A Detailed Analysis Of Tesco PLC In Regard To Its Operations
Store Format. 2
Store Design. 3
Advertising/ Promotions. 4
Customer Segmentation. 6
Customer retention strategy. 8
Challenges and threats. 9
Changes that Tesco needs to make in order to remain successful in the future. 10
Tesco PLC is an international food retailer with headquarters in United Kingdom. it has more than 2316 supermarkets, superstores and convenience stores located in 14 countries across Europe, Asia and North America (Telegraph media group (2011). it is the leading food retailer in the U.K. with 1,878 retail stores located through the country. It is currently the third largest retailer globally in terms of revenue earning after Wall-Mart and Carrefour and according to Nwagbara, (2011, p. 56), the second-largest in profit making after Wall-Mart. Tesco group of companies operates four store formats: Tesco Superstores, Tesco Extra, Tesco Metro, Tesco Express and One stop. Tesco has expanded all of its grocery stores to include non-food items such as books, software, electronics and music. It operates an e-commerce site with over 450,000 registered users in U.K. One of the key drivers to success of this global supermarket chain is that it has an efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that many people envy, (Shajahan, 2006, p. 208). In order for it to best target its diverse customer base, Tesco divides the target market into various specific segments. Specifically, the target market for Tesco is divided into different groups of customers with distinct similar product or services requirements or needs. This paper provides a detailed analysis Tesco PLC in regard to its operations. The specific areas discussed in the paper are Tesco’s store format, store design, advertising and promotion strategies, customer segmentation, customer retention strategy and the current and future challenges and threats. Finally, the paper proposes various changes Tesco needs to make in order to remain successful in the future.
Tesco executes its marketing strategies through various formats. Most of the formats for Tesco have been there for many years and innovations and adjustments are introduced through formula development. The firm currently operates five types of formats, four of which are branded Tesco. These are Tesco Extra, Tesco Superstores, Tesco Metro, Tesco Express and One stop. Tesco Extras have a hypermarket format and are primarily located in Asia (Zentes et al, 2011, p. 181). These stores serve large and densely populated catchment areas such as city suburbs and they offer both food and non-food items
Tesco Superstores mainly offer food but have a few non-food items with sub-brands (Zentes et al, 2011, p. 181). This format has two sub-brands namely; Tesco Supermarket and Tesco Compact. Tesco supermarkets take the format of a standard supermarket. Tesco Compact on the other hand is smaller than a supermarket and it mainly targets smaller communities. Tesco superstores mainly provide traditional grocery items as well as banking, insurance, telecommunication products, flowers, books, movies rentals and uniforms. Recently, the firm has expanded all of its grocery stores to include non-food items such as electronics, books, software and music (Zentes et al, 2011, p. 181).s.
Tesco Metro is a city centre supermarket that targets walk in customers (Zentes et al, 2011, p. 181). The products offered in Tesco Metro are designed to target the needs of the local community. They sell a range of everyday products catering for increasing number of city dwellers and professional people looking to do important shopping near to their workplace. Tesco express on the other hand takes a convenience store format. They focus mainly on the needs of the local residential neighbourhood, selling fresh and convenience foods. Some are located on Petrol forecourts and they offer gasoline as well (Zentes et al, 2011, p. 181). One Stop is also a convenience store formats resulting from Tesco acquisitions. One stop stores are similar but smaller than Tesco Express. Among the different formats, Tesco Express has been the most dynamic of all the brands in recent years with gigantic development off the brand in 2000 (Krafft & Mantrala 2010, p. 76)
Store design is central to the efforts for developing the image and establishing efficient retail operations. The objective is to design a layout that is easily and natural for shopping and that which enables a firm to display products and categories to be able to effectively influence customer purchasing behaviour and customer experience (Cant, 2005, p. 59). A superior store design should enhance a firm’s store image. Store image is the overall perception that the overall perception that the customer has of the store environment. Store layout should provide space and arrangement of the facilities according to the desired image objectives and it has to be supported by the merchandising. The store layout, design and visual merchandising reinforce the image, products and services of a firm. There are different design layouts that a firm can adopt to display its products such as the grid store layout, free-form layout and loop layout.
According to Krafft and Mantrala (2010, p. 76), Tesco adopts a grid layout, which is a linear system of shelving where fixtures are arranged to form vertical and horizontal isles throughout the store. The fixtures are placed mostly at right angles. The Tesco’s largest stalls such as Meadowhall located in Sheffield stock a full range of products. Customers enjoy a full day of shopping with the stores having various vital facilities such as car packs, toilets, food halls and even changing facilities (Krafft & Mantrala, 2010, p. 77). Substantial city centre stores offer a wide range of products which are placed in different departments. On top of the products offered by the aforementioned stores, smaller stores located in suburban and small town locations store the core boots products (toiletry, Beauty and perfumes) and in many instances incorporate pharmacy. Tesco makes modifications in the standard layout in the different chain stores to conform to local requirements and customer needs in different locations.
The common feature of the Tesco store design and layout which is evident amongst both the food and non-food items is the concept of experience space (Krafft & Mantrala, 2010, p. 77). Formula design for Tesco has moved beyond the traditional variables associated with the marketing mix to create stores in which the customer is more involved. Customers help in the value creation exercise by being part of the formula. Further, according to Krafft and Mantrala (2010, p. 77), the grid layout is quite methodical, efficient and convenient. It enhances better visibility of merchandise. It also enables customers to go directly to the merchandise where stores are arranged in self service formats. Further, this design is cost efficient and enables customer tracking process to be efficient and traffic control to be more effective. Lastly, it leads to easy maintenance of selling areas. One demerit with this design layout is that it forms a linear repetitive pattern which may not be very appealing to customers since it creates formal and monotonous environment. Customers may not like to spend much time. The secondary isles get less exposure compared to the primary ones (Plunkett, 2006, p. 133).
The most successful marketing campaign approach adopted by Tesco is the use of clubcard. Tesco club card is a membership scheme established by Tesco, which enables customers to save money on the shopping they make through providing them with price-off vouchers (Turner & Wilson, 2006, p. 958). The scheme offers customers with one point for every pound that they spend in any of the store of Tesco as well as the stores of their partner companies. When a customer accumulates 150 points, these are converted into vouchers which give the customer chance to save money on shopping.
Tesco established relationships and partnerships with well established companies such as Beefeater is a group of restaurants, Powergen which specializes in supplying electricity and gas, Marriott Hotels, Avis car-hire, Johnson’s dry cleaners, Marriott Hotels, MFI and National Tyres among others (Turner & Wilson, 2006, p. 958). This link makes it possible for customers to earn points from shopping on any of these companies. Further, customers can earn points by shopping at any of the Tesco petrol stations and by online shopping to purchase available products such as books, electrical goods, music and flowers. Also, the customers can earn points by using Tesco mobile a home phone which is product of Tesco. Another way to earn points is by purchasing Tesco credit card and other Tesco financial products. Generally, this makes it easier for customers to accumulate the required 150 points and take advantage of the price-off vouchers. This single reason explains the fact that Tesco has managed to increase and maintain the interest of its customers to the scheme and to the products associated with the Tesco group of companies. According to Turner and Wilson (2006, p. 958), many other retailers have in the past tried relationship marketing strategies and loyalty schemes similar to Tesco’s clubcard, but they hardly succeed. But Tesco’s clubcard has worked quite well and helped the firm to surpass its competitors in many aspects especially in the local market.
On top of the products displays in the many different stores, Tesco operates an e-commerce site (www.tesco.com) with over 850,000 registered users in the U.K. alone (Doyle, 2009, p. 105). In this site, Tesco displays the different items that are displayed in its different stores. Additional details and options are provided regarding modes and suitable time of delivery to their homes and payment methods. Customer registers for the service and can browse through the selected items from a range of more than 20,000 product lines. They are then are sent keys and other details over the internet to enable them to pay by credit card (Doyle, 2009, p. 105). Customers only pay a fixed charge of £5 for the delivery, which is included in their bill. The delivery service is available over quite a wide area in the vicinity of the store. The e-commerce division of this firm makes more than 250,000 home grocery deliveries every week in U.K. By delivering items in the right form and quantities as requested by customers, the e-commerce strategy adds existing customers’ loyalty for Tesco (Kornum & Bjerre, 2005, p. 66). Further, it attracts new customers and adds the probability for them to become loyal customers in the future.
Tesco targets consumers depending on different demographic variables such as sex, occupation, age, religion, level of education, and income characteristics of different segments of people, (Myers 2004, p. 1). This helps the firm to determine potential ability of each consumer to purchase their products. As noted earlier, the firm has designed different products and services for every member of a family through the use of different club cards. One of these is Tesco Kids Club which is designed to cater for the needs of children between the age of five and eight, (Humby, et al, 2008. P. 184). In this club, Tesco provides members with Disney Clubzone Magazine for kids. On top of that, the Tesco offers parents with a pack that has free information based on issues such as how the price-of vouchers can be used to purchase various products from the company and healthy eating habits and safety for children.
