Tesco bids to be ‘more Google-esque’

Tesco is trying to be more “Google-esque” in the way it approaches digital marketing and innovation as part of the supermarket’s efforts to change its culture and improve its business.

Tesco virtual shop

The supermarket has been hosting regular “hackathons” since last summer and opened offices in Shoreditch in a bid to embrace “entrepreneurial spirit” and make sure it remains at the forefront of the retail industry.

Speaking at the British Retail Consortium omnichannel conference in London, yesterday (5 March), Ian Crook digital marketing director, said: “We try and be a bit Google-esque in the way we run [hackathons]. It’s not quite there yet but the innovation culture is how you change your business.

“We’re just learning. I’m not saying we’ve cracked it but just seeing ideas come out of it – half may fail and half may be successful – but that’s how we’ll learn truly what retail is going to be like in the next few years because I don’t think anyone really knows.”

“I think that’s where the world is going and you have to encourage more entrepreneurial spirit to go and do these things. We [Tesco] struggle with that – we’re a big organisation and it’s slightly counter intuitive sometimes,” he says.

While many of Tesco’s innovations have come directly from leveraging new technologies, Crook says many others such as drive through grocery collection or the ‘My Usuals’ list on its online grocery service, have come from an individual having the bravery to convince the business to test out a new idea.

Crook told Marketing Week: “It’s more of a mindset thing to be honest, it’s not about developing products. We’re only just getting started but it’s like all these things – you have to do something to change the culture as much as changing what you’re doing. It’s the can-do [attitude].”