Case Study

Ocado: A successful online grocery business model?

17 pages
March 2010
Reference: IMD-6-0322

In 2009 several companies were competing in the UK for a share of the fast-growing online grocery market, using two different business approaches. Ocado, a purely online grocer operated out of a dedicated distribution center. The company was founded by three former investment bankers in early 2000. By 2009 Ocado had grown from its original three founders to over 3,000 employees and was just about to become profitable. It faced competition from, the biggest online grocer in the world. Tesco, the UK’s leading supermarket chain, had started an internet add-on to its regular business and used existing supermarkets to run its online operations.

Learning Objective

This case compares Ocado and business models from a consumer proposition, operational efficiency, profitability and sustainability point of view. Participants will be challenged to think about the challenges online grocers face to meet shoppers’ expectations, how operational choices impact the consumer proposition and what opportunities both companies have to further grow their business.

Online Grocery Store, Online Grocery Retailing, eCommerce, eBusiness, Supply Chain, Production Management, Operations Management
Published Sources
© 2010
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note
Case clearing houses

Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics