Troubling times for Tesco?
Click and Collect. That gem of a convenience for shoppers who don’t have the time to trawl the stores for the things they need.
And the super market giant had decided to make life easier by giving commuters the opportunity to pick up their groceries in Tube Station carparks, in a partnership with Transport for London.
It turns out though, that the partnership proved to be pretty short lived.
Tube station click and collect has gone kaput.
Tesco (and Sainsbury’s) have pulled out of the partnership, citing that customers preferred to pick up items in store.
Really? Surely they did their research and garnered consumer feedback before they got into bed with TFL?!
Cancelling convenience for customers
So much for a ‘retail revolution’ that was going to fill some of the £3 billion worth of wasted space on the TFL network and make life easier for shoppers by offering them a pleasing, emotive end-user experience!
Quite frankly, I rather liked the idea of being able to order groceries on my way to work and pick them up on my way home.
Asda, Waitrose and Ocado are continuing with the scheme, for now, at least.
But Tesco’s decision to opt out has come as quite a shock.
Particularly as this was the company that was planning on a huge rise in click-and-collect locations as part of its merger with Bookers.
Yes, that’s right. The merger was supposed to double the number of locations, to 8,000.
And only last year, they were talking about taking the TFL click and collect spots from 6 to 14.
Rumour has it that residents were driving to the Tube station car parks for collection, as opposed to the service being used by commuters.
But if it’s still filling Tesco coffers, does that really matter?!
Perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye.
The green light was given on the Tesco and Bookers merger, meaning they would have a combined turnover of £60 billion.
Yet, even with all this promise on the horizon, Tesco has been closing down several parts of its business.
They shut 43 stores, scrapped plans to open 49 new ones, slashed thousands of jobs, and attempted to sell their Clubcard data business, along with their South Korean division.
And despite these attempts to stem the losses, latest figures show that they have suffered a £6.4 billion loss over this troubling period. Ouch.
But whilst Tesco have clearly been suffering and the TFL click and collect sites are the latest casualty, others are thriving.
Package collection business Doddle recently opened its 35th London site in Paddington.
Tesco claim that the TFL partnership didn’t pan out as expected and so, instead, they will focus on rolling out a grocery click and collect service in stores across the country.
But only time will tell as to whether or not it happens.
Let’s face it, competition is tough.
Ok, Doddle mainly focuses on clothing stores.
But at the rate they seem to be expanding, there’s every chance they will broaden their range of goods offered for collection.
Then, of course, there is the powerhouse that is Amazon.
Anything you want, from electronics to groceries to health and beauty products and more delivered direct to your door?
Or picked up from a convenient location thanks to its partnership with Doddle?
Don’t spread yourself too thin
There’s no denying the fact that modern day businesses have to adapt if they want to stay afloat.
But don’t sell yourself short in doing so.
It will be interesting to see whether Tesco’s planned click and collect expansion does happen.
I, however, have a feeling they may have taken on more than they can chew.
It’s not always advisable to try and keep up with Jones’.
Of course, you need to know what your consumers want.
User experience research and customer satisfaction feedback can help you establish that.
But it is also vital to make sure you can deliver.
Don’t just throw something new into the mix because it’s what your competitors are doing.
If you aren’t prepared or don’t have the resources, you are lining your business up for a fall.
If you are staying afloat and your customers are loyal to you and your product or service offering, give yourself a pat on the back.
Sometimes, it is better to do what you do really well and succeed.
Especially when the alternative is, quite possibly, failure or disappointment.