The Innovation Team at Tesco never stops thinking about how we can use technology to help our colleagues and customers.

The Innovation Team at Tesco never stops thinking about how we can use technology to help our colleagues and customers.    

When the right technology is applied in the right way, it can change the way we work and the way we shop - it wasn’t so long ago that our colleagues were punching prices into tills and using pricing guns to label every product. Today we scan barcodes, making the checkout process much faster and saving customer’s precious time.

Our job in the Innovation Team is to spot those new technologies with the potential to change shopping for the better and apply them in a way that make our colleagues’ and customers’ lives easier.

This week, there are two technologies in particular that we’re trying out in our stores which I think have that potential.

Electronic Shelf Edge Labels are not new in themselves – we’ve been trialling their use in some of our other markets, including Hungary. We’ve taken our time to make sure we’re using the best possible technology that customers will find easy to read. 

The ones we’re using now use the same e-ink technology that’s used in ebook readers and feedback from customers has been good. That gave us the confidence to trial them in our Letchworth Express store in Hertfordshire, and we’re about to roll them out into our Enfield Superstore too.

The potential benefits for colleagues are huge – it’s a much simpler system than manually changing between five and ten million shelf edge labels every week. That’s a lot of time that our colleagues in stores spend changing fiddly labels which could be better spent serving customers.  So that’s one benefit for customers too.

The other benefit is even more confidence that the price on the shelf edge is correct. When we are changing 10 million labels, mistakes can happen. With electronic labels, pricing information can be controlled from a central system and prices are changed instantly. That means that the price on the shelf will always be the same as the price at the till.

The second innovation of the week is our first ever app designed specifically for Tesco colleagues.  I’m absolutely delighted by the reaction I’ve seen on social media from colleagues and in feedback they’ve given me directly. 

Designed for use on our own tablet, the hudl, but also available for other tablets and smartphones, the app provides colleagues with up-to-date information on product availability, so they don’t have to go to the store room to check for more products.

That means we don’t leave customer waiting on the shopfloor while we check if we’ve got stock in the back. It also provides the exact location of all products in store, so we can help customers find what they need faster and gives helpful prompts on promotions and offers that might interest customers.

Technology is helping customers shop differently on their smartphones and tablets, but it is also helping us to find new ways to provide exceptional service we all take pride in.

Mike McNamara, chief information officer, Tesco

Taken from Tesco’s Talking Shop