Upsetting customers is one thing, but when they’re brides to be, it’s quite another. The Hut ought to be wary.
Asda is in the news today, and certainly Andy Clarke has a big job on his hands with both its own trading statement and the Kantar data showing that the business is on the back foot. I’ll be tackling Asda in my leader in Friday’s issue, but in short my view is that it’s got it wrong by focussing solely on price in its communication with customers.
It’s online price guarantee is all very well but while it creates the benefit of Asda being allowed to call itself the UK’s lowest priced supermarket, I imagine only price-obsessed geeks are going to the trouble of using the online comparison tool. Product, experience and maybe even a bit of that irreverant fun which Asda used to be known for are the elements it needs to bring back.
On a completely separate note, we talk a lot about the power of social media and if you wanted a sense of how powerful it can be, have a look at this debate on the forum of wedding retailer Confetti, which has been placed into administration by The Hut following its acquisiton of the business from Findel.
What it shows is the strength of the bond between the Confetti staff and their customers, who are ganging up on The Hut amid all the uncertainty about Confetti’s future. I don’t quite get why it hasn’t closed the forum down, because while any shopper worries about unfulfiled orders when a retailer goes bust, brides are probably the one group of shoppers you really don’t want to offend and there are clearly some very anxious customers out there.
Hopefully it will work out, because if not, the furore will be enormous and go way beyond the Confetti forum and the Retail Week blog. But the bad feeling created so far is going to make it very difficult for Confetti to make a comeback.
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