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Retail Review: Tesco Mobile – Rob Thurner (IRM54)

First Impressions (4/5)

In the last 12 months, Britain’s biggest grocer, Tesco, has been on the business end of an accounting scandal, a criminal probe, profit warnings, store closures and a wave of management departures, culminating in a £6.38bn loss at year end.

But it wasn’t all bad news in 2014. February of the same year saw Tesco land the top spot for most complete mobile experience of any FTSE 100 brand in the UK. Silver lining and all that.

According to The Search Agency research, Tesco scored 4.38 out of a possible five, based on factors like load speed, site format, and app presence. Across all FTSE 100 companies, the average score was just 1.99.

Former Tesco CEO Philip Clarke once said: “In an age where customers have more choice than ever in how to shop and who to shop with, loyalty is harder to come by, and easier to lose, than it ever has been.

“Digital is at the root of this power shift, and yet embracing its possibilities is the key to creating and retaining loyalty in the digital age. Understanding your customers, communicating with them where they want to be and building real relationships is vital and a key component of digital transformation.”

It’s safe to say that, at one time, Tesco had mobile firmly in hand. Has the ensuing chaos though caused the company to lose its grip on digital too?

Today, Tesco’s digital strategy includes:

  1. Maintaining dotcom development
  2. Continuing the rapid expansion of Click & Collect locations
  3. Rolling out in-store ordering kiosks and screens, enabling shoppers to purchase from often larger ranges online
  4. The continued digitisation of the Clubcard scheme, despite the proposed sale of data unit Dunnhumby
  5. Sustaining the retailer’s mobile search strategy

After nosying around both the Tesco mobile website and the Tesco Groceries app for Android, we’re confident the retailer’s digital offering is still in order. It delivered continuity – with items in our shopping basket accessible across both digital channels – Clubcard integration, cross-device UX consistency, and even a barcode scanner. Happy days.

Discovery, Search & Navigation (4/5)

In the lead up to Google’s mobile friendly update, there was speculation that retailers would be amongst those worst hit by the algorithm changes which downgraded search rankings of web pages deemed to deliver a poor mobile display experience.

For Tesco this has not been the case. The retailer received the top Searchmetrics mobile visibility score of 633,970, over three times higher than second-placed Asda.

SimilarWeb supports these findings, with over 52% of site visits derived from search, 96% of which are SEO based.

The free Tesco Groceries Android app – one of 13 apps in total – has achieved between 1-5 million installs. Discovery is driven within Google Play by in-store search (30.22%), referring apps (23.25%), and My Apps (31.5%).

Its counterpart over at the App Store is ranked 44th in Lifestyle. Discovery via the web is driven by search (42.59%), direct (47.31%) and social (5.34%).

Tesco’s mobile-optimised homepage features crisp, attractive images and clear, uncluttered navigation. In addition to prominently placed search, store locator, and menu options, if you’re a dab hand at shopping via you can sign in from the homepage.

The main menu enables shoppers to click through to all groceries, book a delivery, view or amend orders and more. Users can give feedback on the site via both the main menu and footer, or contact customer service via click-to-call.

As reflected in The Search Agency study, load speed and site format are strong.

The Tesco Groceries Android app features the same menu layout as the mobile-optimised website. An additional app feature is the barcode scanner, which enables shoppers to scan any grocery item, instantly adding it to a home delivery order. Tesco was the first to launch the transactional scanner for the iPhone in the UK in 2010.


Products & Categories (4/5)

Tesco covers its extensive product range with minimal fuss. Grocery categories are cleanly laid out and photography is clear if a little on the small side as you navigate further into the site. Product descriptions are brief.

Nothing about the Tesco mobile web shopping experience was jarring. We found it easy to select an item by quantity or weight, add it to the shopping basket and navigate back and forth from category to product level. By comparison, the mobile app could be a little clunky.

When adding items to basket, users who haven’t done so are prompted to sign in or register to ensure the relevant store has the product selected. The registration process is similarly straightforward.

Thanks to prominent placement of Tesco offers, including menu listings and banners, mobile shoppers are unlikely to miss any bargains or trial services. Should users find the site lacking, they can submit feedback via Opinion Lab.

Payment process & Checkout (4/5)

Delivery options aren’t listed on the mobile website until the Tesco checkout page, where the user is presented with choices of home delivery, Delivery Saver and Click & Collect. Whereas, on the Android app only home delivery and Click & Collect are available.

The checkout process is otherwise transparent and easy to navigate, including selecting a delivery time at varying costs. Free delivery and Click & Collect is available on orders over £40.

Shoppers can give clear shopping instructions, earn Clubcard points, and enter voucher or eCoupon details while completing the checkout process.

Post purchase (3/5)

While we await our Tesco delivery, we’re yet to receive any follow-up marketing via social media or display. Email confirmations when registering and ordering, however, were prompt.

Despite Tesco’s recent troubles, the grocer continues to lead the pack when it comes to mobile website experience. But it’s not yet gold stars all around; the app layout at sub-category level feels like it would benefit from some TLC – every little helps.

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