The non-food arm of Tesco’s online offering, Tesco Direct, will cease to exist from 9 July, but will you even notice that it’s gone?
According to a statement from Tesco, it is closing its Tesco Direct shopping website because it was making a loss, with ‘no route to profitability’.
Launched in 2006, the catalogue-style site sold a wide variety of items such as clothes, toys, home, electricals and cookware, which Tesco says its customers can already buy in store or from its grocery website, Tesco.com
It feels like the closure of Tesco Direct should be a watershed moment for online shoppers, but is it really?
Direct to store
In our latest survey (December 2017) of 10,500 online shoppers, Tesco Direct gained a respectable 75% customer score, so it seemed fairly popular.
But with many of Tesco’s larger stores stocking the same or similar items sold on the Direct site, it was, to my mind, beginning to feel a bit redundant.
In a saturated market, Tesco Direct didn’t seem to have that essential difference to make it stand out from the likes of Amazon, John Lewis and AO.com – which, incidentally, all scored higher in our survey of online shoppers.
Of course, it was handy to be able to get your Tesco Direct order delivered to your local Tesco branch, but the Click and Collect concept just isn’t new any more – high-street favourites such as Argos and Boots have offered it for years and the other grocers are also getting in on the act. There’s simply nothing unique about Tesco Direct these days.
Is Amazon the problem?
Personally, I’ve only ever bought something from Tesco Direct because it came up on the Google search higher than anything else or I wasn’t able to get it from Amazon.
And to me, therein lies the problem for Tesco Direct. The website was created to compete with Amazon but it simply couldn’t offer the same service. Amazon has been able to expand exponentially over the past few years – it has a marketplace, countless sectors and an ever-expanding selection of things you didn’t even realise you needed.
What’s more, if you sign up to Amazon Prime, you can have your purchases delivered to your home or collection point the next day – pretty handy when you’ve run out of cat food.
Prime also comes with other benefits including access to Amazon’s video streaming service, early access to the sales and other benefits that make it seem like a pretty sweet deal.
So as well as getting in food for your feline friend for the next day, within minutes you could be reading a brand new novel on your Kindle while listening to the latest tunes on the Echo. You don’t even have to leave home to do it. Tesco Direct just can’t compete with that.
I doubt I will miss Tesco Direct, but I will mourn the loss of competition in this market – even if it did come from the UK’s current largest supermarket.
What about you: will you miss Tesco Direct? If so, where will you shop instead? Or, if you never used it, what is your go-to online shop?