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Tesco and ASDA Across EU

June 4, 2010

The observation last time in London was more based on only one sensory– sight, which relatively put the limits on my effective observation through various angles. ASDA is the second largest retailer chain after Tesco in UK. The ASDA in London is quite price-oriented.

ASDA's Hallway - London

Walking down the main hallway in ASDA, the first thing I saw was the huge price signs along the two sides, rather than the category signs usually. The signs are in red and yellow, which are quite stand-out in the market. Also, in the clothes category, on each piece of cloth, it had a price-tag glued on the top. Most consumers shopping there are middle-aged and elder people, who are mostly price-sensitive. This is one of the most important reasons that ASDA target the audience with the slogan “Saving your money every day.”

Besides the point-of-sale displays in ASDA, which reflects its positioning as Britain’s most affordable supermarket, ASDA’s advertising campaigns also accord with its core value. For example, in the “ASDA price” campaign, customers tap their trouser pocket twice, producing a ‘chinking’ sound as the coins that ASDA’s low prices have supposedly left in their pockets knock together (http://www.tellyads.com/show_movie.php?filename=TA2532&advertiser=ASDA). Also in 2009, Asda TV commercials focused on price comparisons between Asda and its rivals through comparison advertising strategy.

Compared with the ethnography observation in ASDA and Tesco in London, the ethnography training in Tesco in Prague involved with the observation through five senses rather than just one.

Tesco in Prague is much bigger than the one we went to in London. It has two floors, one floor for grocery shopping and the second floor for other life necessities, like TV, clothes, cosmetics, bicycles, lawn mowers, etc.

There are two interesting points I want to talk about here. The most appealing thing in Tesco in Prague is the smell from the food, including bread, fish, bacon, which is rather different from Tesco in London. Here, consumers could see and smell the live fishes in the huge fishing jar. They can touch and smell the bread. From the perspective of Czech people, most of them shopping there are middle-class. They are concerned about the price and quality of the products. So the open displays of the food are able to provide them an opportunity to “measure” and feel the features of the products.

Also, grocery shopping is likely to be regarded as one part of family agendas. There is a number of mothers shopping with their kids. Occasionally, I can hear the screaming and crying of the kids. The emotions connected with family in hypermarket definitely plays a vital role in purchasing behaviors and decisions.  And the smell of food is able to intrigue consumers’ memory with family. For myself, when I was closer to the fishing jar, the smell of the stinky fish actually inspires my memory for the grocery shopping experience with my mom in Shanghai. I projected a picture of the market I used to go to with her in Shanghai.

On the other hand, when I was waiting for check out, I noticed that there is a large group of consumers using their own green bags or backpacks rather than the plastic bags from Tesco. I’m not sure how is the connection with Czech culture. But it’s quite different from consumers’ shopping habits in Tesco in London. I can guess that maybe the concern about environmental sustainability is also one component of Czech people’s daily lives.  As living in central Europe, they wish that they could make full use of the limited resources and make their lives better.

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