Tesco Baby and Toddler Club on the other hand targets to provide the needs of pregnant people or people who have become parents recently (Humby, et al, 2008. P. 184). The members are offered with free magazines containing information from experts about safety tips for pregnancy and other childcare issues. They are also provided with free entries into prize draws and are allowed to park their cars near Tesco’s stores. Tesco Healthy living Club focuses on middle and old aged customers who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Members here are provided with a free booklet on ‘40 Steps to a Healthier Life’ and regular magazines containing exercise, diet and health issues. Price-off coupons are also offered to the club members on food products such as organic food s and daily items. World of Wine Club provides the members who like to drink wine with information about the different wine available at Tesco stores and all over the world. As well, they are offered with price off coupons for shopping with Tesco. Tesco also it provides members of this club with information regarding the wine that goes with certain kinds of foods, (Humby, et al, 2008. P. 184).
Apart from the above club cards, Tesco has in the past introduced cards to cater for specific needs of various groups of customers. For instance, in 1996, Tesco introduced a card for mothers and a student card suited to their needs. Later, Tesco came up with strategies to add value to its products and services. For example, in 1997, Tesco gave expectant mothers a priority to park outside the store and put in place personal assistants to help them, (Myers 2004, p. 1). As noted earlier, Tesco introduced online selling strategies where products are delivered at the customer’s door. This added convenience for customers who are unable to travel to the stores, such as disabled persons.
In summary, Tesco’s customer relationship management provides multidimensional customer segmentation and tailored communications. By 2009, the firm’s Clubcard was boosting more than 10 million active households in the local market and the number has been growing significantly (Rainer & Cegielski, 2009, p. 359). In 2009, the firm printed and mailed 4 million unique quarterly club mailings with coupons targeted towards very specific customer segments. The greatest advantage with the kind of customer segmentation adopted by Tesco is that it helps significantly increase total sales and to decrease overall operating costs both in short-term and in the long-term. within five years after Tesco adopted this move, total sales for the firm increased by 52% and they continue to grow at a higher rate than the industry average (Rainer & Cegielski, 2009, p. 359).
Customer retention strategy
In order for Tesco to retain customers, it aligns marketing materials and offers the various customer segments with their specific needs and wants. According to Bidgoli (2010, p. 486), Tesco is highly advanced and forward-thinking in the use of customer data and segmentation. As a result, the firm understands its market and customers almost to an individual level better than any of the competitors. The firm collects highly detailed data about its customers, purchases and behaviour with its customer’s loyalty card and matches this with external data (Gamble et al, 2006, p. 204). The club card loyalty program has been received well in UK and in fact a third of the households had card by 2010. The firm then uses the data collected from the scheme and the external data to create detailed customer profiles.
With millions of customers and terabytes of data, one obstacle that the firm faced in the past was reduction of its data set to a form that the firm’s managers could use (Gamble et al, 2006, p. 204). To address this, the firm recently developed a way of classifying customers’ behaviour across seven characteristics. These include shopping habits, life stage, basket typology (what is in their shopping trolley) promotional promiscuity (do they purchase products only when they are displayed for sale), primary channel (do they shop on the store, shop online or both), profitability and finally, brand advocacy.
According to Gamble et al, (2006, p. 204), Tesco then uses algorithms to analyse the deep and rich data they have collected on the customers to place customers in different segments such as price sensitive shoppers, convenience shoppers, and healthy shoppers among others. Then, the firm creates sub-segments within each primary segment. For instance, the healthy segment may be divided into healthy dieters and organic shoppers (Gamble et al, 2006, p. 204).
The firm’s knowledge about customer segmentation is then applied in various ways. For example, using predictive analytics, the company creates customized loyalty card statements right down to the individual level using algorithms that analyse behaviour so as to predict what products customers are likely to purchase (Gamble et al, 2006, p. 204). It then creates customized card segments for each customer, with different offers tailored to that individual’s needs, likes and dislikes. The firm then sends out 4 million different loyalty statements meaning that only three or four people are getting the same offer.
A good example of this is how Tesco caters to the high-income bracket. Tesco discovered through data analysis that about a quarter of its customers in the high income bracket are not doing all of their shopping at Tesco because it lacked enough high-end products to meet all their needs. Instead, customers often turned to one of Tesco’s competitors, Marks & Spencer. To deal with this, Tesco created a Tesco range offering differentiated high-end products to lure the big spending customers back to its stores (Gamble et al, 2006, p. 204).
