ASDA to close home shopping picking depots
With a view to improving the service that it offers to its customers and increasing their loyalty, UK supermarket chain, ASDA, is restructuring ASDA@tHome, its home delivery operation.
The key change for ASDA, from an operational point of view, will be to close its two dedicated picking centres near London and to transfer the assembly of orders to thirteen existing stores in the South East of England. This should be completed by the end of March this year. The number of products that home shoppers can order will be increased from 5,500 to 11,000, and the number of households eligible for deliveries will increase from 8.4m to 14m by the end of the year. In some areas of the country, orders are already assembled in stores. ASDA hopes to cover 60% of the UK by the end of 2002.
ASDA@tHome opened its Croydon and Watford picking centres in 1999, with a fax and telephone ordering service. By mid-1999 electronic shopping using a CD-Rom was introduced, and online shopping followed late in 2000. August 2000 saw the first store-based service and in summer 2001, ASDA started rolling this out. Orders placed before 5pm can be delivered the following day within a two-hour window agreed with the customer. There is no minimum spend and the £3.50 delivery charge is waived on orders over £99. ASDA charges the same price for delivered goods as for goods in the stores.
The closure of the picking centres brings ASDA into line with its rival, Tesco. Tesco was criticised in some quarters when it launched its home shopping service using in-store picking, but has since proved its critics to be wrong - the service is now regarded by many as one of the best in the world.