M&S has made its full food range available to order online via Ocado - here’s how it works

Marks & Spencer has now made its full food range available to order online after a delivery deal with Ocado goes live.

Last year M&S bought a 50 per cent share of Ocado's retail business for £750m, in order to give its customers its first online delivery service - something most of its competitors already offer.

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Before Tuesday 1 September, M&S only offered a limited range of roughly 130 M&S food and household items through Deliveroo in specific locations, or party food and celebration dinners to order online.

What has been the response?

The move has divided business experts, with some criticising the timing of the deal.

One business analyst, Kate Hardcastle, told the BBC that the retailer had "taken a long time" to provide online grocery shopping compared to competitors but that “expectations were high”.

Another expert, Richard Hyman, labelled the decision "a big mistake" and said the move was unwise as it may decrease the retailer's profits.

One customer took to Twitter to complain about the new shopping experience, which can see chosen products swapped for different items that are equivalent in cost in the Ocado M&S range, when stocks are low or sold out.

The user wrote, “Not the best start @Ocado @marksandspencer at least 6 things substituted for non M&S things! @waitrose missing you already!”

Another also shared in this experience, writing to the retailer on Twitter: “Day one of @Ocado supplying @marksandspencer food. All of our M&S food has been substituting for bland generic alternatives. Even decided to swap M&S Egg Custard Tarts for Mr Kipling Jam Tarts. Not a good start guys!”

However, another user thought the new service sounded “great”.

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What is now available online?

Shoppers now have the option to choose groceries from a 6,000 item wide range from M&S's own to big name brands, as well as goods from Ocado’s own range.

M&S and Ocado say that their combined range offers customers more than 50,000 items to choose from, which they say puts them at a competitive advantage over other retailers.

A spokesperson for the retailer explained this range is now roughly "double that of the next largest grocery retailer".

How coronavirus changed shopping

The deal with Ocado was originally announced in February last year, long before the first case of coronavirus.

The new deal comes at a pivotal time for the retailer, who has since cut 7,000 jobs due to the pandemic.

During lockdown, M&S boss Steve Rowe said customers might "never shop the same way again" after the pandemic.

Online food shopping greatly increased during lockdown causing the company to choose to move its resources and recruiting towards these areas in the business that were continuing to expand.

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