May 14, 2010

Come on, Tesco. Finish what you started.

If you’re an iPhone user then you’ve probably at least heard about the Tesco clubcard app. The simple app displays a scannable barcode that you can use instead of your full sized wallet clubcard or mini, car keys version. Great, right? Well yeah, for what it’s worth it’s pretty good (even though it only scans on the newest in-store barcode readers). But I think they’ve missed several tricks that would have made it an absolute blinder of an app.

Having the app installed is no more handy than having a clubcard attached to your keys, in fact the process of finding the app, tapping it and waiting for it to load makes it marginally less handy. The beauty of smartphones is that they are two-way media. You can both send and receive information on the fly. Because of this, Tesco could, and should, implement the following features:

  1. The ability to check your points balance from the app. EDIT: Literally the day after I posted this, Tesco released version 2.1 of the app that now allows the user to check points balance.
  2. Special, app only offers and coupons delivered to the screen in the form of scannable barcodes.
  3. The ability for customers to redeem their points balance in the form of a clubcard voucher on the screen.
  4. The ability to pass points vouchers directly from the app to the tesco online store. (may only be possible in iPhone OS 4. I’m no expert)

These features, although not groundbreaking, would take a half decent app and make it outstanding. Chances are it would be fairly expensive to implement the infrastructure for these features but once it’s in place there’s no reason it has to be limited to iPhone users. Android and Windows mobile could have apps and even a simple mobile site could provide the same functionality to other phones. Low end phone users could even have the info and offer codes texted to them.

Although I’ve singled out Tesco, any outlet with a loyalty card system could jump on this bandwagon and improve the experience for all customers. So bloody get on with it!

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