The supermarket giant, Tesco, is rapidly growing its sales across Ireland using the unique power of the GeoDirectory database

Bucking the recession

According to a recent report in the Irish Times, Ireland now ranks tenth in the world for internet shopping. Despite the recession, online sales continue to forge ahead.

Attracted by the sheer convenience of 24/7 online shopping, more and more customers are choosing to order goods from the comfort of their own homes.

Recognising this cultural shift in shopping habits, Tesco recently upgraded its website to provide its customers with a super-efficient online delivery service.


GeoDirectory in action

New customers sign up on the simple registration form provided on the Tesco website  www.tesco.ie. After entering the first line of their address and selecting their county, they are presented with a list of potential matches from which to choose.

GeoDirectory is then used to capture the address selected by the customer and matches it to a precise geocode, based on its unique directory of X,Y coordinates for every building in the Republic of Ireland.

This allows Tesco to pinpoint the exact DED (District Electoral Division) that the customer lives in, which in turn means the company can instantly match the customer to the store closest to their home address.
“When we get the order at what we call the dotcom store, a copy is then sent down to the relevant physical store,” explains Mark Hutchinson, the Grocery Business Analyst for Tesco.

“Our in-store application systems then capture all the relevant information, including the delivery address, the geocode and the details of the order. That information is then downloaded by our Customer Delivery Assistants onto handheld devices which are supplied to every delivery driver.”


Scheduling orders and calculating routes

The geocodes generated by GeoDirectory are invaluable. They can reveal where there is a cluster of orders in the same locality, which means these can all be delivered together, streamlining the process. In addition, Tesco uses the geocodes to help calculate the best routes for the drivers.

The procedure is fast and efficient. Darren explains how it works: “A customer could place an order, for example, at 9pm or 10pm on a Wednesday night. At 6am on Thursday we can then start picking the order, and by 8.45am we start the delivery. A van might be loaded with 10, 20 or 30 deliveries, depending on its capacity and on the quantity of goods in each of the orders.”

Keeping up with the changes

Mark highlights the advantages of the quarterly updates available from GeoDirectory. “On our previous website, before our recent upgrade, we used several outdated datasets.“When we updated our data and services using GeoDirectory in early 2010, we discovered that we now have an extra 30 per cent of addresses that we didn’t have before, mainly new buildings. That means our customers will have even more success in finding their exact address when they register on our site.”


Excellent customer service

From the initial launch of its online shopping service, Tesco has used GeoDirectory as its central database. Without Geodirectory it would not have been possible to set up its sophisticated online delivery operation.
We could have worked with a third-party web service provider that bases itself on GeoDirectory, but we wanted a service that would be owned and managed by Tesco, so we work directly with GeoDirectory. The GeoDirectory team are always supportive. “There’s never a problem getting hold of them, and they’re always able to provide us with access passwords, updated data and whatever other information we need. We really appreciate that responsiveness. - Darren, Tesco

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