Tesco Drive-through – Marketing Mix: Place

Place is just one of the four main P’s of the Marketing Mix – which on a simple level is Product, Price, Place and Promotion – that is used to focus a marketing strategy in a coherent direction. ‘Place’, however, is often over-looked due to the lack of flexibility and long-term logistics of placing products effectively – distribution is more likely to be adapted to meet customers needs instead. But Tesco’s new drive-through shopping experience changes this: customers will be collecting products from their cars, rather than at the till, which should give them a competitive edge in their saturated market.

The new drive-through scheme is being trialed in Hertfordshire and allows customers to order their shopping online and choosing ‘Click and Collect’ to be able to collect the goods within a two-hour time-frame. Then they park their cars at the store while members of staff load the car boot up: all for just a £2 fee. Although, it does increase sales value – despite being more labour-intensive – this tactic is more about volume and customer service; hence, this forms apart of an Ansoff’s Matrix market penetration strategy by boosting sales from exisiting customers within their current market. This should give Tesco a competitive advantage. Laura Wade-Gery, chief executive of  Tesco Direct – the online shopping arm – believes this service will benefit parents who find shopping with children too stressful and young professionals who do not have the time to wait for home delivery.

But, this drive-through program remains very much in the concept stage of marketing life-cycle. This means Tesco, rightfully, has several doubts as to whether this scheme would work on a full nationwide scale; the Place aspect of the Marketing Mix needs to be broken down again and again to the finest of detail to understand what works in a niche may not replicate its success in a mass market. Moreover, many stores do not have the simple operational capacity and the logistics do not look sustainable for neither Tesco nor their customers. Therefore, the only real marketing benefit from this escapade will be the short-term PR for a slightly innovative service.

© Joshua Blatchford author of Manifested Marketing 25/08/2010

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