SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Esendex has delivered over 2.7 million text messages for Ocado

Posted by Admin on November 26, 2008

I got this really interesting case study from Ocado and Esendex about how the use of simple SMS can alter how a business interacts with both its staff and its customers.

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Ocado is an online grocer that delivers Waitrose groceries to shoppers that order them over the internet. It currently serves about 13.5 million UK households across the South East, the Midlands and the North West and more recently the South Coast of England.

Ocado turned to Esendex to help with two key areas. The first was to send messages to employees, especially when it came to managing shifts and overtime. The second was to communicate customers, informing them directly, quickly and easily of delivery details and updates. Since implementing SMS services from Esendex, Ocado has sent a total of 2.7 million customer and staff text messages.

Mark Watson, Head Business Planning at Ocado, said of the need to contact staff:

“Our Customer Service Team Members are vital to the success of Ocado. To deliver the best possible service for our customers, we need to be able to draw on our operatives’ skills effectively, sometimes at short notice, especially at peak season, such as Christmas.”

While the requirement to contact customers is equally important to Watson:

“We’re driven by our customers’ needs so we’re always looking for ways to enhance our services for them and pride ourselves on innovation. By improving our behind the scenes operations, we can add real value to our offering.”

To solve these two needs, Ocado turned to Esendex and the Esendex API which enables automated texts to be sent and received with ease. Ocado actually runs two services side-by-side, one to communicate with customers, one to communicate with staff.

For customer services, Esendex provides an automated service, which involves a one-way text messaging service. This means the Ocado order system texts the customer at the appropriate time with a delivery notification, update or opportunity to change their grocery order. The customer is informed in a direct and timely fashion, ensuring Ocado can manage all changes through the appropriate channels to save time and possible inconsistencies.

An example of the message sent to a customer is:

“Dear Mrs ………. Don’t forget your Ocado delivery is due tomorrow at 9:00pm. You have until 11:00pm today to make any last-minute changes to your order”

Internally at Ocado, the Esendex service guarantees managers can keep a large number of staff well informed of updates quickly and easily and vice-versa. Using a two-way SMS service, resource planners at Ocado have direct access to the application to plan shifts, overtime and holiday cover. For example, planners can text large groups of staff members to ask who wants overtime and staff can then reply on a first-come, first-served basis.

An example of the message sent to staff is:

“Overtime available for your upcoming shift. If you are interested send back your handscan only and we will call you to confirm”


The key benefits for Ocado of the new service have been:

• Increased communication with staff which is quick and easy and strengthens day to day operations
• An effective tool to use to enhance levels of customer service, adding value to the service delivered
• Advice and consultancy from a trusted and reliable supplier.

Mark Watson says of texting to staff:

“We’ve been able to reduce calling times considerably since implementing the service which has been a real improvement for day to day operations. Previously, resource planners spent hours calling staff about cover notifications, now it can be done in a matter of minutes.”

He says of the service for customers:

“We’re dedicated to constantly improving what we do. By integrating available, effective technology and by challenging ourselves, we can deliver the highest standard. We strongly believe that we lead the way in terms of innovative services, such as this and we hope that people think of us when they want excellence in online grocery shopping and delivery.”


2 Responses to “Esendex has delivered over 2.7 million text messages for Ocado”

  1. […] Today’s article is a case study from the lovely people at Esendex. You can check out there case study with Ocado, the shopping delivery service here. […]

  2. […] Posted by smsisthenewblack on January 26, 2009 Continuing the reprise of some of the Christmas articles here is a case study from Esendex. You can check out there case study with Ocado, the shopping delivery service here. […]

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