A Tesco phone? It’s late, but it could really blow the doors off

hudl from tesco

The moment Tesco brought their own Hudl Android tablet to market, the idea of a Tesco phone became a reality. When the supermarket chain proceeded to sell container-loads of the devices, the proposal must have surely headed to the top of the to-do list. 

On one hand it’s a no-brainer. An absolute no-brainer. You see, here in the United Kingdom we have the following players in rough order of customer base: 

– EE/Orange/T-Mobile
– Vodafone
– Telefonica O2
– Hutchison 3G (“Three”) 
– Virgin Mobile

…and then, Tesco Mobile.

That’s it. There are a few other odds and sods that specialise in particular markets. But I write that list to give you an idea that when we’re talking scale in the mobile operator world, Tesco is right there as a key player. They got the price point, the market entry and the delivery spot on with Tesco Mobile, scoring millions of customers primarily on PAYG. 

There won’t have been much point in a conversation between the Tesco Mobile folks and the Hudl people. Beyond the occasional nod at Tesco HQ, there’s little need. Yes, theoretically you could stick a sim card into a Hudl, but the whole concept was “Tesco simple” — with no messing around, no complicated choices. For £119, you get a decent 7” Android tablet with 16GB of space. Job done. No wonder if flew off the shelves.

Making sure as many of your customers as possible have direct one-click access to your shopping and media services is a very sensible approach for Tesco. Especially when the likes of Ocado (et al) are literally a tap away. It’s even better if you can get the consumer to pay for the device. At it’s most basic level, every visitor to Blinkbox or Tesco Direct from a Hudl is money saved in Google Advertising. 

A phone is a natural step. Especially given the fact Tesco Mobile are currently enabling millions of people to shop with Tesco’s largest and most intensive competitors. Again, at the most basic level, if you can keep your Clubcard (loyalty) customers focused on your brand, on your marketplace, on anything you care about, then you’re winning.

In today’s world, it’s about attention.

If you don’t have attention, or the ability to win the attention of customers, you are going to have a very bad day, every day.  

Therefore a Hudl phone is a natural extension to the tablet strategy.

I’m rather excited at the concept. I think, as I wrote in the title, the Hudl phone has the capacity to blow the doors off the marketplace on number of different levels. 

When you go shopping, you spend money. What is your weekly food shop total? £50? £100? 

Walk into any mobile operator store and scan the PAYG shelves. You’ll find a decent Android phone on, or around the £99 price point. That seems pretty expensive.

But if you’re standing in “shopping mode” with the endorphins buzzing as you commence your £100ish shopping visit, £119 on a Hudl tablet or £99 on a Hudl phone doesn’t seem to expensive.

Indeed given you’re already predisposed toward Tesco’s simple, value approach, all you need is the allure of ‘double Clubcard points’ or similar and the chances are you’ll be evaluating a Tesco phone purchase in a completely different manner to what you do in a mobile phone shop. It’s rather amazing how ‘cheap’ something can look when it’s got loads of (effectively meaningless) Clubcard loyalty shenanigans attached to it. 

If you then take the logical extension of phone and mobile network, the offering could get significantly compelling. £99 phone (reduced to £79 after all your Clubcard triple-double-bonus-special-whatsit) along with £10/month unlimited everything PAYG. Something like that.

Just like legions of customers have opted out of the mainstream by moving their Home Insurance, Travel Insurance, Loans and even Pet Insurance to the generic safety of the supermarket brand, it wouldn’t take much to extend that to mobile devices (and, of course, mobile services). 

How would the British mobile market look if Tesco sold a million Hudl phones in 2015? Interesting. Very interesting indeed.

What do you reckon? Obviously I’ve got some rose-tinted Google Glasses on right now, but with a fair wind, we could see some real excitement soon from Tesco. 


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