Thursday, 9 December 2010

Tesco: every second counts

I was reading a piece about Tesco on Yahoo! Finance this morning.

As part of its Clubcard scheme where customers earn points on supermarket purchases, including non-food items, it had launched its Big Clubcard Voucher Exchange back in November. Customers had the chance over the next four weeks of doubling their points by exchanging special vouchers before the closing date of 5th December.

Tesco not only made great play of the vouchers being applicable to a much wider range of items but that vouchers could also be exchanged online. They expected a steady but even flow of voucher exchanges over the four weeks of the scheme. Of course, given the sense of retail omnipresence these days, many shoppers left it until the last minute (literally) causing long queues in supermarkets, slow online response times and eventually the collapse of the entire Tesco website.

As in my last post on online shopping a lot of shoppers today perceive that online servers are uniformly available 24/7. They're not. Online shopping processing speeds depend on online traffic - you just don't have to try and park the car first. If £831,000 can be spent online in one minute how could Tesco not have planned for a possible shopping peak at the expiry date of its voucher scheme?

Perhaps they will learn some lessons about digital before running the scheme again, or is it just basic sales promotion? As they say, every second counts.

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