Asda may be a value supermarket but it has driven hard on innovations such as click and collect as part of a five-year strategy to reinvent the business – a project the retailer is currently halfway through.
But that may be about to change. In October, its unveiling of Project Renewal showed that the click-and-collect strategy, which had tested numerous different pick-up points for shoppers, may not be working as well as hoped. The retailer revealed a slowdown of its original expansion plans. It had previously revealed plans to expand its click-and-collect network to 1,000 points by 2018, growing its reach from 53% of the population to 70%. In 2014, it added 200 new points, taking its total to 600. This year, 150 new sites were planned.
Argos has experimented with a number of different click-and-collect options, including a trial with Transport for London, which launched in November 2013 and allowed customers to pick up their grocery orders from one of six London Underground car parks. The London Underground trial has since doubled in size but will now not be expanded further, the company revealed in October.
However, other innovations are continuing. In September 2014, Asda invested in state-of-the-art click-and-collect technology from Holland, which it claimed would deliver even greater customer convenience by allowing shoppers to collect their shopping from standalone, temperature-controlled Intelligent Pods, in less than 60 seconds. The first opened in May in Lancashire and a second was announced in October. “With click and collect, we can be where the customer wants us to be,” Asda’s multichannel operations director Kieran Shanahan said in February 2014.
The retailer is working to innovate in its supply chain too and earlier this year announced International Procurement Limited – a wholly owned subsidiary of Asda. Asda’s grocery team will work across markets to share expertise and innovation, in order to improve the customer experience and ensure the supply chain works more efficiently.
Better understanding its customers remains a priority and, in February, Asda revealed it would be using virtual vouchers with the introduction of digital couponing to help build a better view of customers.