Asda open door policy gives consumers a powerful voice

Supermarket’s three initiatives aim to embrace ‘democratic consumerism’. By Rosie Baker

Asda has revealed three initiatives that aim to put the customer at the heart of the supermarket chain’s decision-making process.

“Chosen by You”, “Aisle Spy” and “Bright Ideas” mark the start of chief executive Andy Bond’s long-term strategy of how Asda can engage with the new “democratic consumer” and will launch next year.

Bond says that at the centre of his vision of “democratic consumerism” is the need to invite shoppers into the heart of the business and let them dictate how Asda operates.

From January, the supermarket’s customer panel will be expanded and members will have 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,” says Bond, adding that the initiative “is not a token gesture”.

As part of the retailer’s social networking site Your Asda, the supermarket is introducing “Aisle Spy” a set of no-holds-barred blogs and live webcams.

And “Bright Ideas” aims to reward customers for their ideas if they go on to save the business money. It could potentially see customers given 5% of the cash saved as a result of their suggestion.

By drawing the customer into the process, Bond hopes to empower consumers, build trust and create long-term loyalty. “Customer loyalty cannot be bought with plastic points or discount vouchers, it has to be earned,” he says.

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