In what is perhaps a predictable move, Tesco has now launched its own price promise – to be cheaper than Asda or get ‘double the difference’ back. But will it clinch victory for Tesco in the supermarket price war?
So, Tesco has done it. No, it hasn’t launched stores in space, or created its own boyband (although that’s got to be around the corner). It has launched its own price promise to square up against Asda in the latest round of the supermarket price war.
To be fair, we all saw this coming didn’t we? Tesco (among others) has been critical of Asda’s price guarantee – saying that consumers are being misled and that too many products are excluded in the comparison. (I don’t entirely disagree with the last point).
How does Tesco’s guarantee work?
The process looks simple. Buy your shopping at Tesco, log on to Tesco’s Price Check – its own online comparison – and within 36 hours, you’ll be sent a voucher for ‘double the difference’ if Asda turns out to be cheaper.
If not, you’ll be reassured that you’re shopping at the cheapest of the two supermarkets.
But I still have questions. Firstly, why just Asda? Tesco says it wants to keep things simple and only compare against one other supermarket, but why not put its money where your wallet is and refund if another supermarket is cheaper?
While it might be fruitless to try and claim that Tesco is more expensive than Waitrose, for example, is the supermarket giant so sure that it’s the cheapest of them all?
Tesco isn’t truly independent
And unlike the Asda guarantee, which is powered by grocery comparison site MySupermarket, Tesco uses its own Price Check. Not necessarily a bad thing – but it obviously isn’t ‘independent’ in the true sense. Will this prompt a wave of criticism from rivals? Time will tell.
The Price Check promises to exclude only on the basis of significant differences in quality and size – we’ll test it out to see what this means in practice, but in the meantime, do let us know if you’ve had a go.
The good news is that it also compares multi-buy or price-cut special offers on individual products. So if your Tetley tea bags are on promotion at Asda, Tesco will still use it in its comparison.
Tempted by new Tesco price promise?
We know that despite not coming out on top in the recent Which? supermarket survey, more of our members shop at Tesco than anywhere else. Will this new price promise cement loyalty or tempt in new shoppers? I’m not 100% sure.
Don’t get me wrong – on paper these initiatives to lower prices will go some way towards benefitting shoppers. But to me it does seem that the focus is on outdoing each other rather than providing the best all-round service. Price alone doesn’t determine where we shop.