Asda shoppers get Chinese Democracy on new product vote
Hats off to Asda. Andy mentioned a few months ago about Asda's CEO believing in a "new era of democracy".
Staying true to that concept, Asda are now implementing the idea, in the form of letting UK consumers help choose which items to stock in their stores from this autumn.
The Grocer reports that CMO (chief merchandising officer) Rick Bendel will get Asda staff to snap pics of non-food stuff during their Chinese buying trips. Then, along with a description of the items, 1,000 consumers registered on their 'Pulse of the Nation' panel will get to vote for what items to stock.
Bendel, recently promoted by Asda parent Wal-Mart to head up international marketing outside the US, explained that this new move will be used mainly for "non-perishable products with long-lead times", such as gifts and clothes.
He said: “When our buyers in China are buying products nine months in advance, we will give them a phone, they will take a picture of the product and email it to customers and 1,000 customers will vote on whether we buy it.”
But could 1,000 people represent the wants and needs of an entire nation, let alone second-guess what will be big in nine months time? Or could this "consumer focused" agenda shift the way supermarkets choose to involve the consumer, perhaps eventually spawning a 'Supermarket 2.0' approach to shopping? Clever crowd-sourcing or pointless guff? Share your thoughts below.