Tesco must divine data to put innovation back at the heart of its business, says FMCG marketing agency

Tesco needs to put innovation back at the centre of its business, says Life

Tesco needs to put innovation back at the centre of its business, says Life

Ian Humphris, joint managing director at integrated FMCG marketing agency LIFE, claims Tesco’s new CEO must put data at the centre of its turnaround

“As Dave Lewis settles into the biggest retail job in Britain this October, replacing Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke, it’s no understatement to say that he’ll have to hit the ground running.

“The facts speak for themselves: Tesco’s worst sales decline in 20 years; one million fewer customers a week, and £1bn committed to a turnaround that doesn’t seem to be working.

“The big question is what is the former Unilever marketer going to do to turn around a brand that was once a flagship of British success, but that now seems to flail from one solution to the next: trendy coffee shops, family friendly restaurants, community spaces for yoga. It all seems a bit desperate.

“Tesco should literally know better. Its database holds more information on the UK population than anybody else bar the government. By divining this data it should be able to put innovation back at the centre of its business.

“Innovation used to be what Tesco did best: bringing online shopping to the masses; reinventing loyalty cards; creating varied product ranges that served different consumer groups, and giving consumer banking a facelift.

“But in recent years it seems to have lost its innovative spirit and lost its way. While Amazon promises us drone delivery in the next couple of years and the Amazon Fire could reshape shopping, Tesco’s Every Little Helps line seems small beer in comparison.

“The slogan has served it well, but as Lewis takes the stage, it is the time for Britain’s biggest retailer to start thinking big again and putting innovation at the centre of what it does. The next five years will see massive changes in retail as technology changes the shopping experience beyond all recognition. Tesco should be leading these changes and forcing its competitors to pay heed.

“It’s got the data, it’s hopefully got the leader, now it needs to show that it’s got the vision.”