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With the approaching cold weather; the thought of making a trip to the supermarket, hunting for the shortest checkout queues at the weekend and then carrying all those heavy shopping bags home didn’t sound so appealing. So, late on Saturday night I decided to do the weekly shopping without getting out of bed – yes that’s right the ultimate in laziness I ordered online using Tesco’s website.
I registered with Tesco’s online services a few months ago but hadn’t placed an order; mainly because I live quite near to a supermarket and also because I wouldn’t be able to justify the delivery charge (currently £5). Recently, I received an e-mail inviting me to place my first order, which would give me 500 Tesco Club card points (equivalent to the £5 delivery charge), so I jumped at the opportunity and placed an order. Overall, I was impressed with service but having used many e-tailers before I have a few suggestions for improvement of the website.
There appears to be a lot of positive 5 star Tesco.com product rated opinions on Ciao that may be focusing on the novelty-factor, therefore the aim of this opinion is to analyse the site and share my buying experience, rather than list all of the features of the site; which can be found by visiting the site.
Firstly to use the website; http://www.tesco.com/ you must be registered. Registration is straightforward and only takes about 2 minutes to complete; asking you for nothing more than your name, address, phone numbers, and e-mail address. If you have a Tesco Club card you are asked to enter it’s number. It is NOT essential to have a Tesco Club card to use the service. For those of you not familiar with the Tesco Clubcard; it is a loyalty card that allows you to collect points on purchases, which can later be redeemed as money off towards future purchases. Once registered logging in to your account is via your chosen e-mail address.
On first impressions, the site appeared friendly and inviting in the traditional Tesco colours of blue and red. Logging-in was quick; I found it much faster in comparison to other online supermarket sites such as Sainsbury’s, which can take ages to load. Tesco’s shop on the other hand takes less than a minute to load –you will get a small prompt informing you “The grocery store is currently loading. Please wait.....”
This is one area I feel can be vastly improved by Tesco. Once logged into the store of Choice e.g. Grocery, you will see a small display of the various departments in a small panel on the left hand side panel. This panel is in very small font and it is not the best way to see all the sub-departments. For example, if you wish to buy some bread you will need to click on Department –Grocery –Bakery and Cakes. The font is rather small and I feel the items are squashed together. A supermarket style virtual aisle at the top with bold headings would be much clearer. One can search for items also using a search function. This has limited results as many items are stocked according to brand names e.g. Heinz. Once you have found your chosen products you add them to your basket, but again it is not as easy to ‘amend’ as other online stores. Once you have added an item to the basket and then wish to remove the item, you have to click on quantity and change it to zero and then click on ‘amend’. This seems like a rather long-winded way to add and remove items from the basket.
When I first tried to add items to my basket, none of the items would be added. So, I telephoned Tesco technical Support and was advised that their site works best with Internet Explorer Ver. 5.5. As I had Version 5.01, I decided to download the Ver.5.5. Remember, it may be your current version works fine, mine didn’t so don’t download 5.5 unnecessarily if everything’s works ok –as it’s a lengthy download –over an hour! If you encounter any technical problems, you can call Tesco on 0845 7225533.
Advantages of the Site ~
Tesco claim to be 8% cheaper than Sainsburys prices in a survey conducted using a typical household shop in August 2001; so one can be assured of some of the lowest prices. On the homepage to get you started, there is a list of ‘TOP 10 offers’ showing you some of the current best buys.
One of the best features I like about Tesco.com site is the ‘PRICE CHECK’ and ‘Price Cuts’ sections. These features allow you to compare the prices of leading brands of products showing Tesco’s price and the price of a leading retailer e.g. Iceland or Boots. One can also see what products have had their prices cut at Tesco recently. Both these features ensure that Tesco customers are getting the best value for money.
