Asda Switches Onto TV Shopping With Sky Active

“I led the development of Asda’s interactive TV shopping proposition, the largest and one of the first in the world”


The Grocer: 2 February 2002

GrocerarticleAsda director of new channels lain Spence said he was confident TV shopping would take off this year:

“Interactive TV is a medium that has been waiting for a top quality, user friendly shopping service to finally take it into the main stream, and that’s exactly what we are.”

Sky Active, The interactive TV service from Sky digital, has more than 5.5m customers and Asda expects to reach at east 60% of them by the end of the year as it rolls out its store-based fulfilment model.

Although the site is integrated into Asda’s e-commerce system, offering the same products and delivery slots as those enjoyed by cybershoppers, the shopping experience is quite different, said Spence.

“It’s all about big chunky graphics, and easy manoeuvrability about the site. You have to be able to do everything you want with a standard Sky handset.”

He dismissed suggestions that TV shopping was an expensive bandwagon that Asda had jumped on after Tesco and Iceland had entered the fray. Argos and Woolworths both abandoned their digital shopping activities through the Sky platform last week, blaming low take up and high costs, but

Spence stressed Asda was offering a “very different proposition”.

“On the standard shopping platform, you could only offer a few hundred products. We’re offering up to 11,000.”

“Demand for our Internet shopping service is growing all the time. Sales growth year-on-year is 150%. Because we’ve been focused on London, this is really a like for-like figure, so we’re very encouraged.”

He declined to comment on how much it had cost to set up and subsequently shut down its picking centres but defended the experiment:

“All the theory used to point to warehouse picking being the right model.” Asda has not released any sales figures, customer numbers or indications of when it expects its e-commerce activities to break even, but Spence stressed there was a “clear business case” underpinning them.