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Tesco’s simple ClubCard app

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The Tesco Clubcard is famous for being the loyalty card based upon “saying thank you” as much as for priming repeat custom via incentives. The card is carried by millions and over the years numerous formats have been tried – mini-cards, keyrings and now – an iPhone app.

Nick Lansey, Tesco’s head of R&D, announced the app on his blog:

if you’re like me, sometimes your Tesco Clubcard sometimes doesn’t quite make it to your wallet, or it’s slipped down the bottom of your bag and you can’t find it. The good news is that my iPhone is always on me so wouldn’t it be a great idea if it could quickly display the barcode of my Clubcard when I’m next at the checkout? The first version of this application is quite simply to do that – bring a virtual version of your Clubcard to your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The app appears to simply take your ClubCard membership number (which you enter yourself) and convert this to a barcode. The verification mechanism is not clear, but there’s a form of returning a card-holder name to match an account, but it’s not clear whether there is any other verification of identity.

It’s interesting to see that this project sees Tesco’s “.com” R&D team working with the ‘main’ R&D team from the Tesco mothership and this demonstrates that power of mobile to bring coherence within organisations. While web teams and ecommerce seem to have sprouted parallel organisational structures, mobile has brought everyone out of the woodwork to participate.

One wag commented that a photo of one’s ClubCard would have served the same purpose (!) to which Nick replies “The app is launched to ‘get you started’ – soon it will be more useful than a photo…!”

We await those developments with interest.

The Tesco Wine Finder app is an altogether more rounded offering , featuring wine profiles, links to menu suggestions, extended information and the ability to recognise a wine from a photo of its label. [See our news item on the Tesco Wine Finder]

These more rounded apps, which take offline data not normally exposed to the customer, are a very interesting proposition since they both amplify the utility of an in-store visit and extend the reach of the store into the customers’ lives.

We’ll keep an eye on developments of the ClubCard app, but in the meantime we’ll keep an eye on activities at Tesco’s mobile R&D team.


The Tesco ClubCard app can be found here (iTunes required).

Consider too…

The Cardstar app (available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry…) allows a user to store all of their loyalty cards, not just a single one, and could be a more attractive proposition for customers until Tesco adds further capability and account management/rewards to their app.

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