Challenges and threats
One of the challenges of facing Tesco emerges from the constantly increasing costs of raw materials especially for non-food items (Ayling, 2011). This has made it difficult for the firm to keep the prices of their products lower than that of competitors, especially in the international market. Another challenge emanates from the ‘credit crunch’ that has hit the US and UK markets recently. Such economic factors are of great concern to this firm since they usually influence costs, prices, demand and profits. According to Cripps, (2011) the credit crunch has led into lower income available among consumers, decreasing effective demand for the company’s products and adversely affecting demand for high priced products.
Tesco also faces threats from competitors. The huge numbers of giant competitors of this firm have as well adopted the online delivery services and also offline retail stores (Ayling, 2011). This means that the competition is likely to become stiffer in this area in the future. On top of this, Tesco faces a persistent threat of takeover in the local market from Wal-Mart, the current market leader globally. Further, the firm is constantly faced with export restrictions in some nations in which it has stores especially on some non-food products (Ayling, 2011). This reduces the advantage derived from the mix of different products, which is likely to result into reduced margin rate. Tesco also faces challenges brought about by legislative factors. For instance, the UK government policies for monopoly controls sometimes limit entry and expansion in the sector with controls such as restrictions on prices limited access to raw materials and licence requirements. There are restrictions on prices to operate a petrol station and grocery and a petrol station at the same time in UK (Cripps, 2011). As a result, product differentiation in different sectors becomes difficult. Another challenge for Tesco is that the local market is exhausted with limited chances for further growth and expansion (Ayling, 2011).
Changes that Tesco needs to make in order to remain successful in the future.
There are several changes hat Tesco need to make in order to remain successful in its international and local retail markets in the future. The changes need to focus on maintaining competitive advantage in the areas where the firm has gained competitive edge. Competitive advantage refers to the set of unique features of a company and its products that are perceived by the target market as significant and superior to those of the competing firms (Heene, 2010, p. 127). Tesco can achieve this through offering of lower costs of its products relative to those of competitors, effective product differentiation, advances in technology and innovation of new areas for expansion.
A firm that has cost competitive advantage can produce a product or a service at a lower cost that its competitors while maintaining satisfactory margins (Hall, 2008, p. 18). Tesco can manage to become a cost leader by obtaining inexpensive raw materials making services and products more efficient, designing product for ease of manufacture, avoiding marginal customers and controlling overhead costs. However, Tesco should apply this strategy to only in the short-term since is most likely going to fail if applied in the long-term. This is because other firms will eventually adopt similar strategy in order to reduce costs of their products as well.
Product differentiation tends to offer a long lasing competitive advantage to firms (Hall, 2008, p. 19). Tesco can take advantage of product differentiation by introducing various brand names, making more reliable products and establishing good product image and services. Through continuous product and marketing innovations, and attention to quality and value, Tesco can in producing and offering differentiated products, create enduring competitive advantage and remain successful in the future.
As technology advances, the behaviour or buying patterns of consumers change (Kornum & Bjerre, 2005, p. 98). This will result into product areas requiring evaluation. Thus, there is need to ensure continuous analysis of changes in consumer buying patterns. Finally, since Tesco competitors have adopted the online delivery services, the firm needs to be more innovative and to seek more opportunities and expand in other areas (Ayling, 2011).
Tesco PLC has many unique features which have enabled it to outdo most of its competitors and to become a successful international brand. As noted in this discussion, Tesco operates five different formats namely: Tesco Extra, Tesco Superstore, Tesco Metro, Tesco Express and One stop. The formula adopted by Tesco leads to different contents in the different store formats, triggering different experiences to consumers. Further, Tesco adopts grid layout in its store design. This layout increases involvement of customers with the content in stores and as well, adds experience to them. Tesco advertisements promotions through the use of club-card program and use of e-commerce has enabled the firm to increase its market and profit figures tremendously over time, making it a prime example of how product differentiation coupled with human touch can provide great experience to customers. The process of market segmentation has helped Tesco to ensure that prices, products, distribution, promotion and marketing mix are designed to meet the particular needs of the different customer groups. As well it has allowed this organization to focus on specific customer needs in the most effective and efficient way. The firm aligns marketing materials and offers the various customer segments with their specific needs and wants in order to retain customers. Tesco experiences numerous challenges in its operations both locally and internationally threatening its position in the global retail industry. To maintain competitive edge, Tesco needs to implement various changes to the current operations as described in the above analysis.
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