Tesco pioneering in the changing face of shopping

Technology changes shopping attitudes and behaviour

By Ross Macintyre – Head of Digital at DECIDE.

Let’s face it, shopping is not what it used to be. It’s been evolving over the last five years as retailers’ gear up for the next generation ‘digital shopper’. With great advancements in technology and accessibility to wifi (mobile being the key driver), it has created a world of ‘connected consumers’ empowered by choice. Right now, online shopping accounts for £1 in every £10, and the trend is set to strength. Therefore, retailers are in a delicate situation where they acknowledge that investment is required in the digital space, whilst in tandem having to re-think their costly bricks and mortar space by staying relevant to shopper’s changing needs.

Tesco embrace changing shopper habits

One retailer that is confronting the dilemma is Tesco, with the introduction of its revamped hypermarket in Watford this week. Introducing a Euphorium bakery, Giraffe restaurant, pizza counter and stronger focus on fresh food, Tesco is creating a community space that encourages shoppers to socialise and shop, and transforms a big grocery box into something more attractive and compelling.

The UK Managing Director for Tesco, Chris Bush, comments on the necessity of staying relevant and fresh to consumers: “Watford represents a fundamental change in the way that people are doing their shopping. More and more of our customers are shopping for leisure; they want to browse for clothes, eat a meal or grab a cup of coffee, as well as do their weekly shop. It offers us a glimpse into what stores of the future might look like and we’re really excited to be sharing that with our customers.”

Tesco’s new in-store proposition is a clear demonstration that innovation is key to engaging and attracting shoppers. Even though online shopping is increasingly becoming the most important channel for grocery sales, it is not going to replace bricks and mortar stores. The key is for online and in-store to work together in offering a complementary and holistic shopping experience.

Tesco was the first to introduce free wifi into their stores nationwide, allowing shoppers to compare products and read reviews as part of their decision making process. Furthermore, Watford’s new hypermarket offers ‘endless aisles’ in categories such as toys, enabling shoppers to order from their full online range and have items delivered to the store’s click-and-collect desk, or to their homes. It demonstrates that Tesco understands that shopping habits are changing, and therefore embracing the change as an opportunity to win the hearts of consumers.

Catering for the Omnishopper

The key to any retailer is catering for the ‘multichannel’ shopper, termed the Omnishopper. It is important to understand that shoppers have an abundance of choice and options at their fingertips, and they expect a seamless, effortless and convenient shopping experience that fits into their lives and their pockets. Innovations such as click-and-collect, endless aisles, virtual shopping walls and pop-up shops are ways to connect the on and offline worlds into a holistic and relevant offering to shoppers. Considering Generation Y (or the digital millennials) will form 75 per cent of the workspace by 2025, and are shaping culture and expectations, Tesco is investing its profits in the right pots.

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