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After reading another article regarding the increasing popularity of home shopping, I decided to take the plunge and give it a go. I started off with buying a few gifts last christmas from various websites and I've become what some people might think more lazy as the year's gone on, to a point where I decided to get my groceries on-line too.
I've always shopped at Asda, so they were my first choice when it came to deciding which on-line grocers to use. The items are always fresh and I believe you get good value for money. I was however a bit anxious with not knowing what to expect when my first order arrived, would it be the type of products not fit to go on a shelf and would it be all nearly out of date?
HOMEPAGE Asda.co.uk is the address to type into your search bar and you then find yourself at Asda's homepage. The first thing that hits you is the colour green across the top and down the left side of the page. You have a lot of options to choose from the homepage, across the top there are links for things like groceries, financial services, store locators, contact procedures, customer services etc. Down the left side of the page, you've pretty much got the same things across the top except for product and company information. Then in the middle of the screen, you will find the same things again but in a more colourful style. Choose the link that's best suited to you and you'll find what you are looking for quite quickly.
DELIVERY AREA I obviously chose the groceries link and from here you are presented with a screen asking you to log in. For first time customers, there is a box on the left side of the screen that is titled 'New Customers' with a blue background. In the box, it's asking for you to enter your postcode so you can check if they deliver in your area. If you are already registered, you need to enter you ID and password in the box on the right.
REGISTRATION Hopefully a new screen will open saying 'Great news! We deliver to your area' You then have to enter your personal details and set up a pin number to register. Once this is complete, you will be given a customer ID number.
LOGGING ON You can use your customer ID number to log on when you visit the site or you can use your email address. You must however remember the pin number you entered when you registered. If you forget this number, there is a option for you to click the 'forgotten pin number' link and a reminder will be sent to your email address.
GROCERY SECTION Once you've entered your ID and pin, you are then taken to a new screen where you are literally stood in the middle of the shop. On the left side of the screen you will see all the different types of aisle's listed. Above this there is a search box for you to type what you are looking for if you aren't sure what aisle a certain product might be found in. In the middle of the screen, there is a large box asking what you would like to do. If you have any orders scheduled to be delivered, you'll find these at the top in a red colour, and you have an option of amending it. You can book a deliver slot, amend your details or see what you have ordered in the past.
SHOPPING LIST Above this box, there are some links for any offers that might be on, new products and Evouchers(i'll explain these later). If you click on the "my favourites" link, you can create your own shopping list. The shopping list works a bit like how you buy the products but instead of you putting them in your shopping basket, you put them on your shopping list. When you've found the item you are looking for, click the empty box next to the item to place a tick inside, then click on the 'add to list' tab and it will add it to your list. You have to give your list a name because you can create as many lists as you like. The idea of having a list is again to make it easier for you when you place more orders.
SHOPPING BASKET To buy products, you need to put them in your shopping basket. You'll find you shopping basket on the right side of the screen. It shows you what you have ordered, the prices and any offers that may be applicable. To place items in your shopping basket, you simply find what you are looking for and then to the right of the product, there is the box for you to add it to your list. To the right of this box there is an option for you to increase/decrease the quantity of the item you want to order. Underneath this there is a yellow box that says 'add', click this and your item will be put in your shopping basket. When you are looking at the items, an offers that maybe on will be shown by a red 'M' link underneath the item. Click on this and it tells you what the deal is and when it expires.
CHECKING OUT When you have finished your shopping, you need to checkout. Under your shopping basket, there is a green box that highlights the 'go to checkout' option. When you click on this you firstly need to book your delivery slot. I'll explain this in the next section. Once you are happy with your delivery arrangements, you then need to enter your payment details in the secure area and check the delivery address is correct. You'll also find a list of everything that you have ordered, but don't worry if you remember something at a later stage because you have up until the day before delivery for you to amend your order. Down towards the bottom of the screen, you get asked whether you will accept any substitutes for items that you have ordered but are out of stock at the time of delivery. Simply click yes or no. When you've entered all the details needed, there is a tab at the bottom for you to select that says 'confirm order', click this and the jobs done.
DELIVERY SLOTS Either before or after you checkout, you need to select a delivery slot. This all depends on where you live and you'll be shown what days they deliver to your area. They deliver everyday to most areas so this shouldn' t be a problem. Once you've chosen your day, you need to select a time. For my area I'm given a choice of either 9.00-11.001, 11.00-13.00, 13.00-15.00, 15.00-17.00, 17.00-19.00,19.00-21.00. Whether these times are the same across the country, I don't know. But as you can see you have a good choice the only drawback is some slots especially on a weekend get booked up very quickly. If you book a delivery slot before checking out, they will only reserve it for you for three hours. If you don't checkout in this time, they will make it available for other people to book.
CHARGES You get charged for the prices at the time of delivery not at the time when you were ordering. Any offers that start/finish will also be reflected in the price you get charged. If you spend over £50 then delivery is free. If you spend under this amount, then you will get charged £5.95. This is one of the negative points about using Asda. Last week my order came to £55 and so naturally I wasn't charged for delivery. Unfortunately when it was time to deliver my shopping, they had sold out of some items making the total price less than the £50 quoted, I therfore got charged the delivery fee which came to nearly the price I was quoted in the first place.
EVOUCHERS Evouchers are like gift vouchers. You will be sometimes sent Evouchers either by email or post. An Evoucher contains a code which you can enter in the checking out process and this will be then reflected in your bill.
TERMS OF CONDITIONS/HELP There is a link at the top of the site all the time for you to read the terms and conditions and another if you need any help. There is also a customer service section which gives you a phone number for you to ring if you have any difficulties.
So I've now been using the site for 5 weeks now. I've only had one delivery problem which was a result of my frozen items been nearly completly defrosted. If you do have any problems like this, tell the delivery driver if he is still there or ring the customer services and they will refund you the money.