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Tesco follows grocery app with Tesco Direct m-web launch driven by 1.5m hits from mobile to its website...

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Tesco has rolled out a mobile optimized version of its highly successful Tesco Direct online, non-grocery website to meet the demand of 1.5million hits its online website has been receiving each month from mobiles. The launch also marks the next step in the supermarket’s strategy to expand and develop mobile websites for core Tesco sites – Grocery, Direct, Clothing, Wine, Entertainment and Club Card – all of which will be mobile by April 2011.

The new site will allow Tesco Direct customers with smartphones to search and buy everything from televisions to tables to electrical goods. The initiative forms part of a wider commitment to make Tesco Direct available to everyone, anywhere, at anytime – whether through the Tesco Direct catalogue, in-store, online, or by phone.

Traffic to the Tesco Direct website via mobile telephones has grown steadily, with a 300% growth in mobile visitors over the last year, with as many as 1.5million people hitting it via mobile in October, the company says.

The retailer has rolled out a grocery app and an m-optimised website for Direct simply to get both out in time for the Christmas rush – having two teams, one dedicated to apps and one to m-web working in parallel to save time. All Tesco sites will have app and m-web capability by 2011, Angela Maurer, head of web and mobile development for Tesco.com, explains.

“The move is part of our strategy to get all elements of Tesco on mobile by the end of the financial year, but we wanted to get the grocery and direct services up in time for the Christmas rush, so we have worked on them in parallel,” she says. “All services will have both apps and m-web by next year.”

Tesco is putting a lot of faith in mobile as it sees it as the ideal way to “fluidly connect” all its channels, says Laura Duffy, head of non-food customer development for Tesco Direct. “We want to offer customers the easiest and best experience through all channels and mobile means we can do that. Our research shows that most of our Direct purchases involve two channels, one for research and one for purchase. Often, it involves research on one channel, purchase through another and collection from the store. Our mobile strategy aims to make this as fluid as possible.”

This is another reason why Tesco Direct was rolled out first as an m-web site, rather than an app, since it is better suited to how people shop for the kind of items on Direct. “The website and m-site mean that you can start shopping on one channel and carry it on to another,” says Duffy.

Duffy continues: “The key thing is that customers want these mobile services. They are coming to the site via mobile in rapidly growing numbers as the number of smartphones reaches a critical mass and our research groups are telling us that this is what people want.”

The Tesco Direct web site features simple-to-explore product categories, which are easily navigated and clearly/logically laid out.

The new Tesco Direct mobile web site allows customers to:

• Sign into /register for a Tesco Direct account

• Search through the complete Tesco Direct product range

• Read all the product features

• Compare prices

• Add products to the shopping basket

• Explore delivery options and book a delivery slot

• Locate the closest store

• Review buying guides

• Look at product warranties

• Add or remove products from an existing order

• Check out and pay.
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