How Britain’s biggest retailer can become a leader again.
Things can only get better from here.
As you embark on a brighter future, we’d love to help the nation fall in love with you again. Britain needs you to be a healthy, thriving and growing business. Here’s how you might start.
Start innovating again
We all shop the way we do because of you. From 24 hour opening and Clubcard through to own label and flexible formats, you pioneered many of the innovations we now take for granted. You made these things the new normal. You need to reassert yourself as a leader. Focus on what you do best and what you can do that’s game-changing again. Stop chasing the coattails of others.
Stop talking about price
Because you’re never going to beat Aldi and Lidl. All you’ll do is beat yourself by driving down margins and further destroying how people perceive your brand. The race to the bottom is super-fast. Climbing back up again will be slow and painful. For starters, you should get a better grip on your own label brands to punch out quality at every level, just like you used to. And relaunch Clubcard to establish a deeper, more meaningful loyalty with customers.
Think bigger than value
When you created ‘every little helps’ it was different and distinctive. But it just doesn’t feel right any more. Now everyone owns a piece of value — Waitrose through its Essentials range and Aldi through its cheap is smart feel. It’s time to get a new and bigger idea to engage shoppers.
Do something meaningful for your customers
When did you last do something that really delighted customers and got them talking about you positively. They want more than cheap. It’s just not enough in a world of price checkers, price matchers and discounters. How about 20-minute home shopping delivery slots, surprise loyalty treats at the checkout or carefully curated food offerings in partnership with Britain’s finest chefs and producers. Just a couple of thoughts to get you started.
Have some fun
You feel a little tired and lacking in love. It shows in how your stores look and how your people interact with customers. When you were at your best a little while ago you looked like you were enjoying it and having fun serving customers. You need to get that feeling back.
Re-energise your culture
It starts with your people. They’ll be hurting from the battering you’re taking in your numbers and in the press. You’ll need them if you’re going to turn things around. Give them a reason to believe in you again. Articulate a clear strategy and direction and inspire them to make it real. A purpose driven culture will lead to happier, more loyal customers.
Don’t waste money on store refits
You’ve been spending a lot of money on doing up your stores but most people can’t tell. It’s not enough to make them operationally better; you need to punch out a distinctive and desirable customer experience from top to bottom. How can you own unique, memorable moments that gets people coming back again and again?
Work with interesting partners
Don’t try to do everything alone. In fashion, in food and beyond you could team up with cool brands and collaborators to rejuvenate your offering and sharpen up your brand. And make some of them out of your comfort zone because playing it safe isn’t working.
But most of all, answer the question “what is Tesco for?”
John Humphreys asked your old Chief Executive this question on Radio Four last year and he couldn’t answer it. You’ve become a victim of trying to be all things to all people, and until you can explain why the world needs you and start putting it into practice, you’ll continue to struggle.
This post is also featured on venturethree.com