Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tesco launches New Corporate Website - We Suggest it Needs to Go Back to the Design Lab For Version 2.0

Corporate Identity & Image: Analysis/Opinion

United Kingdom-based Tesco plc, which owns 175-store El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, has launched a new corporate website. [See the site here.]

The new, more modern-looking website features Tesco's trademark blue red and white colors, replacing the global retailer's "old grey lady-style" utilitarian site, which was functional but lacked a look reflecting the trend in corporate websites today, which is to offer bolder colors and graphics, along with increased links and features, although it's our analysis and opinion the new website isn't an overall improvement over the previous version.

Among the new features of the corporate website are links on the home page to Tesco's various global retailing chains, under a headline that says: "Tesco in your country."

The menu features links to the 14 countries where Tesco has it retail divisions. When you click on a country link, such as USA, you're taken to the website for that particular chain, which in this case is Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. The new feature is a plus, in our analysis and opinion.

In addition to the traditional corporate website links like "about," "press" and "investors, Tesco's new online home also has a clearly-marked link at the top to it's online retail store website.

The new website also offers a couple additional features the old version didn't have, such as expanded corporate history and corporate responsibility sections.

Other than the additions mentioned above though, the site is nearly identical to the old corporate online home in terms of information content and functionality.

The launch of the new corporate website comes in conjunction with Tesco's release on May 31 of its annual report and announcement that its annual shareholders' meeting will be held July 1, 2011.

The just-out annual report features a discussion of Tesco's new executive-director compensation plan, which among others things will change the way Tim Mason, CEO of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, and as of March 2011 Tesco group deputy CEO, is given bonuses and stock incentives.

We'll have a story about the new plan and it's affects on Mason and the other directors upcoming in Fresh & Easy Buzz.

In our analysis and opinion the new corporate website is a bit amateur-looking for Tesco, which is the world's third-largest global retailer, after number two Carrefour of France and U.S.-based Walmart Stores, Inc.

For example, take a look at the font style in the body of the website on Tesco's new website. The fonts look more hobbyist design-oriented rather than of a professional website design, in our opinion.

Additionally, we find the investor and press features a bit slow to load and to use, compared to corporate websites from major retailers like Walmart, Carrefour, Target, Safeway Stores and others. And look at the special website (here) Walmart has set up for its annual meeting tomorrow. It's very impressive, smart and useful.

We also can't find any links to social media - Facebook, Twitter, ect. - on the new Tesco corporate website. Can you?

This is a major omission because one of CEO Philip Clarke's main initiatives since taking over from Terry Leahy in March of this year has been and is to increase Tesco's use of social media, which he has and is doing. But you can't tell that from the new corporate website. A corporate website is the perfect place to list and integrate a retailer's social media efforts. Tesco's new site flunks big time in that regard.

For example, there's a section on the website called "Multimedia Library," which one would think would be a logical and good place to share Tesco's various social media offerings with users. But ... there's nothing there.

We suggest Tesco take a look at Walmart's website, for example, which not only looks far superior to the United Kingdom-based global retailer's new site but also offers many more functions, including an excellent section detailing the Bentonville, Arkansas retailer's social media sites.

Tesco's new site is brighter and bolder than the corporate website, without a doubt.

But we suggest CEO Philip Clarke should tell his web designers - and have a talk with the executive who signed off on the site going live - to take a look at similar sites offered by Walmart and other big retailers, then instruct them to go back to the design lab and create version 2.0 of the new Tesco corporate online home, a website that better fits Tesco plc's status as the world's third-largest global retailer.

Hopefully the site is in Beta test mode, although we don't think that's the case.

Tesco does have a food-oriented website, Tesco Real Food, which we think it does a good job with.

But the site is separate and distinct from and serves different purposes and functions than its corporate website.

But what about some integration? We can't find a link on Tesco's new corporate website to its Tesco Real Food site, can you? Nor do we see a link on Tesco Real Food to the corporate website. (And if there is one it means it's so poorly located we couldn't see it. And we looked closely)

This omission is a real failure to integrate. After all, there are numerous synergies Tesco could utilize between the two websites. Such a thing is really basic marketing 101 (or at least 102) stuff. Perhaps Tesco should have let a coupe university interns check out the site before going live with it.

A retailer's online image via its website is perhaps today its most-important corporate identity tool along with its brick-and-mortar stores. We suggest the identity and image conveyed by Tesco's new corporate website is far from one befitting the world's third-largest global retailer.


Anonymous said...

MEOW! At least none of your union "goons" have been pestering my customers lately.

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Anonymous June 3, 2011 6:47 PM (aka Feline:

We're a family-owned, non-profit, non-union blog - so we don't have any union or other types of goons at our disposal.

Perhaps you are commenting in general - or perhaps the cyber cat pounced on the computer mouse and sent the comment to the wrong blog as a result of all the excitement?