Tesco is at it again, announcing this week that it has launched the nation’s first drive-thru grocery service. Is there anything that Tesco won’t try?
This is the kind of initiative that splits opinion. There are those on one side that believe it’s a ludicrous idea that will never work while others know that it’s exactly because it’s ludicrous it might work.
While some will claim that Tesco’s latest bright idea plays into the hands of lazy people who can’t be bothered to shop for themselves – but that same argument was probably once applied to online grocery shopping and now there are businesses, such as Ocado, that exist purely as online grocers.
Two years ago, Boots opened the first drive-thru chemist targeting very much the same kind of time-poor consumers. It was a new concept for the UK but it’s not an unusual site in the US, where there are around 3,000 drive-thru pharmacies.
The drive-thru has already been criticised because it will only pick up marginal sales. as it’s unrealistic and not feasible at every store. But Tesco isn’t trialling it to see if it will be the next big driver of its business.
Tesco’s core business is unshakable and something like this will not make or break the bottom line, it’s merely another string to the retailer’s bow.
What Tesco’s initiatives, such as the “Buy One Get one Free Later” scheme that allows shoppers to claim the second free item at a later date, and the drive-thru do is add value for small numbers of its shoppers, and Tesco does it because it can.
For the single mum of three that needs to do the family shop while working, and getting all three children to school and various after school activities, it means she no longer has to take the children shopping with her, or carve several hours out of her day to wait at home for the delivery.
To the young professional working long hours and juggling social and professional commitments, it is the difference between a trip to Tesco being a chore and it being something that makes life a little more simple.
It is a customer-focussed service that means shoppers can dictate how and when they interact with Tesco.
As consumers, we are more time poor than ever. By giving the oh-so-simple gift of time to a handful of shoppers with a convenient service, Tesco is further embedding itself into their lives, and with that comes yet more loyalty.