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Feature: Asda gets goods where they need to go


Asda, the U.K. subsidiary of Walmart, wants customers to have unencumbered access to desired products.

On the front end, this has meant creating a click and collect service called toyou. On the back end, Asda enables toyou with a seamless fulfillment infrastructure based on Manhattan Associates technology.

“On the direct-to-consumer side, the puzzle is more complex,” said Paul Anastasiou, senior director of business development, logistics for Asda in an interview with Chain Store Age. “You need to drive efficiency in the relationship.”

According to Anastasiou, Asda has already been using Manhattan Associates technology for the past four to five years, starting with the vendor’s warehouse management system in its e-commerce fulfillment center.

Since then, the retailer has expanded its Manhattan Associates install base to include configurations for cross-docking, click and collect parcel sorting, and chill chain routing. Other solutions from the vendor leveraged by Asda include distributed order management, extended enterprise management and supply chain intelligence, all of which integrate seamlessly with existing enterprise infrastructure.

Using this technology, Asda is allowing customers to pick up and return online orders of specific apparel goods, as well as online orders placed with third parties, at stores. The retailer is thus enabling other major online retailers to tap into its delivery network and have a brand presence in its physical locations, as well as online. Asda estimates toyou’s expanded service could bring in as many as 40 million extra customers to its stores per year.

“We use a hub-and-spoke model for click and collect,” explained Anastasiou. “We connect our logistics and retail assets on one enterprise-class platform. It augments our existing core infrastructure.”

The Manhattan technologies also optimize Asda’s parcel delivery, allowing orders to be fulfilled via the most optimal route as opposed to assigning to pre-determined routes used by other delivery service providers. The technology is accelerating the retailer’s order to delivery cycle times and means it can push back order cut-off times for next day delivery of its own merchandise from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Manhattan also provides the platform that allows Asda’s customers, as well as its online retailer partners and their customers, to track deliveries in real time.

One other crucial aspect of Asda’s click and collect program is its extension into store associates’ customer service activities.

“We have a dedicated store app running on Android, and click and collect is also integrated into kiosks,” said Anastasiou. “However, it’s not a sales solution.”

Looking ahead, Asda will integrate the Passbook mobile wallet app with toyou later this year. The retailer is considering expanding toyou’s functionality as an omnichannel customer experience solution by using native app functionality or SMS text messaging to let customers notify store associates when they arrive at the store to pick up an order.

“The concept is simple,” said Anastasiou. “The customer wants their hands on their stuff and the parcel waits for the customer.”

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