‘Overwhelmed’: Kmart’s lockdown apology
Kmart has apologised to customers after being "overwhelmed" with online orders after shoppers complained of lengthy delays and even virtual "queues" to get onto the store's website.
In an email sent to customers last night, Kmart retail director John Gaultieri said the discount department store had experienced an unprecedented level of demand over the last few weeks.
"It has certainly been a different type of Easter for us all, and I feel it's vital to acknowledge and sincerely apologise to our customers who have yet to receive their online order or continue to experience delays reaching our customer service teams," he said.
Mr Gaultieri said because of "various factors outside out control" customers were now encouraged to "order ahead" and "allow for delivery delays".
"We've been overwhelmed with the volume of orders over the past few weeks and stock availability has been impacted; making it difficult to keep up with our customer needs," he said.
Mr Gaultieri also apologised to customers who had been unable to get in touch with Kmart to check on their online orders.
"The volume of customers making contact is unprecedented, and our teams are doing their very best to help all of you," he said.
One disgruntled shopper described it as the "worst modern online experience in 2020", while others complained of drawn-out processes resulting in orders being unable to be filled.
After social-distancing measures were introduced last month, forcing many of us to stay home, Kmart's online orders surged dramatically.
The sudden spike in visitors to its website caused Kmart to introduce a virtual queue for customers that was mocked online.
In response to the online demand, Kmart last week announced it would be closing three stores in NSW, Queensland and Victoria to help fulfil website orders.
A Kmart spokeswoman said those stores had been converted into fulfilment centres in order to meet the increased demand.
"Over the past few weeks, we have seen a huge surge in demand for our online services, and we want to continue to support our customers with shopping in a way that's most convenient for them. That's why we're doing things a little bit differently at Kmart," the spokeswoman said.
"We've made the decision to temporarily convert a few of our stores into order fulfilment sites to help support the growing demand for our online home delivery services.
"Our store teams will continue working in-store as part of this fulfilment team, ensuring that our Kmart customers and communities have easy access to the products they need at the time they need them most."
Originally published as 'Overwhelmed': Kmart's lockdown apology