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Online price checker saves shoppers £75m

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Supermarket Asda claims its online price checker, the Asda Price Guarantee, has saved its shoppers £75m in the seven weeks since it was launched.

So far more than 250,000 people have used the price checker asda.com/priceguarantee in pursuit of a guaranteed lowest priced weekly shop, with, says Asda, a visit every 20 seconds since the emergency budget and its rise in VAT from next January.

The price checker is powered by mysupermarket.co.uk, and shoppers compare the cost of their latest Asda shop with prices in other supermarkets simply by entering the details of their Asda store receipt or their online order details.

If the independent checker finds Asda didn’t give the lowest prices available for that shop, it will refund the difference plus a penny under its Asda Price Guarantee.

Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, says: “The increase in VAT will mean that every family will need to become savvier as they juggle their finances and the ‘Asda Price Guarantee’ is our permanent commitment to help customers save money and live better.”

The latest Asda research shows that more than eight in 10 Asda mums think they’ll be worse off after the budget announcement, with the same number saying that the biggest hit on their family finances will be the VAT rise.

Our view: This is an effective example of using online to cut out the need to shop around. Even if Asda isn’t cheapest, it will give shoppers back the difference in cost. From the economising shopper’s point of view it’s easy and convenient to use and it saves a lot of research.

From a retailer’s point of view it serves almost to remove cost as a point of competition, since Asda or another supermarket using a similar tool will always be cheapest. So this development serves to make competition on criteria other than cost more important. Customer experience and convenience currently count for a lot. But will that change, and will cost inevitably become the key driver as the nation cuts back? That's the big question.
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