British supermarket gives Amazon value for money with new online marketplace

Woman on the sofa in the living room shopping online.
9,000 new items launched on the new Marketplace (Photo: Getty Images)

Amazon is often a go-to for online shoppers because you can buy just about anything on the site, from beauty products to clothing, household items, and even parts for your car.

But it seems a top UK supermarket is looking to give Amazon a run for its money, as the retailer has launched its own online marketplace.

Tesco’s Marketplace is active and offers around 9,000 products for sale across DIY, homewares, toys, gardening and pet care.

The new items can be found alongside traditional groceries on Tesco.com and in the Tesco app, but are sold by third party suppliers and paid for separately to your regular grocery retailer.

Own delivery costs apply to items on the Marktplaats. However, customers can earn Clubcard points on all purchases.

Tesco supermarket storefront
Tesco has launched a new online marketplace at Tesco.com (Photo: Getty Images)

At the time of launch, there are approximately 17 vendors in the market, including brands such as Tefal, Tommee Tippee, Silentnight and Charles Bentley.

Tesco says it will monitor Marketplace sellers to ensure they meet ‘robust standards’, monitoring delivery speed, delivery success, returns and customer reviews.

And there are already plans to expand the marketplace offering in the coming months, until it eventually becomes “a one-stop shop for everything customers need.”

Peter Filcek, Marketplace director at Tesco, says the idea for the Marketplace came from customers who had searched the supermarket’s website for items that the retailer did not sell in stores or online.

“That started a flurry of thoughts about what we could do to unlock that range, to give customers what they were looking for, because they were really looking for all kinds of things,” he told The Grocer.

“We are unable to meet truly quantified customer demand in a way that we could never mobilize a retail supply chain to do. So we go where the customers tell us to go.”

Screenshot of Tesco marketplace in the Tesco app
You can shop on the Marketplace on the Tesco website or the Tesco app. (Photo: Tesco App/Courtney Pochin)

He added: ‘We want to become big enough to be a destination. But not so big that (shoppers) stumble over irrelevant things and it becomes a problem and gets in their way.”

This isn’t the first time Tesco has had its own online marketplace. The retailer previously launched Tesco Direct in 2006, offering non-food items on the website.

Tesco Direct operated until 2018, when it ceased operations because the company could not find a way to make it profitable.

Former Tesco boss Charles Wilson said at the time: ‘This decision was very difficult to make, but it is a vital step towards creating a more sustainable non-food offering and growing our business for the future.

‘We want to offer our customers the opportunity to buy groceries and non-food products in one place and that is why we are concentrating our investments on one online platform.’

This comes after Tesco recently made a major change to one of its most popular groceries.

In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, the retailer will remove stickers from some of its avocados and use lasers to ‘tattoo’ information onto the skin as part of a trial.

The powerful lasers remove a small piece of the top layer of the peel and etch size information onto the avocado. All this happens in a third of a second.

Based on current sales information, Tesco claims that this way they can stop using almost a million plastic stickers on loose extra-large avocados.

Westfalia Fruit, which supplies avocados to Tesco, says these avocados are the perfect product for the trial because of the thickness of the outer skin.

The Spalding-based avocado company has carried out extensive testing itself to ensure that the quality, shelf life and taste of the green fruit are not affected by the laser.

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