Tesco discount vouchers - An open letter to Tesco
Tesco discount vouchers are always a welcome piece of post on the doormat. They also show a flaw. Here is an open letter to Tesco.
I am a loyal customer of yours. I use your supermarkets several times each week, I tend to refuel my car at your petrol stations to take advantage of the Clubcard points. I even have a Tesco credit card. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of this is due to convenience. You’re the closest shop to home, your petrol is as cheap as anywhere else and so on.
I have witnessed your rise in the past couple of decades from a local retailer to retail giant and still marvel at your relatively early adoption of Internet ordering and self-service checkouts. However, my favourite thing about you is the Clubcard points, or rather the Tesco discount vouchers that they bring.
I realise that by using the card, I am allowing you to track everything I purchase in your store. I also know that making use of your credit card allows even more profiling to be done on me. Fortunately, I am less paranoid than most. If you wish to judge how much coffee I drink, or you want to know why I buy so much cat food when I don’t own a cat, that’s fine.
I know you know, of course. You send me letters on a seemingly monthly basis for things that I have bought in the past. I have no doubt that behind the scenes is a clever algorithm that predicts when I am likely to run out of Head and Shoulders, based on how often I buy it, and then sends out a coupon a week or two before. This is brilliant. Customer retention at its finest.
However, I have to take issue with your method of discounting.
Vouchers and coupons.
Bloody vouchers and coupons.
Tesco, my friend, this is not the dark ages. Coupons should be relegated to the 20th Century, along with other outdated things such as shell suits, Essex girl jokes and pornography in magazine format.
I’m a typical man. I travel light. No bag, no wallet as such. Just a coat in Winter. I am, however, keen to save money, and, therefore, I want to use the Tesco discount vouchers you send me. But because they are in paper format, they tend to either get forgotten about, or they end up a tatty mess. Why, oh why can you not automatically discount me at the checkout?
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have seen discounts on your receipts from various BOGOF offers in store. I am invariably handed a receipt at the end of my shopping excursion telling me that next time I shop with you I can use the token to get x amount of pence off.
Yet in order for me to take advantage of the discounts that you personally address to me, I have to hand over a coupon?Of course, this would be more understandable if the coupon didn’t have to
Of course, this would be more understandable if the coupon didn’t have to used in conjunction with my Clubcard. You need a way to keep things aligned, so that makes sense a little if the Clubcard wasn’t handed over. But seeing as the coupon has all my details, as does the Clubcard, I fail to understand why the discount cannot automatically be applied when the Clubcard is swiped.
I have asked your excellent Twitter team this, and they replied saying that many of their customers like using the coupons. I respectfully disagree. I suspect many customers enjoy the discounts, but I doubt that anyone cares if the discount is given by handing in Tesco discount vouchers, coupons, tatty receipts or applied automatically.
To be honest, if you could train monkeys to follow me home from the store and give me the money back that I would save, I’d even take that as long as it meant a saving (though please note I do not necessarily advocate the use of monkeys in the workplace. They’re known to fling their own feces, for starters, and no one needs to see that, especially if they’re merely meandering down the bread aisle)
Here is my proposal:
1) Send a letter to your targeted customer, telling them what discounts they can enjoy. You still get the same level of marketing reach as always, and you can still offer the same discounts. However, you merely highlight that the discounts will be offered at checkout and added accordingly instead of sending out Tesco discount vouchers.
2) When a customer buys an item that they have a discount for, the cashier should verbally tell them that they qualify for the discount and ask if they wish to use it today. This promotes customer engagement but also allows the customer the control they previously had with their vouchers as to if or when they wish to use them.
3) When the receipt prints out, an additional slip of paper should print detailing any discounts that qualified on that particular shop and which ones were used. You could even list the remaining unused discounts and expiry dates.
4) On each letter and receipt, you should encourage customers to sign up to monitor their Clubcard online. This allows you multi-channel engagement and gives even more control to customers.
Please take these thoughts on board. There are benefits to both the company and the customers for this to be done. It would also mean that I would actually use the discounts rather than forgetting about them, or finding an out of date coupon tucked away in an old coat pocket somewhere.