Asda scraps in-store refillable trials amid “challenging” economics
Source: Mintel 09-07-2024

UK 09-07-2024

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Asda has scrapped its store trials of refillable product stations. The supermarket said it experienced "operational issues and commercial challenges" with its approach to refillable product stations. Asda's research showed that the key barriers, including cost, convenience, cleanliness, and perceived product quality, have prevented customers from engaging with the refill proposition.

Asda had worked to improve communication around its refillable offer, including geotargeted social media ads, in-store signage, and updated digital assets. This did increase awareness, but "the affordability of refill, customer uptake remained low." Asda will scrap the trial in four of its existing stores but intends to introduce new, scalable refill and prefill trials that build on their learnings and improve customer uptake, operational feasibility, and commercial viability.

Mintel comment:

“Economic uncertainty in recent years due to the cost-of-living crisis has caused many to cut back on spending. While consumers aim for an eco-friendly lifestyle, financial worries have hindered this, with 40% finding environmentally-friendly products too expensive (see Mintel’s
Everyday Sustainability, UK -2023 Report). Asda has felt this pressure, ending its refillable trials due to challenges with operational issues, consumer interest and perceptions of affordability, despite 28% of consumers choosing to shop with a retailer over another if they offer refillable stations in-store (see Mintel’s Ethical Retailing, UK - 2023 Report). Consumer concern for the environment is evident, but engagement is more likely if it's affordable, even with its “refill price promise,” Asda introduced two years ago, to ensure refill products are cheaper than their packaged counterparts. When Asda reintroduces its refillable stations, the supermarket can offer incentives/promotions for taking advantage of its stations. It is important for retailers to communicate clearly the benefits of environmentally-friendly offerings like refill stations, but they must also ensure that the climate is right for these offerings and key barriers are addressed.”