A promise should be a promise

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It’s old news that consumers are getting more savvy and forcing retail marketers to be cleverer in their strategies but by backing out of its double the difference deal, Tesco seems to think shoppers are getting a bit too savvy.

Much as the media like to paint Tesco as the bad guy, the truth is that it’s not. Tesco does offer a good deal for consumers. On the whole it offers choice, prices, promotions and quality that consumers can trust whether it is from the basics range, mid range or Finest, food or non-food.

But the supermarket is wrong for going back on its promise to give shoppers double the difference on any items they find cheaper at Asda, and has shot itself in the foot.

Tesco shouts loudly about everything the business does being for the benefit of consumers and to help savvy shoppers get the best deal. This is particularly true since the start of the recession, when things became a bit more price driven in the supermarket sector.

When Asda launched its price guarantee last year, and more recently its 10% price promise, Tesco among others, was quick to denounce the offer as a gimmick and claim that it ripped off consumers.

Tesco very quickly launched its retaliation in the form of the Daily Dozen and its double the difference pledge to honour and double Asda’s 10% cheaper promise.

No sooner had it made the promise than these very same savvy shoppers that Tesco claims to be supporting took advantage of the generous offer by finding a number of high price items that were cheaper in Asda. Under the terms of its own deal, Tesco found itself paying out on double the difference claims worth £100.

First it limited the claims to under £20. Now it will only give back the price difference.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too Tesco. If you publicly say that the deal you’re introducing is to benefit consumers that you claim are being ripped off by a rival, it’s somewhat hypocritical to withdraw it because consumers are benefiting from it, more that you had envisioned.

It screams that Tesco was too reactive in its approach to the deal, too quick to shout down Asda’s strategy and overlooked the logistics of its own strategy.

A clear lesson to Tesco, and the rest of the highly competitive sector, that it’s always better to follow what the customer wants, not what the competition is doing.

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