Tesco: ‘UK is quite boring when it comes to online food shopping’

Tesco’s online director says UK consumers are creatures of habit when it comes to online food shopping, leaving the grocer with a challenge to ensure it creates an easy shopping experience but can also provide some inspiration.

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Speaking at IGD’s online and digital summit in London today (19 November), Tesco’s online grocery development director Danielle Papagapiou said that while Tesco is looking to build engaging content into its ecommerce experience its priority is to design for the “hugely habitual nature” of consumers’ food shopping.

“The UK nation is really quite boring when it comes to food. Thinking about what people put in their basket, a lot of this is routine behaviour. We have to design for that.

“Not only that, we find customers sitting down to make an order at the same time and asking for the order at the same time. The habit and the nature of that experience, that rhythm, has to be part of everything we design,” she said.

With that in mind, Tesco revamped the iPad experience earlier this year to put “the things that matter to the customer at the heart of the journey”. The redesign is “simple and clean”, focusing on a customer’s delivery options, favourite products and the promotions they like.

Papagapiou admitted Tesco has “panicked” when it launched because there wasn’t a lot of trading space or room to communicate about all the promotions and other events going on. However, she claimed it had led to a “transformation” in engagement levels, with increased interactions, frequency of contact and value spend.

“They [customers] are rewarding us with more spend and more loyalty.

“They are using us like the list on the fridge. That is wonderful behaviour. If we can build that kind of relationship, that is the space where you have permission to start to provide inspiration, recommendation and new ideas,” she added.

Proving it can make shopping online with Tesco “easy and convenient” then gives the grocer the opportunity to show more content and to communicate what else is going on with the brand, said Papagapiou. She added that Tesco is looking to move away from “static content” to putting relevant content in the customer journey at the right time.

Tesco is looking at how it can work with external partners on this, holding its first digital summit last week. Other priorities include improving targeting, showing up relevant content based on what people are searching for.

Despite troubles in the wider Tesco group, the retailer’s online business is performing strongly with sales up 11% in its most recent quarter. However that is behind rivals such as Ocado, which posted an increase of 15.5%, and Asda on 19.6%.

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