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IRX 2013 PREVIEW Interview with Saeed Anslow of Asda

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Ahead of our annual expo, we’ve asked some of our key speakers for a sneak preview of what they’ll be telling delegates to IRX 2013. Today we feature Saeed Anslow, development director (home shopping) at Asda.


Internet Retailing: Your presentation in the Operations and Logistics conference is on Click and Collect. How important is this service to Asda?

Saeed Anslow, development director (home shopping), Asda : Click and Collect has played an important part in our non-food business for a number of years. It is now available in every store, across all our formats, and means our customers have access to the full Asda range irrespective of the footprint of a customer’s local store. Customers have really taken to the non-food click and collect. About 50% of our customers are collecting from their local store, due to the convenience and free collection, rather than waiting at home for delivery.

The big change in the last 12 months has been the growth of the food click and collect and the change seen in a short time. We opened our first store in Queensferry, Liverpool area, in 2011 and have just short of 100 stores now.

I think food [Click and Collect] will just grow from strength to strength. If you look at market data only a relatively small percentage have trialled the food side – 7-10%. That means there’s great potential, and that’s where our focus is.

Then there’s also another point about how you start to integrate the food and non-food operations to make it a seamless proposition and journey for the customers, rather than a standalone non-food click and collect and a standalone food offer.

IR: How important are your customers in planning these and other types of delivery services?

SA: I think our strategy has been very much about giving choice back to the customers rather than dictating the offer and the proposition.

From our research the two barriers to customers becoming online shoppers has been the cost of home delivery and the inconvenience of having to wait in for deliveries. The beauty of Click and Collect is that it resolves those two barriers. We know that customers are short of cash and even shorter on time. Click and Collect can be at a time that suits them.

Non-food click and collect is free and we’ve extended our free trial on grocery collection as well. I think it’s the convenience of picking up at a time that suits them and their free delivery. I think the key point is it opens up new ways to shop for the customer but it’s also attracting new types of customer. These are new customers not just new to online but also new to Asda – because this is a service they want.

IR: Your wider remit is as development director responsible for developing new space and concepts. Any new plans or ideas that you can share at the moment?

SA: Click and collect on food is definitely an integral part of our future thinking and we’re commited to growing that part of the business. We’re also looking at how we can improve the access points to Asda beyond the existing estate, so rather than restricting that to Asda stores across the UK, we’re looking at remote locations as well.

We’ve got a number of trials currently in progress. We talked about the integration of food and non-food but we think there’s also an opportunity to extend the range and the offers – and start getting to the full supercentre offer, pharmacy and more. We don’t think we’ll restrict the offer to the current range that is covered within click and collect.

The other key one is how can we improve convenience even further. We’re looking at trials of same-day ordering and collection on food to give customers the facility to order in the morning and collect in the afternoon or evening. The convenience will grow, the range will grow and the number of points that customers are able to pick those products and ranges up from will grow as well.

IR: How do you think multichannel retailing will develop more generally?

SA: We probably touched on a couple of points already but I would say the model will develop, moving from ‘click and collect’ to ‘drive to’, which is what you may see in some stores already. I think ultimately it will move to a ‘drive-through’ operation.

I think the model of click and collect will evolve over the next three months to two years. Retailers will look at extending beyond the remit of their current estate. We’re looking at remote locations. The final one opens up real opportunities for strategic partnerships with third parties in terms of offering up their product ranges through Asda stores, remote locations [such as business parks, filling stations, transport links] or through Asda using other locations. There’s a definite opportunity through third party strategic partnerships as well.

Traditionally you’re constrained by the walls of the store but click and collect really allows us to open up access points across the UK.

Finally, from a manned operation to a combination of manned and self-serve. Locker-type solutions, for instance. We have them in Sale already, but it’s really how that market evolves. If you think of the growth of self-checkouts, there are parallels here.

Saeed Anslow is speaking in the Operations and Logistics conference at IRX 2013, to be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 20 and 21. Saeed will be giving the keynote address in the conference at 10.30am on March 21. For more details visit


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