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Asda trials platform for customer parcel updates

Retailers Asda is trialling delivery management from tech platform Sorted to provide customers who have ordered clothing online with a better customer experience

Asda’s clothing department, George at Asda, has launched a trial using delivery management platform by technology firm Sorted to track parcels to customers.

The software tracks the location of parcels and gives customers real-time updates on their orders, including when they will arrive and whether there have been any issues.

Neil Drake, senior manager for parcel service and format development at Asda, said: “We’re delighted to be the first supermarket fashion brand to implement this software, which will make it even easier for our customers to shop with us.

“We are always looking to provide a better online experience for our customers, and understood that there was a need to communicate more frequently with them from the point of order through to delivery.

“By partnering with Sorted, we are able to provide them with real-time updates about the status of an order and proactively notify them of any change.”

As the UK went into lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers have shifted their buying behaviour online as an alternative to going out and visiting physical stores – a behaviour shift that many have no intention of changing now they’ve had a taste.

When the pandemic began to take hold in the UK, many retailers struggled to meet the increased demand for home delivery and online ordering – online food retailer Ocado had to close its website at the beginning of the pandemic in the UK as a massive influx of orders came in, and Amazon recruited 100,000 extra employees to deal with increased customer demand.

Asda had to pause its “same day” and “express” click-and-collect offerings during the peak of the pandemic, which are now back in action.

Due to the increased demand for online shopping, Asda increased the number of weekly delivery slots to 700,000, a 65% increase from March 2020, with plans to further increase the number of available delivery slots to 740,000 by the end of the year, and recently announced plans to make up to one million delivery slots available each week in 2021.

It has also expanded its trial partnership with online food delivery service Uber Eats, which allows customers in certain areas of the UK to order from a pool of around 300 Asda products through the Uber Eats platform to arrive as soon as possible, to cover an extra 25 locations.

In the second quarter of 2020, Asda saw a significant increase in sales across its business, with a 3.8% increase in sales when compared to the same period last year.

The retailer’s online sales doubled in the second quarter of the year when compared to the first quarter before the pandemic was in full swing, and orders made for pickup from a click-and-collect location quadrupled in the second quarter from the first quarter as customer behaviour shifted online during lockdown. Data recorded by the retailer found that many of these customers were new to the brand.

As technology adoption has increased, so has customer expectation of the service delivered by retailers, with customers becoming even more fickle and quick to judge a poor customer journey than they were before, hence George at Adsa’s recent Sorted trial to improve customer experience for online clothing orders.

The SortedReact software used by Asda is fed tracking data directly from carriers. Asda can then decide which events to alert the customer about via various communication channels such as email or text, keeping customers up-to-date about where their package is and when it is expected to arrive.

This is not the first improvement the retailer has tried to make to its clothing range’s customer journey, having announced earlier this summer it would be trialling allowing customers from certain locations to return George parcels to the driver who delivers their weekly online food shop. 

Read more about retail technology

  • Online supermarket Ocado has hired a significant number of technology workers over the past six months to cope with coronavirus demand, it announced in its half-year results.
  • Online retailers face uncertainty as the Covid-19 coronavirus forces change in consumer shopping habits.

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