Tesco takes the battle for customer loyalty to the home with the Hudl
At a recent gathering of companies near Edinburgh, the case was made for why small businesses need to look at whether their online approach was fit for purpose in the mobile age.
We’re all going mobile
According to eMarketer more than half of the UK population will be using smartphones by 2014. In our own business at ENNclick we can see that almost one third of people receiving email marketing messages and newsletters are viewing them first on a mobile device… not a PC.
It will come as little surprise that the earliest adopter of mobile as a way to reach and communicate with customers was Amazon. Already one of the most successful online retailers via our PC screens, boss Jeff Bezos was quick to roll out a tablet at a price that meant it was affordable and created a means to directly communicate deals and further sales. This started with books but now extends across the range of physical products and digital downloads such as music and movies. In fact, short of a pint of milk, there’s very little you cannot now purchase through Amazon, and even this may come to pass with its exploration of food delivery.
Shopping to the sofa
So it’s no wonder that as the once clear separation of markets evaporates, and as companies of all shapes and hues now find themselves competing for customer attention, one of the biggest supermarkets has taken a leaf out of Amazon’s book (excuse the pun) and announced the roll out of its own-brand seven-inch tablet.
Tesco is a voracious money-making juggernaut that already has a huge grip on traditional retail: its own-brand bank, mobile brand and online sales arms. It is perhaps not a surprise then to see it launch a device at a price point that’s clearly aimed at getting the masses to buy. Called the Hudl, this respectably kitted out tablet runs on Google’s Android platform and, surprise… comes stacked with convenient apps and links to Tesco online retail services. It will retail initially in the UK for around £119 which makes it very competitively priced.
And that’s because Tesco is not driven by making a short-term profit on shifting these bits of 21st century electronics. Rather, it wants to have a direct one-to-one connection with its customers that extends right into the household. Need groceries? Grab the Hudl and re-order for home delivery. Want to check your credit card balance? Ditto.
In fact, as a bricks and mortar retailer Tesco has the same sort of logistics infrastructure that Amazon has (just about the only thing it doesn’t do is pay its corporate taxes in Luxembourg). But it can service its customers 24/7/365 and, in order to prevent loss of business, not just to traditional high street competitors but also to the likes of Amazon and others, Tesco is taking retailing right into the heart of everyone’s home.
I’m betting that people will buy into this in their masses and it will be followed up by similar own-brand tablets from other well-known high street names. We’ve truly entered the age of commoditised computing and communication where retailing is moving onto the couch.
Winners and Losers?
However it’s not a win-win for everyone. Unlike both Amazon and Tesco, Apple has its fortunes closely tied to selling people gadgets at a hefty premium. It may be one of the world’s most successful (of the moment) desktop computer and tablet makers; but as retailers fight it out to win a place in people’s homes, with ever cheaper tablets and smartphones, it’ll get harder to tempt people into paying a premium in the future.
Tesco’s marketing of its new device speaks volumes for why it has moved into the tablet market to compete for hearts, minds and, of course, spend. Move over Amazon. Look out Apple.
Q. Would you buy an own-brand tablet from a supermarket?
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