Ocado eyes growth via mobile orders

Mobile apps are helping to drive a significant portion of sales at online retailer Ocado, with checkouts via mobile devices representing nearly 24 percent in the first half of this year.

In its half-year results for the 24 weeks ended 13 May 2012, Ocado said that it was continuing to use its technology platform and expertise to drive customer demand and improve its services.

It has launched a new version of its online shop, and said that Ocado apps, called ‘Ocado on the Go’, are now available across all major mobile operating systems, including iOS, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and Android.

During the period, it has also improved functionality with social media sites, and partnered with recipe website BBC Good Food to enable people to buy ingredients listed in a recipe directly from Ocado via a link on the recipe page.

Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, said: “We expect sales growth to increase in H2 2012 overall. More customers of the big supermarket chains are shopping online. While we remain cautious about the general economic backdrop, we are well placed to attract a significant number of these new online shoppers as we continue to enhance our offer to customers.”

Meanwhile, Ocado said that its project to install material handling equipment and the related software development at its Dordon Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC2) is progressing well and on budget. Systems testing is due to begin later this summer, and the centre is set to open in the first quarter of 2013.

Ocado’s active customer base is around 337,000 and the company delivered 122,000 orders a week on average during the first half of 2012.

While its revenue increased 11.4 percent to £308 million in the period, its operating profit had fallen since H1 2011, from £2.4 million to £1.7 million. The company’s pre-tax profit remained constant at £0.2 million.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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