How Tesco forced me to buy on Amazon

Yesterday I failed to buy a Christmas gift at Tesco, simply because they make it impossible to purchase from them. I was given instructions on exactly what to buy and was passing a Tesco store anyway so dropped in to try and make the purchase.

Unfortunately they were out of stock, but not to worry said the assistant, we’ve got more due in tomorrow (it was an electrical item). Great, could I reserve one and collect it in the evening? No, that wasn’t possible, apparently Tesco don’t allow you to reserve stock that’s destined for the shelves. However the assistant did have a suggestion – that particular Tesco store has a dedicated desk for their Internet shopping at the other end of the shop. I could simply ask for it to be ordered online with pick up in store the next day.

Ordering from Tesco Direct seemed like a great option, but then we discovered that it’s out of stock online, I could set up an email alert for when it comes back into stock online and then order it for collection in store.

The problem is no one knew when it might be back in stock and if that would be before Christmas, but what I did know is that a quantity were being delivered to that very store the next day. It would appear that Tesco shop stock and Tesco online stock is totally divorced and Tesco appear to have no ability to join the dots of online and offline commerce.

Sometimes I despair, We at Tamebay had great hopes when Tesco opened up a marketplace and grand visions of being able to order online and collect instore with your groceries. If Tesco can’t even make their own stock available what chance do they have of getting a marketplace working well?

The shop assistants were marvelous checking the 10 nearest stores for stock. Two of them even offering to check the shelves next day and hide the item for me until I could get back to collect it. The thing is though there was a similar product in stock on Amazon, albeit a couple of pounds more expensive. It was just a couple of clicks to order.

It was also being sold on Amazon by Safield Distributions Ltd. I know Safield, I’ve been out drinking with the owner many times over the years and we used to talk on the PowerSeller board. I know I’ll get good service from them.

Buying on Amazon was as always a pleasure, mainly because it’s so quick and easy. Trying to buy from Tesco was just a nightmare. I wouldn’t mind if Tesco had genuinely been out of stock, but they had the stock already scheduled to be delivered within 24 hours. Shop stock is different to online stock and they have no system to join the two so they lost the sale.

We’ve heard a lot of complaints from businesses that the likes of Amazon are killing the high street. It’s not Amazon killing the high street, it’s inept retailers killing themselves and driving consumers online.