The front page of last week’s Marketing Magazine was overcome by the all-conquering supermarket Tesco as it announced its new health and beauty push aiming to become “better than boots”. Their plan? To roll out a “beauty services” retail concept before the end of the year which could take the form of in-store hairdressers and nail bars.
The push is driven by the company’s desire to introduce more upmarket beauty brands to stores but it will be interesting to see how this is received by consumers – there are a couple of issues here.
Firstly, is it a step too far? As well as the unnerving prospect of a “value” haircut, it just seems like another example of tesco monopolising, well, everything. It could signal another narrowing in the choice consumers have about who they buy from.
From an experiential standpoint, it could be argued Tesco is looking to create an experience for its consumers. In our recent article “What part of Experiential Marketing are brands not getting?” we discussed how experiences form the base of Red Bull’s communication strategy to great effect. Tesco as a brand is the polar opposite of this. They provide a product-based service and use mass media channels to push the message of their products to huge numbers of people.
The fact that Tesco is looking to add value to its customers by engaging them with an experience is a good sign and one that we obviously encourage! But do the consumers themselves actually want this? Is this the step too far that limits choice and pushes the small, independent stores that used a personal experience as a USP by the wayside?
We will be keeping an eye on how this all unfolds with interest…