Not only is Tesco cheaper on food, but it also is much cheaper on a host of health and skincare products. To take a current example: well-known brand Vaseline Intensive Care Dry Skin Lotion (400mL) costs £2.95 at Tesco, whilst the same product costs £3.25 at Boots (and Boots is meant to be the leading Pharmacy, yet this body lotion costs 30p more. Like this I have compared many brands of body lotions, toothpastes, etc sold in Boots and in each case Boots has always been more expensive –that’s the way the clever Boots Advantage Reward Card scheme works –by asking consumers to pay more for branded goods to allow them to collect points later on!)
When you do your shopping online, each customer is assigned their own ‘personal shopper’; so you can be assured your shopping is hand picked and carefully chosen according to your requirements. A useful feature I have found whilst ordering is the ability to leave notes- this is very helpful when you are ordering loose items e.g. Fruit – and can leave a note e.g. select small apples only. You also have the option to request a substitute should your item not be available, I did not request any substitutes. There is also a list of Favourites; which remembers all your favourite items, next time you log on.
Payment for your goods can be made Switch, Solo or credit card (MasterCard, Visa and even American Express) The Tesco site uses Software encrypts, so you can be assured your transactions are protected. The site uses SSL - Secure Socket Layer technology, ensuring your data is only accepted via a secure connection. Again if you feel unsure about entering your credit card details on the website you can phone the Customer Services and give your card details over the phone.
When you have selected all your shopping you are taken to a delivery timetable which shows you which delivery slots are available from 8a.m to 10p.m seven days a week. I chose my delivery slot as 11a.m to 1.00p.m. All slots are 2 hours slots. The current delivery charge is £5. So, did they deliver in time? Well, my order was only 1 hour late, but I did receive a phone call at 12.45 informing me my order would be 1 hour late. I didn’t mind too much and my order arrived at 2.05p.m carefully hand-picked according to my instructions. The goods arrived in a refrigerated lorry and were delivered by very friendly cheerful staff. All the items were carefully packed keeping household goods separate from fresh vegetables and fruit, the chilled items were unloaded last from the refrigerated lorry, and so my ice cream was still frozen. A few items were not available; I was not charged for those. Along with the delivery, you get a normal till receipt and also a printout of your order showing, which items were not available and which have been substituted.
Tesco customer services have been great when I enquired about a substitution I didn’t ask for (the bread I ordered was not available –so they substituted with a healthy bread-Low Salt, Low Sugar etc, this was more expensive). Tesco refunded back the difference in price of the bread and as they were 1 hour late refunded the £5 delivery charge; so I cant complain. I am very impressed with service.
If you are shopping online for the first time with Tesco it can take some time to familiarise yourself with the product range and more importantly the navigation of the website – the items are not so easy to find. The addition and deletion of items in the basket takes an extra step of amending quantity and then the using the amend basket function.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Although the service is great and I am impressed with the friendliness of the whole team; both customer services on the phone and the deliveryman there is room for improving the website. The navigation needs to be improved and departments/aisles need to be more clearly labelled with larger font.
One area I think Tesco can help the community is by offering advice about the online service to OAP’s or elderly customers whilst they are shopping in Store. Thus, helping them get started setting up their favourites; so, if they are not feeling well they can be assured they will get their essential items and favourites delivered to their doorstep. This is an important step Tesco should consider with the growing ageing population in the UK, many of which live independently.
Overall, Tesco offers an efficient online supermarket ordering service available 7 days a week. The rating I give to this product is less than 5 stars as I feel the website needs improvement, nevertheless the service offered by Tesco is excellent, so I am awarding a 4 star product rating. I will be definitely using Tesco again whenever I need to place a large shopping order.
I have registered with them but haven't actually ordered yet might give it a try. The good thing is you know how much you are buying before you place the order. Paying £5 delivery would still be less than the extras I put in the basket in the shop.
JeanetteMuff 05.06.2002 04:00
Excellent level of detail & answered all the questions I could think of about this service. It's made me feel more inclined to try online supermarket shopping at some stage. Thanks! Jeanette
MRSCANADA 04.04.2002 22:10
Again we don't have this Shoppingmarket in Canada..so I'll
have to trust you with this one..LL