Asda's Revolutionary Service Cuts Fulfillment Times in Half

Asda has drastically cut fulfillment times by bringing the entire process in house, while simultaneously creating an additional revenue stream.

The grocer and general merchant is part of the Walmart family of retailers, and like many UK-based merchants it struggled to meet shoppers' click-and-collect demands quickly and efficiently. Thanks to the reliance on signatures on home deliveries in England much of the nation prefers to reserve their orders online and pick them up in person at a physical retail location.

While the service is extremely popular across the country, fulfillment times can be unnecessarily long, spanning anywhere from three to five days from order placement until it is ready for in-store pick up. Around five years ago Asda made the bold decision to bring all of it click-and-collect fulfillment in house, eliminating its reliance on third-party parcel handlers, instead using its own trucks and personal to move product from fulfillment centers to the store level.

"We decided to begin leveraging our assets," said Paul Anastasiou, senior director, Asda at the 2016 Manhattan Momentum conference. "We moved click and collect away from parcel carries and brought it in house. We were able to recycle exiting processes and systems, but the customer experience wasn’t great."

Over the past few years Asda has refined the offering building its end-to-end system from the customer backwards. The key goal for the retailer was three fold: reduce fulfillment costs, reduce consumer wait times, and improve the customer experience.

By all accounts the retailer was a success in all three areas. Asda was able to trim the traditional click-and-collect fulfillment time of three to five days, to one day by developing, in conjunction with Manhattan, a highly sophisticated and data-fueled fulfillment network.

In addition to having the logistical and operational firepower needed to get orders from the fulfillment center to its 600-plus stores quickly and efficiently the retailer also provides shoppers with true transparency into the process. Shoppers are able to track their purchase's journey from the DC to the store in real-time, ensuring there are no disappointed consumers making the trek out to the store only to discover their items are not ready for pickup.  

"Our tracking website is simple," Anastasiou said. "We need to keep customers informed. Thirty to forty percent of customers track their orders online. We want to ensure that the parcel waiting for the customer, not the customer waiting or the parcel."

Fueled by the success of its revolutionary click-and-collect model, Asda launched a new groundbreaking enhancement to the system in November 2015. Asda's has built up its supply chain capabilities to such a level that it has opened up its click-and-collect solution to other retailers. Asda can handle the flow of product from a retailer's fulfillment center to one of Asda's 600-plus locations where shoppers can stop in to pick up their orders.

The service branded ToYou, currently has a handful of retail clients, "particularly in the fast fashion space," said Anastasiou. "We are at a point now where we are going to accelerate the onboarding of clients."

The innovative and disruptive service looks to be a win/win/win for Asda, its retail clients, and its shoppers. Asda receives an additional revenue stream from the fulfillment service, while simultaneously generating more foot traffic to their stores. Its retail clients are able to greatly reduce fulfillment times allowing them to further delight consumers. And Asda's shoppers are able to eliminate unnecessary trips to multiple stores to pick up their online orders. 
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds