Asda, Britain's second food retailer (trailing Tesco), will trial unmanned pick-up points in 2015 - a first in Great Britain among retailers. The Walmart subsidiary will use Superdirect.com-developed technology.
State-of-the-art Dutch technology
The unmanned units are a remarkable part of ASDA's ambitious plan to become a leading online retailer. The British retailer has mentioned the purchase of particular technology to create the first fully-automated pick-up points in the United Kingdom.
"The state of the art technology has been developed in Holland and sees online food and General Merchandise shopping orders delivered to stand-alone temperature controlled units where customers can collect their purchases at a time that is convenient to them", ASDA stated in a press release.
ASDA did not divulge the supplier, but Henk Niemansverdriet, who developed Superdirect.com's technology with Peter Pompen, confirmed ASDA is collaborating with them. "I cannot comment any further, but it is true we are an ASDA partner."
Expansion of pick-up points
Superdirect.com was declared bankrupt in June, only 9 months after it had launched. Several companies seemed to be interested in a purchase in August and it seems British ASDA has managed to buy the company. Sligro, which owned 37 % of Superdirect.com's shares, denies it is part of this British initiative.
Asda will not only trial unmanned units, but it will also expand its current number of pick-up points. Its store-focused pick-up points will expand from 400 to 600 and the stand-alone pick-up points will reach 200. The number of pick-up points destined for same-day deliveries will be boosted from 250 to 350.
Three new logistics centres
ASDA will close its ASDA Direct web shop in February 2015, which was focused on non-food products from books to garden items and household products. ASDA will move 80 % of that range of products to George.com, which will turn into a lifestyle web shop.
All those changes are part of a five-year plan ASDA launched last year in an attempt to become the leading online retailer in the United Kingdom. To enable all this logistically, ASDA will build three online logistics centres in the next few years.