Tesco buys into big data to make marketing more personalised

Tesco has bought big data technology firm Sociomantic as it looks for ways to improve its Clubcard loyalty programme and make its marketing more personalised. 

Tesco Clubcard
Tesco buys into big data to make marketing more personalised

The deal, carried out by Tesco subsidiary Dunnhumby, will see Sociomantic combine its data on 700 million online shoppers with Dunnhumby’s insights into 400 million customers to create an “unprecedented” database of more than a billion people. Sociomantic runs a programmatic digital advertising service, buying and selling online ads via an automated process. Details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Simon Hay, Dunnhumby’s chief executive, says the acquisition will allow Tesco to improve its online marketing to offer a better experience for consumers and advertisers.

He adds: “Our strategic priority is to engage consumers and earn their loyalty wherever they shop, in-store and online, with personalised communications that are valuable and meaningful. Our observed campaigns to date have shown that increased relevance leads to significantly better engagement and response rates. Doing that at a scale of more than a billion people is unprecedented.”

Tesco’s Clubcard scheme is run by Dunnhumby. It also works with brands including Coca-Cola and Macy’s on loyalty programmes and data collection on shopping habits in stores and online.

Tesco is looking at ways to improve its Clubcard loyalty scheme as shoppers increasingly head online and to mobile. It has already announced plans to launch a “digital Clubcard” that will allow customers to personalise their loyalty programmes and earn and redeem points and vouchers in store via their mobile device, rather than through a plastic card and paper vouchers.

Clubcard is key for Tesco as it attempts to turnaround the business, which is losing market share and saw sales over Christmas decline by 2.4 per cent on a like for like basis. Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke unveiled a ten point turnaround plan in February to help it keep up with changing shopping habits and regain market share lost to rivals.