Asda has reported a 16% rise in online sales in the first quarter of its financial year. The company said its multichannel strength helped drive a 1.3% rise in like-for-like sales, excluding VAT and fuel, in the 14 weeks to April 12.
“This represents a strong performance in what remains a very tough market,” said Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke. “Despite a difficult environment for our customers, we have continued to achieve growth on growth by lowering the prices of essentials and investing in technology to make shopping more convenient.”
He said Asda was about keeping prices down, driving “real loyalty”. “We are unwavering in this commitment to low prices and will continue to invest to allow our customers to shop when, where and how they want, safe in the knowledge that they will always get the best prices when they shop with Asda.”
The supermarket has previously said it would invest £700m into its clicks and bricks strategy. This week it said it would be trialling Scan and Go technology in a number of stores over coming months, following testing in its US Walmart stores. The Scan & Go app enables customers to use their smartphones scan and pack their groceries as they shop, paying at the end of the journey at automated checkouts. Benefits for the customer include saving time and knowing exactly how much they have spent before they get to the checkout, while Asda, which has no customer loyalty card, will benefit from the customer data captured by the app.
Commenting on the new technology, David Gurney, managing director of big data marketing specialists Alchemetrics, said: “Asda’s new smart phone application will take loyalty cards into the digital age and reinforce the role data plays in driving sales. Unlike other supermarket loyalty cards, this app will give Asda direct access to customers’ personal smart phones, offering the increasingly demanding modern customer a more convenient and faster experience when accessing loyalty-derived offers. This will very likely trump Nectar or Clubcard, which both make customers wait for vouchers that are sent through the post, a process that is outdated. As well as this, the app will enable the retailer to target additional promotions in-store, in real-time and at the optimum moment. The success of Asda’s strategy however, will be dependent on the effective management and analysis of this data, to ensure it’s used to its full potential for the benefit of the retailer and the customer.”
Bob Willmott, of Reward Insight, said: “As the mobile payments space continues to evolve and move into the mainstream, we are seeing more products such as the app launch from Asda that are designed to add greater depth to their understanding of the customer. The challenge is that the likely take-up, and thus customer sample, will be too skewed to be representative of the whole Asda audience. However this issue can be overcome by combining the information gathered with wider transactional data to give a fuller picture of their shoppers.”
The supermarket also said this week that Click & Collect for George clothing and general merchandise were now in place in all its 568 stores, and, as previously said, will be in place for grocery at 200 outlets by the end of this year.