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With Tesco, the shopping list becomes configured

Matthieu JOLLY
3 minutes

TESCO - United Kingdom

By being on IFTTT, Tesco lets its customers automatically fill in their shopping list according to events configured on the basis of data taken from or other sites like Dropbox, Gmail, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, etc.

The Facts



With its Tesco Labs, the English supermarket chain is constantly looking for new ways of enriching and streamlining its customers’ shopping experience. After getting them to buy their lunch in 30 second via a mobile payment, or integrating the first barcode scanner into an application, Tesco now offers them a new experience. Automating their shopping according to predefined events. In more concrete terms, they can add beer if the weather forecast says the following day will be hot, or receive an e-mail when the price of their favourite cereals falls.


The configuration possibilities are endless! To be able to offer this free service, Tesco has created its channel on IFTTT (If This Then That). Free, easy and effective, IFTTT helps consumers automate certain tasks by linking them to available data on ‘channels’ (social media, connected objects, web applications and services) they have subscribed to. Example: If my Fitbit wristband detects that I’m not sleeping enough, my Google calendar sends me an alert saying that I should go to bed earlier this evening.


To benefit from these “recipes”, just link your Tesco account to IFTTT. For the time being, the retailer offers 7 scenarios. But customers can create their own shortcuts if they wish. For example, owners of Amazon Echo can add 1 litre of milk to their shopping list by saying “Alexa trigger buy milk”. The only drawback for Amazon is that the artificial intelligence adds this litre of milk to the Tesco basket, not its own.



Ultimately, Tesco’s aim is indeed to retrieve as many insights as possible on its customers to better understand their daily life and expectations and thereby develop appropriate services.


Among the 300 ‘channels’, there are still very few retail chains. Except for Tesco, Best Buy, Home Depot, eBay or BMW, who are trail-blazers in this respect. For the German car manufacturer, it is a matter of making life easier for drivers equipped with the Connected Drive System. Children receive a text when their parents are approaching the school, the garage light comes on when the car approaches, etc.


The underlying idea is always to use the consumer’ “web life” data to make life easier. Something that Tesco confirms: “with the rise of connected home devices we’ve been doing a variety of experiments to help serve shoppers a little better every day”.


In fact, this solution is fully in line with the “no longer buy” trend explained in the last “Innovate Service Centric” report. Connected objects can automate a great many tasks. Indeed, they feature prominently in IFTTT. By combining them with new commercial logics like subscriptions, consumers avoid having to repeat the same routines over and over again.


The difference with Tesco is that it did not start with a blank page. It simply made its APIs available to the leading automation engine of our web life: IFTTT. With minimal investment, it ensures it has a great impact on users and thus probably promotes word of mouth. A way of adding a new stone to the rebuilding of a customer relationship.

Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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