‘Chosen by You’, ‘Aisle Spy’ and ‘Bright Ideas’ mark the beginning of chief executive Andy Bond’s long-term strategy of how Asda can engage with the new “democratic consumer” and will provide the opportunity for significant marketing activity. They will launch next year.
Bond says that at the centre of his vision of “democratic consumerism” is the need to invite consumers into the heart of the business and let them dictate how Asda operates.
From January, consumers can become part of an already 18,000 strong customer panel that will be given access to products before they are launched in-store, giving them a direct influence on buying decisions.
“Chosen by You is the start of a new open-door policy where customers will be consulted,” he says adding that the initiative “is not a token gesture.”
As part of the supermarket’s social networking site Your Asda which was launched in August, the supermarket is introducing ‘Aisle Spy’ a set of no-holds-barred blogs from 14 Asda colleagues and live webcams within its operations.
The additions are designed to create a two-way dialogue between customers and the organisation and show them what is going on behind the scenes.
With ‘Bright Ideas’, Asda seeks to reward customers for their ideas if they go on to save the business money.
It could potentially see customers given 5% of the money saved as a result of their suggestion.
By drawing the customer into the process Bond hopes to empower consumers, rebuild trust and earn long-term loyalty.
“I believe customer loyalty cannot be bought with plastic points or discount vouchers, it has to be earned.
Hitting out against rivals recent pushes into loyalty programmes such as Tesco’s Double Points and Sainsbury’s money off vouchers he adds: “Trust is a much bigger factor in where and how you shop than whether you have a loyalty card.”
Bond also revealed plans for a “truly transparent store” which will open in South Wales in 2010 where brick walls will be replaced by glass letting customers see what is going on in areas usually kept out of sight.