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June 20, 2017

Tesco online shopping glitch – As Amazon waits in the wings, supermarkets must work harder

10% of online orders were cancelled thanks to an “unforeseen technical fault."

By Ellie Burns

Tesco online shoppers were left fuming today after online orders were cancelled due to a computer glitch.

The UK’s biggest supermarket said that up to 10% of online orders had been impacted by the glitch, with customers across the country affected by the IT meltdown. Tesco blamed an “unforeseen technical fault which resulted in the forced cancellation of many orders due to a complete system failure.”

“We’re experiencing an IT issue which is affecting some grocery home shopping orders. We’re working hard to fix this problem and apologise to customers for any inconvenience this may cause,” said a Tesco spokeswoman.

With Tesco left at the mercy of furious online shoppers, many having taken to Twitter, a bigger question arises regarding traditional supermarkets and new market entrants  like Amazon. Indeed, would Amazon ever experience a similar problem? It’s an apt question with Amazon recently signalling that it wants a larger slice of the grocery market – so much so that it has put down $13.7bn to acquire Whole Foods.

Amazon has its online muscle now bolstered with nearly 500 physical stores, with the ecommerce giant already well versed in how to monetise data, analytics, IoT, AI etc etc. So how are traditional markets going to compete with tech giants opening up shop? How will Tesco compete against a seamless omnichannel experience when it experiences glitches which wipe online orders?

For Iain Chidley at Delphix, the answer lies in data.

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“With players like Amazon moving at pace, just this week acquiring Whole Foods, it’s hard to imagine this retailer experiencing the same problem [as Tesco].

“This means traditional supermarkets must work harder to differentiate with a digital experience that excites users through continuous innovation and can perform based on quality data. 

READ MORE: Amazon buys Whole Foods for $13.7bn – proof shoppers still want bricks-and-mortar

“The grocery market is now data driven, so traditional supermarkets must innovate to remove bottlenecks in the data supply chain and harness information about the customer journey and buying patterns to stop them becoming irrelevant. Moving data at the speed of business is critical to the success of innovation and can be achieved by using virtual machines to develop, test and innovate new features without impeding the customer experience.

“With the likes of Amazon firmly embedded as a market leader, innovation and a perfect customer experience must be at the forefront of all company vision to keep pace with the savvy consumers who are becoming used to near perfect performance.”

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