Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two Weeks On: Tesco Launches New @UKTesco Twitter Feed Today

The Insider - Heard on the Street

Tesco, which owns El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and is the leading food, grocery and general merchandise retailer in the United Kingdom where it's headquartered, today launched its @UKTesco customer care/customer service Twitter feed, which is something that should be of particular interest to Fresh & Easy Buzz readers who follow my columns.

Here's why: In my March 18, 2011 column - The Twitter Agenda: Tesco CEO Philip Clarke Meets With the Troops About Social Media - I talked in general about new Tesco CEO Philip Clarke's decision to make social media, particularly Twitter, an important part of the global retail chain's communications strategy.

In the column I also offered some specific discussion about a Twitter feed called @TescoStores, incorrectly reporting it was the property of Tesco, something I corrected in a follow-up column on March 22, 2011, which you can read here: In Twitter Veritas: Tesco CEO Philip Clarke Sets 'The Insider' Straight Via A Tweet.

In my March 18 column I also offered a prediction, saying Tesco would start posting tweets on @TescoStores no later than two weeks from March 18, 2011. Although I was incorrect about the still unknown ownership of the @TescoStores feed, I was right in terms of the timeline I offered in my prediction: Today's launching of @UKTesco is one day shy of two weeks from March 18, 2011. Launch date prediction: right on; name of Twitter feed launched, incorrect.

The story begins on March 18 when I wrote about a meeting CEO Philip Clarke, who took over as chief executive early this month from retired CEO Terry Leahy, held with executives and staffers at Tesco's UK corporate headquarters to discuss the increased use of social media and social commerce at the company.

As I noted in the column and in the March 22 follow up, since taking over as CEO Clarke has made the use of Twitter at Tesco and by Tesco executives a centerpiece of his first month as head of the third-largest global retailing company in the world. Fresh & Easy Buzz first reported on the development in a story in February. See - February 24, 2011 Dormant No More: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market CEO Tim Mason is Now Tweeting on Twitter.

The social media focus by Clarke, who launched his own Twitter feed in November 2010 and prior to taking over as CEO this month was head of Tesco's corporate information technology and European retail operations, is a good move by the Tesco chief in that, among other pluses, it serves to distinguish him right our of the gate from former CEO Terry Leahy, who although was far from anti-technology wasn't all that keen on using social media at Tesco, although the retailer did begin using it under Leahy's tenure.

Tesco's El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has been using social media, including Twitter and Facebook, aggressively since early 2009.

As I wrote about on March 18 and March 22, Tesco has launched a number of specialty Twitter feeds (many in 2010) for its United Kingdom retail and related businesses, which comprises about 70% of total global sales, but had yet to operate a corporate or customer service type central Twitter feed. That's where @TescoStores came in.

But since @TescoStores doesn't belong to Tesco, as you can read about here, the company created @UKTesco to be its overall customer care/service feed for its United Kingdom operations.

And @UKTesco, although it's not @TescoStores, was launched today, one day under two weeks from March 18, 2011.

I'm told, without equivocation, that @UKTesco belongs to the United Kingdom-based retailer, as it says is the case in the very first tweet posted on the feed: "Welcome to the official Twitter account for Tesco customer care UK. If you've got any queries, let us know, we're here to help. via HootSuite."

But it probably wouldn't hurt Tesco to get the Twitter feed "verified" though, using Twitter's simple verification process. You know, just in case there might be a misunderstanding.

- The Insider

[Readers: Read 'The Insider's' past columns, including his news-breaking reporting and analysis on the Sprouts Farmers Market-Henry Farmers Market acquisition-merger, at this link - The Insider.

No comments: