Covid-19: Next returns online with daily order limits

Clothing and homeware retailer Next has restarted its online business after temporarily halting it and closing its distribution centres at the end of March.

The company has started accepting online orders again after making several changes to its warehouses, and limiting the number of staff who can work on site. Next said it has set a limit of orders it can take in one day in line with its skeleton staff, and will not process any more orders once it reaches that point.

Customers looking to order goods after this level has been reached will be informed online that their orders will only be accepted from the following morning.

Next is promising contactless delivery, via its carrier partner Hermes. The retailer encourages customers to log-on to the new Hermes app to stipulate how products should be left at their homes, using the embedded ‘My Places’ function.

In line with government-advised social distancing measures, two-person delivery remains paused at Next, meaning large furniture items are unavailable. Indeed, Next had already implemented this measure prior to closing down its wider online business in March.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus crisis in the UK, which has forced the closure of all non-essential store retailing, online businesses and delivery are still encouraged by the government. However, several retailers, including River Island, Moss Bros, and Lush, have all opted to temporarily close down all aspects of their business to keep staff safe.

Next joins the likes of homeware retailer Dunelm on the list of companies which paused online business for a short period of time before reopening under a new structure and following different warehouse rules.

Next said that it has provided sanitisers for all warehouse workers, installed new sinks for more frequent handwashing, and rearranged staff rest areas so people can stay the required two metres apart for each other to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

The retailer has also created a staggered entrance to its warehouses, and one-way systems on site to support social distancing protocol.