Friday, 6 August 2010

Why have we snubbed iPhone by launching grocery on Nokia?

I have lots of interesting feedback from readers wondering why we we went for Nokia first and (as GoMo News put it, "Tesco snubs iPhone with mobile commerce application").

First of all we actually haven't snubbed iPhone. Ribot have built grocery apps for both Nokia and iPhone and we're just finishing user-acceptance testing of the iPhone version which will give you a similar experience to the walkthrough I posted yesterday.

You know me by now - I love iPhone!

But it's not about me, is it: It's about thinking of our customers and the sort of phones they have. I have written before about 'Busy Mums', and there are are other demographic groups core to our online grocery business.  You'll also recall that I wrote recently about our Venn Diagram of core demographic shoppers and iPhone users and finding there wasn't much overlap. So when we did look at the sort of phones that they have, we spotted that plenty of them had Nokia phones, so we invited Nokia to come and map their phone data on our demographic data and we both confirmed much more overlap with their Series-60 smart phones than we did with iPhone. Maybe not a surprise, but we needed to see the evidence.

With this data staring at us - and with three iPhone apps from Tesco already deployed - it just made sense to try this out with Nokia first. Yes of course Nokia are delighted with our decision and they will be showcasing the Tesco grocery app in their OVI store awareness marketing, and we thank them for that!

But R&D, as a value to our business, is about examining the facts ruthlessly and following the evidence relentlessly - and the biggest cold hard fact is that a much greater percentage of our core customer base for online grocery have a Series-60 Nokia phone than an iPhone.

It's also a fact that Nokia's latest phones are capable internet devices and have become savvy at running apps. Customers will enjoy a good grocery shopping experience on their phone.

However, iPhone fans, a grocery application from Tesco will be reaching you during the course of September. Far from snubbing iPhone, I think we (or rather, Ribot) have done that device proud, as you will see.

Until then please allow our Nokia-owning customers enjoy a first crack of the app whip for once!


  1. Thanks for the explanation, Nick! So, could Nokia prove that apps usage is increasing on their Series-60 phones? It seems like you have invested a lot of time in this app, and wonder if ROI can be 'guaranteed' quick enough on the Nokia platform.

  2. Is there any news on an Android app? I'm not sure what the overlap would be for your demographics, but up until the new iPhone was released Android phone sales exceeded iPhone sales in the US. I imagine the case would be similar in the UK.

  3. Hello, Nick,

    That's the good way to go for clubcard-based app development. It will carry more customers into off-markets.

    Hope this app could be interoperable to other mobile-platforms soon. Oh, here I wonder if you would consider a security issue when deploying app-based biz model.

  4. Congratulations on making a good, well grounded design decision. How you tackle the mobile fragmentation issue totally depends on your user base. Doing your homework and researching your audience should pay off. Best of luck!

  5. For people who can't wait for Tesco's in house developed iPhone shopping application note that there is a full function 3rd party developed iPhone shopping application (first released in May 2010) already on sale using the Tesco API that Nick has discussed here a number of times. Search for 'WhatDidI'.

  6. Nice, is this just for s60 or based on Java? I'm curious if you use stuff like PyS60, (if thats not top sekret) ?

  7. Hi Nick,

    Interesting comments about the demographics; however, when you started by saying that the intersection was around Nokia devices I thought you were going to go on to say Nokia feature phones (mass market) rather than Series60 smartphones... am assuming that the feature phone space is bigger but that you ruled out the Java MIDlet route (and for good reasons)... but would be interested in your thoughts.


    p.s. great apps :-)


As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: