Industry

Tesco to expand Click and Collect to groceries

Tesco shoppers will soon be able to collect their online grocery orders at the store, one a series of new multichannel innovations unveiled by its new chief executive Philip Clarke when he addressed the British Retail Consortium’s annual retail symposium. In his speech he also put the emphasis on the importance of stores to the future of retail.

Consumers will soon be able to Click and Collect their Tesco grocery and fashion shopping.

From July, shoppers will be able to collect their online fashion buys from their local supermarket, while online grocery orders will also become available for collection.

The move is one of a string of new multichannel innovations announced by the supermarket group’s newly installed chief executive Philip Clarke in his keynote speech to the British Retail Consortium’s annual retail symposium.

He told the symposium that by the end of the year Click and Collect would also be available for non-food items from twice as many stores.

By the end of the year,” he said, “we will be doubling the number of stores with non-food Click and Collect to 600 so that many more customers don’t have to wait in for a delivery and importantly in July we are adding clothing to our Click and Collect service.

“Not only that, following a successful trial we are going to expand the service into grocery shopping, making it even easier for shoppers and making still better use of our stores.”

Last year the company trialled a drive-through shopping service (pictured) at its Baldock Extra store in Hertfordshire. There shoppers bought their groceries online, booked a Click and Collect delivery option and paid £2 for the picking and packing service, before collecting in the Tesco car park. It has not yet been confirmed how the new Click and Collect scheme will operate, however.

Clarke’s keynote speech to the BRC was a powerful vote in favour of multichannel retailing, with an emphasis of the importance of high street stores to a “converged” future in which the internet and smartphones were key to the way consumers buy.

“New retailing does not spell the end of shopping in stores,” he said. “Virtual reality will never beat the physical experience of picking something up in a shop, feeling it, comparing it with other products on the shelf. Satisfying, reassuring, pleasurable – despite the digital revolution, people will always want to go to the shops.

“But in this multichannel world, where there is so much information, choice and competition, successful retailers online and on the high street will be those who understand the power of brands in building customers’ trust.”

Clarke hailed multichannel as the future of retail, which he said was in a “new era” that offered both great opportunities and great challenges to retailers. “The customer,” he said, “has more power than ever before. Companies are being forced to be more transparent, more accountable, more responsive to customers’ wishes, and to be more willing to engage with them.” He predicted that by 2020, “everyone under 21 will see the internet simply as an integral part of their lives.”

As a result, retailers need to offer a more “tailored, personal and bespoke service,” he said. Tesco is doing that with new online tools including a ‘my usuals’ feature on the grocery website that predicts what shoppers will buy and allows them to add items to their basket in one click.

Social media is increasing in importance for the company, he said, with Facebook as a way of engaging with customers and Twitter as a way of offering better customer service.

“The digital revolution that has turbo-charged globalisation is transforming how consumers and companies behave. This revolution is boosting competition, lowering prices, creating new virtual companies, allowing people to sell goods to each other without a middle man.

“In the era of new retailing, it’s more important than ever that we show that we are on the customers’ side, that we are here to make their lives that bit easier, that bit better. That’s the bedrock of the trust I want to build as we become the model for new retail.” He added: “I want Tesco to be a growth company; a modern and innovative company; one which wins locally by applying our skills locally.”

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