Asda has opened a technology centre in its head office in Leeds to provide a more streamlined service for its online customers.
Parent company Walmart said the centre will allow the company to better monitor its traffic and interactions with the website.
The mission control operations hub will coordinate with other centres in California and India to monitor 11 of Walmart’s websites, including Asda.com and George.com. As part of this network of global operations, the Leeds centre will work for eight hours at a time, before transferring monitoring to another centre elsewhere else in the world, ensuring a 24-hour operation.
The system will allow Asda and Walmart to spot website problems five times faster than usual, which the companies hope will create a more efficient customer online experience.
Mark Ibbotson, chief operating officer at Asda, said: “Together we currently serve over 245 million people through our stores and websites globally and, in the UK, online is the fastest growing area of Asda's business – with online grocery growing at over 21% year-on-year.
"That’s why we’re investing hard to bring world–class technology from across the globe to the UK – delivering an unparalleled online experience for our customers.”
The centre will create 14 new jobs in Leeds, to join Walmart’s 2,500-strong global e-commerce team.
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Click and collect growth
The retailer is also trialling automated collection lockers in Leeds.
Asda financial results over the summer stated click and collect now accounts for 10% of all its online orders and is used by more than 20,000 customers a week. Estimates for the trend expect it to treble over the next five years to account for 30% of all online sales.
Asda also stated that its market share of online shopping had increased to 18.4%, with double-digit growth of e-commerce sales in the UK.
Speaking to Computer Weekly earlier this year, Alex Alexander, multichannel technology director at Asda said: “In the UK, there are some things we’re the market leader at, including click and collect and same-day/next-day delivery. The US doesn’t have the same propositions due to its geography, but it is expected in the UK.”
Walmart is looking into how it can adapt Asda’s click-and-collect strategy in the US, he said.
Alexander said Asda’s strategy is to become successful in different channels independently of each other, and to then make it seamless for customers going through the different channels as part of their shopping experience.
“Our journey has been no different to that of our competitors. We are traditionally a retailer, created an online business, then mobile channel, then let it grow that way,” he said.