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Asda enables third-party click and collect as it looks to attract 40m extra visits a year

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Asda today unveiled a new approach to click and collect which it hopes will bring 40m extra visits a year to its stores by 2019.

It is enabling third-party retailers to offer their customers the ability to collect or return their online orders through any of Asda’s 614 stores. Fast online fashion retailer Missguided is the first to sign up to the new ToYou service as it launches. Asda, a Leading retailer in InternetRetailing’s IRUK Top500 research, says ToYou will offer “game changing” industry-first real time individual parcel tracking for both collections and returns.

“Demand for online shopping is ever increasing, with it grows the appetite from online retailers to ahve physical footprints their customers can access,” said Ian Stansfield, vice president, Asda logistics services and supply chain. “Not only are we providing online retailers with a presence on the high street we’re also bridging a gap for customers who want to collect or return their online orders while carrying out their weekly shop.”

More than 10% of Asda’s online orders are picked up at the store, and improvements that come with the new service have already had an effect on its own online collection rates. So far, it says, more than 1m parcels have passed through the new system, and customer wait times for collection have reduced by more than 60%, while customers can place orders up to 9pm for next day collection.

Stephen Langford, senior director, George ecommerce, said: “George serves more customers online than most fashion retailers, so for us this move was a big of a no brainer, a slicker service, with more in-depth data, which allows us to know what the optimum times of day are when we need to have colleagues ready to serve our customers.” So far, it says, it can see that customers ordering for next day collection are visiting the store to collect between 5pm and 7pm. If they miss that slot, they then come between 8am and 10am the next day. “This insight,” says Langford, “has helped us reduce waiting times by over 60%. This data is not only helping improve but we’re also able to provide it to our clients.”

Including remote locations, Asda currently has more than 650 click and collect points which customers can use to pick up their parcels.

Our view: This move towards working with, rather than in competition, with other retailers echoes the partnerships that Argos has with both eBay and Sainsburys . It opens up potential future scenarios in which many more retailers with high street and out of town shopping centres offer their shoppers the chance to collect their online orders from retailers of all kinds. Even as this adds simplicity and convenience to the customer experience, it seems likely to mean increasing complexity for retailers. What will be interesting to see is whether the financial value of this for Asda is purely in attracting extra traffic to its stores, or whether the operation is capable of being profitable in its own right.

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