Tesco has taken a major step to expand its customer base with the introduction of Hudl, a 7-inch tablet designed to boost the retailer's multichannel strategy by attracting non-tablet users.
The retail giant has also taken 20,000 square feet office space in Farringdon to create a 275-person digital and software development centre.
“Hudl is a key part of Tesco's future. We want to provide the benefit of tablets for the [masses],” said group CEO Philip Clarke.
He said the new tablet was key to the company's multichannel strategy to allow customers to shop from anywhere. "While tablets play an important part of customers' lives, for some people they are difficult to use. This is more than the launch of a 7-inch tablet. It is about making technology accessible.”
He said the company spent over a year building Hudl from scratch to support changes in the way people use technology: "There is a rapid change in how customers run their lives, and it is driven by technology.“
Clarke quoted a recent Ofcom study which found that three-quarters of people in the UK do not own a tablet. He said: "We are uniquely positioned to reach these people. Tesco in the UK reaches 20 million customers week."
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The tablet uses Google’s Jellybean Android operating system. It provides direct access to a Tesco portal on the home page and access to apps on Google Play. In terms of specification, it uses a 7-inch high definition display and is configured with a 1.5Ghz, quad-core processor and 16GB of internal storage, expandable to 48GB.
Tesco CIO Mike McNamara said, "Hudl is a demonstration of us becoming a digital leader. It is the first step of our [multichannel] programme which the team will constantly evolve so there will be more coming from us."
Speaking to Computer Weekly, McNamara said, “We have always had a relationship with our customers. Hudl helps this relationship. We hope it will cement a long-term relationship with our customers.”
Hudl is the latest part of a far-reaching digital strategy, designed to help the retailer boost online and in-store shopping. Over the last year the company has invested in its Marketplace website, to enable consumers to buy third-party products from the Tesco website. The retailer has also migrated its banking service to become a full-service bank.
Hudl is due to launch on Monday 30 September. It will cost £119 and will be available for pre-order from Tesco Direct. Tesco will provide discounts with Hudl, including 75% of the first five movie rentals on the BlinkBox service, £15 off customers’ first online grocery purchase, £5 off their first Tesco Direct Purchase and £10 off their first online clothing purchase. In total, the savings could save a customer almost £60 off the price of the Hudl, according to Tesco.