Price comparison schemes were once a stalwart of supermarkets’ marketing strategies. Wanting to take price out of the equation in consumers’ decision on where to shop, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all used to offer customers money back on their next shop if comparable items could be found cheaper elsewhere.
Asda started the strategy back in 2010, hoping to hone in on its positioning as the cheapest of the ‘big four’ by promising that if shopping with it wasn’t 10% cheaper than elsewhere, customers would get the money back. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons soon followed suit, not wanting to be left behind on key value messaging.
And it became a bitter battleground, with various spats between Tesco and Sainsbury’s in particular over what “comparable items” should include and when customers would be eligible that saw both brands fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority’s ad rules on a number of occasions.
The rise of the discounters
But the growth of Aldi and Lidl in the UK grocery market laid waste to claims by any of the big four to be the cheapest. The discounters won shoppers by charging considerably less, while pushing a quality message that made people feel like savvy shoppers.
Their simple message that shoppers would be guaranteed the lowest prices just by shopping at Lidl or Aldi, rather than having to jump through hoops by inputting receipt details online and downloading vouchers, won them customers. Nowhere was this clearer than in a clever piece of print advertising by Lidl that listed all the actions Morrisons customers would have to take just to get things at the same price as at one of its stores.
The move to so-called ‘everyday low prices’ has been building…