Tesco to open its website to third party applications

Tesco encourages customers to contribute to its digital strategy as it moves towards an open platform.

The grocery giant, which in April said it earned £1.9bn from online last year, wants developers to create new ways to sell across digital platforms and earn commission after opening up its API.

First revealed by new media age last October (nma 30 October 2008), the grocery giant has said it sees the future of its online offering as an open platform to which anyone can contribute.

Developers who create a new sales channels that is implemented by Tesco will earn commission from sales made for the lifetime of that application.

For example, a recipe app could be developed for a food site which places ingredients in your basket which can be ordered without needing to visit Tesco.com.

Tesco, along with its digital agency EMC Conchango, Microsoft and Nesta, is inviting developers to an open day – T-Jam – in August, to introduce them to the initiative.

Nick Lansley, Tesco.com head of research and development and head of special projects, told nma, “We’re opening up our affiliate programme to allow people to develop for whatever device they want – whether it’s a website, mobile phone or set-top box – and make money for each new customer that comes to us as a result.”

“The reason we’re doing this is that, although we have lots of ideas, we don’t necessarily have the resources to do them ourselves,” he added. “So the new API allows developers to write whatever they want, benefit us but also make money off the back of it.”

The announcement comes as Tesco prepares to move its web operations onto a new platform, two years in development and codenamed Project Martini, which Lansley said will provide a solid base for future online development.

“It’s allowing us to plug in new things that we could do in the future more easily, and opening up the API is a prime example of that,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily about new features – not initially – but about making it easier for them to be included in the future,” he says. “We want to stop having to say no when someone has a great idea for how to sell to customers; this means we can say yes.”

In April Tesco.com said sales increased by 20% year on year, as the supermarket posted record group annual profits of £3.1bn.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here