Why we won’t be seeing Uber delivering Tesco orders any time soon

While the supermarket giant is focused on improving the speed of its delivery service, it doesn’t want to lose the opportunity to send Tesco workers into people’s houses.

Tesco isn’t in a rush to go down the Uber route with its online delivery set-up, according to managing director for online Adrian Letts.

Speaking at the IGD Online and Digital Summit today (13 October), Letts praised the “innovation” of companies such as Uber. And with Tesco’s rival M&S now allowing alcohol deliveries through Deliveroo, Letts admitted there have been calls for it to follow suit.

“I hear people say we should we do a one hour delivery offer with something like Uber Eats or Deliveroo, but I think our existing home delivery is already very special,” he said.

“It is the one time customers let a brand ambassador into their house and our drivers can serve as symbols of the Tesco brand. We don’t want to lose that.”

But despite his reluctance, Letts admitted it was only a matter of time before Tesco expanded its delivery options.

“We now do national same-day click and collect, and you’d expect that to go further into one-hour and two-hour deliveries as Tesco is in all UK postcodes. In London you are never more than five minutes away from a Tesco,” he added.

“When we do offer this, we need to do it in a way that’s truly different. Single day delivery isn’t something that will work in every single market.”


Letts wouldn’t be drawn on Tesco’s price fallout with Unilever, which has seen the FMCG giant withdraw iconic brands such as Marmite and Hellmann’s. However, he did say of Tesco’s intentions towards suppliers: “We want to be more humble and ask suppliers what they think and then harness their views. We want them to look at Tesco as a portal to millions of people.”

Following Facebook

One of Letts’ primary aims is to make the Tesco app and online experience more functional and in line with the likes of Facebook. He admitted Tesco could start to integrate features from social media platforms.

He concluded: “Customers are getting used to the interface of Facebook and Uber, and then expecting the same quality experience from Tesco online. So when you think about swiping left or right on things such as BuzzFeed or Tinder, how does that come into play during a shopping trip?

“I also love the Target app in the US, which changes into a store-based app – with maps of the aisles – once a user walks into a Target store. There is a lot we can learn [from others], but for me the number one target revolves around using tech and the rise of mobile to create the most relevant, personal shopping trip possible.”