Saturday, October 15, 2011

Internet Shopping and Supermarket Wars

The maytrees' household tends to avoid using Tescos for supermarket shopping although its pile them high sell them cheap sales technique has done that supermarket company and its shareholders well over the years.  Tesco's latest salvo just  fired off  this week, in  competition to attract shoppers has galvanised what is fast becoming a war for customers' custom purses and wallets  between supermarket chains.

Sainsbury's retaliatory locally fired   salvo  appealed. They offered a £15 cash back on using their internet delivery service.One of the disadvantages of  having ceased to be car owners  for green/ethical reasons is that of having to lug heavy groceries back home from a local supermarket so   the prospect of being paid by Sainsburys for using their home delivery service, was obviously attractive and in the event so it  has proved (thus far).

Sainsbury's next defence   in Tesco's supermarket wars put in place  this week  is essentially to offer automatic voucher rebates  on shopping costs if their computer linked checkouts  showed that the bill would have been cheaper at Tescos. On my arriving at the Wimbledon Sainsburys to test this out, it was apparent that they were seeking to minimise the negative impact of customers being  informed  automatically that Tesco's is cheaper, by cutting their own prices - so much so that my checkout receipt far from incorporating a voucher rebate announced that I had saved all of £2+ by not shopping at Tescos - a bit of a damp squib really.

Ensuing debate in the maytrees household took place about the negative impact on farmers and other suppliers whose profits ie incentives to stay in business, must be being cut to the bone to facilitate this competition. Also the fact that such war cannot be sustained indefinitely must mean that prices will rise in due course and  negatively affect the various cost of living indices. If so the rate of inflation may increase soon but one would expect the rate to slow down albeit temporarily beforehand should the supermarket wars' price falls prove to be more real than apparent. Despite these disadvantages and the fact that intense price competition between supermarkets is apparently causing some local small establishments to close - my experience of the latter whilst on holiday in Dorset a few weeks back is that they can be quite over priced and with limited choice - the competition seems fine at present for the shopper anyway.. Good local shops will find ways of catering for the niches which cannot be touched by the big supermarkets and price of course is not the only factor which determines whether or not to buy.

Internet shopping for my Kindle to ease the  the daily District Line commute on the other hand, is proving not only as cheap as chips but also a much more attractive way to read  good books than carrying the paper and cardboard versions around to read. I only hope that some  local book shops manage to  be  innovative and keep a step or two ahead of their  megalithic digital  cousins.

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