda and Waitrose have all experienced technical glitches and customers have had pre-ordered deliveries cancelled - with the promise of delivery after Christmas.

Just as customers were beginning to get over the horror of their online shopping experiences on Black Friday – retailers in the UK this week dealt the general public a swift reminder of how poorly their online channels cope under a bit of pressure, just in time for Christmas.

Customers have taken to Twitter in swathes to complain about terrible online experiences and customer service from some of the biggest supermarket brands in the country, with many having had their Christmas orders and delivers cancelled due to increased demand over the festive season.

Sainsbury's, Asda and Waitrose have all experienced technical glitches on their websites, resulting in orders being cancelled and customers being left frustrated in the run up to the 25th December.

Sainsbury's appeared to be suffering the worst, after a computer failure meant that customers that had placed orders for delivery this week were being told that not only would they not be receiving their food and goods in time for the big day, but that they could only receive delivery after Christmas!

Waitrose too suffered website problems – with staff reportedly telling customers that the site had gone “into meltdown” - which led to a number of failed deliveries at the weekend and early this week. Customers are being told that they can either go and collect their goods from the shop, or cancel the delivery altogether.

Asda claims that only a “handful of customers had experienced technical difficulties” - however a quick glance at Twitter highlights that there are a fair few disgruntled customers out there complaining (see below for evidence). Seems that the supermarket might not have learnt its lesson, given that diginomica's Stuart Lauchlan last year had his order cancelled by Asda and was 'helpfully' offered a delivery date after Christmas day.

Supermarkets seem to think that we should all just rearrange Christmas based on when they can get our shopping to us, regardless of any forward planning.

And so it seems that even if you order your shopping online weeks in advance, you run the risk of having to deal with cancelled orders, annoying customer service calls, figuring out how to get your money back and then to top it all off, braving the supermarkets just a few days before Christmas!

Unfortunately, it seems that if you want the security of knowing you will have everything you need for your big Christmas dinner, it's best to do it the old fashioned way and head down to your local store.

An all-round digital success story (note the sarcasm).

I'll finish here with some of the frustrated tweets from customers, just to get you all in the festive spirit. Merry Christmas everyone!

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