Newest Review: ... included the weight of the lemon - admittedly not a huge amount, but was this a genuine mistake? On one occasion I was ... more
Member Name: ryanando
Advantages: It's cheaper than most other places, cupboard check as you shop. less spontanious trolley adding
Disadvantages: wasted time, wasted products, terrible service.
---Do do do do do---
For the last little while I've been incredibly skint. Something about throwing your weird flatmate out on her backside will do that to you. Totally worth it though. In the meantime, the upshot of that decision is that I've thought of one million and ten schemes to get rich quick or at least save a bit of cash. The first of which was online shopping. More specifically doing the mundane shopping for boring things like carrots online. Ok so carrots aren't the most boring thing on the planet, that's Cheryl Cole's job, but you get the point.
Since I usually brave my life and limb going to the dive which is my local Asda, I decided to continue a tradition and let them deal with my first foray into online convenience. Since I don't have anything similar to compare it to, you will simply have to accept my experience and impressions. Smack your loose change and carry on.
---Asda Green should never be seen...---
Similar to the store, the website is the fabulously glaring Asda Green and that not-quite-white white. It's ugly. I don't like it. Pick better colours Asda. The browser is split into two, one side where your trolley items show and the other side to browse through the categories and items. Sounds fairly simple and it really is. Unfortunately it's a bit too simple and should really be tweaked to make it a bit more user friendly.
If you like to use your scroll ball on your mouse to navigate, this site becomes a bit of a pain while it tries to decide if you want to scroll your trolley side or the main page. Becomes a bit of a nuisance if you want to go back and forward between items and check stuff.
Still haven't found what I'm looking for
More annoying than anything else, however, is the search facilities. You can either manually click through a million and ten different categories that make no sense unless you spend a lot of time familiarising yourself with them or you can use the search bar.
If you do choose this abomination of a search bar, you will need to find the exact phrase that Asda has used to hide your goodies. As an example: I quite like Corn on the Cob. You know, the little frozen half cob things? Yes, them. So I type in Corn on the Cob. Sweetcorn comes up. Gross. A million other things come up. Gross. Even things that are loosely connected by daring to use the words "on" and "the" come up. But no corn on the cob. So I try Frozen Sweetcorn, which brings up pretty much the same list and everything else that's in the freezer department. I type Sweet Corn and walla, I finally find frozen mini cobs! Success. Really failure tainted success. Not every item is THAT difficult to find mind you. Just annoying that a lot of them are.
---Just a little bit. Just a little bit more---
My next annoyance with the site is that when you are searching for an item it does tend to bring up a giant selection. Not a bad thing in itself except that each page only shows you a set amount of items. You have no options to choose how many items are displayed on each page meaning you get about 8 or 9 pages to tab through making the whole process a bit slow.
---Whats it all about, Asda?---
Still going with my review slash rant, the information they give you about the products isn't always full or informative. Sometimes the important bits are in tiny writing (a middle class crime if ever I've seen one). This can lead to thinking you've just got an awesome deal on something like shampoo and then realising once it shows up that you've just bought three travel sized bottles for the same price as one big one. It can also lead to not being able to plan for your meals effectively. Just last night I was struggling to see how many slices of bacon were in a pack I was buying. The picture was too small and it didn't say in the item description. And yes, I need to know, otherwise I won't buy enough to cook certain things like chicken wrapped in bacon (three slices each, plus another for wrapping round a bit of cheese, sounds bizarre but try it!)
---Helpful... or not.---
Another annoying area of the site is the section under which you can store your favourite items in a list. Each item has a quantity box to say how many you'd like and a tick box so you can whizz through the list ticking what you need and then hit the Add to Trolley button. Unfortunately if you want to change the quantity, rather than simply updating the quantity boxes, the whole page reloads. This means that if you've went through your list ticking what you need then notice that you need to change the quantity of an item, your entire list will be refreshed, removing all of your ticks. It's the same on every browser and computer I've used and its one of the most annoying things on the planet.
Further to this, Asda regularly tell you after you've ordered that some of the items you have ordered "aren't available for your delivery slot" even if the store still has them. Some items have a slight packaging change and this means that anything on your list that has changed even just the colour of the box is no longer a valid item to buy. It would make more sense if Asda automatically replaced the new item when the packaging changed, but it doesn't.
---Do they deliver?---
Once you've battled your way through your main shopping list, you need to select a delivery slot. You have a choice of a 2 hour slot for around £5 or an 8 hour slot for £2.50. Personally I feel if you are waiting in for a whole 8 hours your delivery should be free, especially if you are spending quite a bit of money. You won't get any notifications as to when they are coming at any point on the 8 hour slots either, unlike some companies who'll phone in the morning or an hour before etc. The two hour slots are a bit more accurate but a bit pricey. There was one occasion where I'd decided to go for a two hour slot and the delivery was an hour late with no phonecall. It was the last slot of the day and as the store manager had gone home, their customer service dept couldn't even tell me where it was.
---Packing a punch---
If and when your shopping arrives, hopefully it will be better packed than mine was. On three occasions, kitchen and bathroom items that are quite dangerous were packed with vegetables and other food stuffs. On two occasions, chemicals had spilled out in the bags (once it was Raid, an insecticide and once it was a strong scented shower gel) making the food it was packed with un-useable. Another incident occurred when they had packed tins in a bag that had a giant rip in the side. I've since noticed that quite a lot of the bags arrive damaged which could lead to your items falling onto the floor when you pick the bags up. Needless to say, their packing abilities left a lot to be desired.
Asda, like others, offer a service where if the product you order isn't available, they will substitute it for you. You can opt out of this completely if you wish or just select the items that you don't want substituted. After having 3 items substituted, I'd suggest if you want to use them, not to let them substitute anything. Apes have done better work matching up suitably pared items when offered a banana. As an example: I regularly get the 8 packs of tortilla wraps. If you like wraps, you'll know that every supermarket on the planet has about 20 types of wraps to choose from. You'd suspect you'd get another type of wrap if they were out of the ones you chose? You'd be wrong. Instead of 8 wraps, I received 2 Nan breads. Why? Because they were the same brand. Excuse me while I bang my head off the desk.
So does Asda's home delivery service have any good points? It's usually cheaper. Even Asda are confident of that. If your shop isn't 10% cheaper than the four other leading supermarkets, you will get a voucher to cover the difference.
It also helps make sure you don't get a tonne of duplicate items as you can check your cupboards as you go. Another upside is that you tend not to impulse buy on the junk food either because you can't see, which means less in your basket and more in your wallet.
I can't really sing the praises of their customer services, despite having refunded a couple of the delivery charges when items have been missing or late. They also gave us a £50 voucher to use on the website, however, this was only after 3 deliveries had turned up broken, bathed in chemicals, late or other and my boyfriend had spent no less than 2 hours on the phone to 6 different people, a couple of which managed to "accidentally" hang up on him.
---Where do we go from here?---
So, as you can tell, I'm not overly impressed with Asda. I'd actually prefer going to the store myself, it would cost less in petrol than delivery charges and it would take less time than waiting in. It does leave me open to the dangers of spontaneous junk food and muggings from the other clientele, however I think I'd rather put up with that than the shoddy online service. I'm going to give them one star for being cheap and another for the vouchers you get when your shopping's not cheaper in Asda. Two stars. Not brilliant. When I have a bit of spare money, I'll be swapping all of my main shopping to somewhere else. In the meantime, I might just try doing my shopping in a few different, even cheaper places.
Summary: A supermarket whose online service leaves much to be desired.