Oracle OpenWorld 2013: Tesco takes a multi-channel approach to customer experience

Tesco has been using an array of Oracle technology, including its customer experience (CX) portfolio to turn the company in a multi-channel retailer

Tesco has been using an array of Oracle technology, including its customer experience (CX) portfolio, to turn the company in a multi-channel retailer.

This opens up multiple channels of conversation with its customers, enabling the retailer to fine-tune its CX offering.

Tesco was invited to talk about its customer experience strategy during a keynote at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. It currently uses a number of Oracle systems, including its database and analytics platform as well as Oracle ATG and Oracle RightNow for CX.

The retailer, whose Clubcard has been offering loyalty rewards to customers for nearly 20 years, has been at the forefront of a number of digital innovations.  

CIO Mike McNamara said that two years ago the company was still experimenting with its mobile app, but over Christmas 2012 website visits from mobiles exceeded PC visits for the first time. The company, which was the first grocer to provide online delivery for food, has also installed augmented reality mirrors, which allow customers in-store to virtually try on clothes, and recently launched its own 7in tablet, the Hudl.

“Retail 2020 will be radically different from what we know today,” said McNamara. “Increasing numbers of people are riding the digital wave – its force is unstoppable. If you let it crash over you, it will wipe you out.”

Customer expectations in a digital world

Due to the advancement of technology so quickly in recent years, customers have high expectations from businesses, and will easily become frustrated with any technology problems, said David Vap, group vice-president of product development at Oracle.

More from Oracle OpenWorld 2013

He said 26% of customers would post a negative comment on social media if they have a bad experience with a company, while 86% will stop doing business with the organisation. 

But 69% of employees are feeling disengaged with their work environment. “How can you expect to get great customer experience to be delivered if you’re not enabling great employee experiences?” Vap questioned.

According to Vap, the problem is that different areas of an organisation run independently – they have different leaders, key performance indicators (KPIs) and possibly situated in different geographies.

“There’s no communication between those siloes,” he said. “Those customers don’t care, they didn’t get the memo. A customer sees you as a single organisation, and they have a journey that goes through a lifecycle – that they will hopefully repeat – and this is how they evaluate you as a business, choose whether they do business with you again, or even how they recommend your business.”

Vap said it is necessary to have a number of different channels to communicate with your customer.

Combining digital and physical retail approaches

McNamara said the cloud is powering the world, providing customers with the ability to update their lives across multiple devices, as well as living in the physical world of bricks and mortar stores. Because of this, McNamara said Tesco had to stop thinking about its customers in siloes.

“We’ve seen the emergence of a seamless, blended world of physical and digital,” he said. “And we enable the customer to move between those two worlds.”

Matt Atkinson, chief marketing officer at Tesco, said the physical bricks and mortar stores will not disappear. “The point about physical stores is to build on top technology to enrich their lives.”

He said prices will become increasingly personalised, with more targeted promotions, while physical stores will become very finely tuned to tend to local taste and needs: “This is mass customisation.”

Tesco’s Clubcard will also become digital by the end of the year, allowing the paper coupons customers receive to seamlessly integrate with the mobile app, so that at the point of sale, promotions will be instantly recognised.

Atkinson also told Computer Weekly that a fully integrated Clubcard and digital wallet, which is currently being trialled in Korea, is about a year away from being launched in the UK.

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