Beer and Nappies
Many have warned about the power of supermarkets, in particular citing market basket analysis and the urban legend regarding beer and nappies. All joking aside, Tesco (Britain’s largest retailer) is getting very good at mining for gold in their data, Orwellian almost. My Wife and I use our club card at every opportunity – it’s worth a penny for every pound at Tesco or up to four pence if you use it on special offers.
As I paid for a small number of groceries the till printed out an extra voucher for me. Previously, I’ve been handed vouchers for extra points when buying bread or milk by a friendly cashier. I didn’t really think much of it. But this voucher was different, this time it struck me that Tesco are mining information about me.
The voucher offered me 150 points (£1.50 -> £6.00) if we purchase a £10 Top-Up for my Wife’s pay as you go mobile phone. Back-story: my Wife used to get her Vodafone top-up vouchers from Tesco before an unfortunate incident where the self serve machine didn’t print out her voucher and the store refused a refund. Since then, we’ve always made a point of getting them from somewhere else.
From a system’s perspective, Tesco obviously know that we’ve spent a fair amount of money on vouchers for Vodafone network in the past and that we’ve bought at a certain rate. We’ve stopped buying it at Tesco and they’ve worked out how much it’s worth to them to get our custom back once with the hope that we’ll stay. This voucher carries more to us than most of you reading. You’ve probably got a contract phone, or you live outside the UK or you use a different network. Don’t worry though, Tesco probably have a promotion relevant to you ready for the next time you checkout.