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Tesco launches Clubcard TV – will you be watching? February 12, 2013

Posted by Mark Hillary in Current Affairs, Internet, IT Services.
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News has emerged that Tesco is trialling their own TV service on employees, with a view to rolling out a national ‘Clubcard TV’ service later in 2013.

There is not much information yet on the service, but it is clear that they intend it to be a free on-demand TV and movie service limited to Clubcard holders – as a way of rewarding their loyalty to Tesco. With over 15 million Clubcards, Tesco has an enormous customer community so this is an interesting idea.

Of course any on-demand TV service will live or die on the content provided so Tesco is likely to be working hard at present to ensure there is going to be an interesting choice on the service, but it is unlikely that they can offer new shows or movies that are not already available elsewhere.

So what is the point of a service like this? It may just be a reward, a free service that is useful, but not essential, and limited to Clubcard holders. But it could be that Tesco and other big brands have identified a new area of the media where they can step in.

Think of how commercial TV and radio works at present. Shows interspersed by adverts that people no longer want to see or hear. With on-demand services the traditional broadcast model becomes irrelevant and it is increasingly difficult to interrupt content with adverts. However, if your brand is providing the vehicle that allows you to access the movies or shows in the first place then there are many opportunities to promote your brand without needing to place ads.

Media is changing fast – why shouldn’t a supermarket chain create a media empire? Stranger things have happened in business – Nokia used to make rubber boots before phones. Clubcard TV is certainly worth watching out for later this year.

Tesco Value

 

Photo by Chez Eskay licensed under Creative Commons

Does multi-channel retail really deliver the goods? March 14, 2012

Posted by Mark Hillary in Current Affairs, IT Services.
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Call Centre Focus magazine recently published a survey of senior executives involved in retail with some interesting findings for those interested in how the multi-channel concept is changing retail.

A full 65 per cent of retailers believe their in-store experience defines their brand and over 50 per cent say it is the most profitable channel. Interestingly 70 per cent believe it delivers the highest level of customer service.

This shows some bias in favour of the high street store – better profits and better service, but the survey also showed that 98 per cent of retailers recognise that a broader multi-channel strategy is vital to remain competitive in the current market and 77 per cent of respondents stated their reason for pursuing a multi-channel strategy is to drive an increase in sales.

These are quite interesting statistics because they show an overwhelming support for the multi-channel concept as something that has to be done even though most of these executives see most of their branding, customer support, and profits coming from the traditional channels.

Over two-thirds of the survey respondents admit that their service levels are not consistent across all channels – so the experience with the brand will be very different depending on how the shopper engages.

Thomas Eggar is currently working on our own research in this area and we will be publishing our results soon, but based on the results of this other survey it would seem that retail executives are steering through uncharted waters.

supermarket-drinks4

Photo by Graham Holliday licensed under Creative Commons

Changing face of retail January 20, 2012

Posted by Mark Hillary in Current Affairs, Internet.
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Everyone knows the retail environment is changing. Those of us who can remember the heady days of the 1990s will recall that clicks were supposed to entirely replace bricks at one point – Amazon was predicted to spell the end of the traditional bookstore.

And though many retailers are struggling today, it has more to do with the economy in general than the Internet stealing their business forever. But the smartest retailers are finding ways to combine the best of the online experience with the service that can only be delivered on the high street.

Sometimes you want to see and touch a product before buying it. Perhaps it is a big investment, so you want to try it out first. This is why camera chains like Jessops have always prided themselves on having staff that know about the products they sell – you get a bit of free consulting every time you go into a branch to ask a few questions.

But these days many customers are coming in to look and feel a product before going away to think about the purchase, only to go online scouring the web using price comparison sites. High-priced items such as electronics can almost always be found cheaper from discount retailers.

Retailers like Argos and John Lewis are trying to combine the best of the web with a real in-store or added value experience that combines old-fashioned retail with the bulk discounts available from buying and distributing centrally.

I personally would be prepared to pay more for a product from John Lewis, knowing I have the backup of a reputable brand, and the ability to buy online, but be treated as a customer in-store too. The question is, how much more… the odd per cent here and there maybe, but what if the difference was 25 per cent?

That’s a tough decision, but I’m sure the major retailers are already thinking about this. They had better be.

貪吃danbo

Photo by Sindy licensed under Creative Commons

Why can’t phone users cancel a contract if they find they have no coverage at home? August 17, 2010

Posted by Mark Hillary in IT Services, Outsourcing.
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Telecoms watchdog Ofcom recently published maps showing the expected 3G phone coverage across the UK for all the major service providers.  What’s scary for most consumers is the large amounts of dead space – usually in rural areas.
I know how difficult it can be to sometimes get a phone signal in the UK as I recently cycled from London to Lands End in Cornwall and I was often searching for a particular road, hoping to use the GPS function on my phone, only to find there was no signal.

But what happens if you buy a brand new phone and take it home, only to find that you can’t even get a reliable signal at home. Surely it means the product is not fit for purpose – just like buying a product that does not work, you should be able to return it to the shop? It seems that is very difficult. Most retailers don’t like to see you cancelling a juicy 18-month contract because of perceived poor signals at home.

There are now examples of consumers taking complaints to the courts, but this is not common. Most consumers just hope things will be improve, but there are even some phone operator adverts now featuring people hanging from the window trying to get a signal, implying that this is usual on other networks.

It should be simple to offer a cooling-off period after getting a phone, where you can test the signal, or even offering to allow potential customers to try the service using a temporary SIM. But the status quo is surely not acceptable. Why would anyone pay for a service that doesn’t work?