Case Study of Accessibility Benefits:
This page is part of the Resources for Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization.
“Not only do we get the satisfaction of doing the right thing, but it's a great market opportunity in its own right.”
(John Browett, Tesco Chief Executive3)
Many fully-sighted people find Tesco's Access site easier to use than other sites. Although originally designed for visually impaired users, the site now attracts a much wider audience, spending £13 million a year, which is a fraction of the original cost of £35,000 to develop the accessible site.4 (See *Note on current best practice)
About the business
Tesco was started in 1919, amongst the East End grocers’ markets of London (although the first Tesco brand products and Tesco store came 5 and 10 years later respectively), and in 1932 Tesco became a public limited company. It is one of the UK’s largest grocery retailers, with annual profits in 2005 reaching £2 billion 1. In addition, Tesco supplies a wide range of non-grocery consumer products, covering home and lifestyle, entertainment, and insurance. In 2000, Tesco.com was launched.
Website visitor numbers
www.tesco.com/access/ Unknown, but substantial2
Implemented: 22 May 20013
2000, June-September: Alpha testing by 20 users of varied visual impairment in tandem with progressive development of a new interface design.3
- 2001, January-May: Beta testing of the new interface by 70 users who are blind and partially sighted, recruited in liaison with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).3
- superfluous images stripped from the site3
- clear description of all link text3
- elimination of main site’s column-based layout allowing for intuitive navigation3
It should be noted that this new interface did not replace the existing site, but was made available as an accessible alternative for those users who had no need for the picture heavy content some home-shoppers used.3 (See *Note on current best practice)
Revenue from site sales has increased to £13 million annually. Under the principle that a user should be able to make a purchase of 30 items within 15 minutes (over a 56K connection), Tesco have enabled users with and without visual impairmentss to achieve this target regardless of which interface they prefer.4
- Pre-christmas orders (2001) increased to 700,000 per week, with an average spend of £95 .3
- The accessible site displays well on mobile browsing devices and via low speed connections.3
- Tesco PLC 2009 (accessed), website: www.tescoplc.com (www.tescoplc.com/)
- Statbrain.com 2009 (accessed), Report: Tesco Visitor Statistics (www.statbrain.com/www.tesco.com/)
- Mc Manus, S. 31st May 2001, “Tesco launches visionary website” (www.sean.co.uk/a/web design/accessibility.shtm)
- Employers’ Forum on Disability 2009 (accessed), "Realising Potential" (www.realising-potential.org/case-studies/industry/e-commerce.html)
*Note on current best practice
It is generally not current best practice to develop a separate accessible website; instead, it is best practice to make your main website accessible. [Myth: Separate Accessible Versions (Text-Only)]
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A limited franchise agreement has been signed by Tesco with Trent, retailer of Tata group, which is one of the largest industrial corporations of India (Mintel, 2010).
* There has been fierce competition in the UK grocery market. Tesco though has been leading this sector for 15 years, but is now faced with intense competition from its competitors which are gaining in market share. These include the rest of the ‘big four’ i.e., Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons respectively. * The decline in income and the rise in unemployment have affected the discretionary buying behaviour of consumers which has adversely impacted the company’s sales, in particular the non-food items.
* Promotion of free trading blocs by governments to benefit from globalisation has been presented in the literature. Immersion of 10 further countries into the European Union (EU) took place in 2004 promoting trade between Western and Eastern European countries. This has provided Tesco with a platform to expand its retail network across the EU. (Tesco, 2009). * China’s accession to the WTO has promoted a free flow of foreign trades by removing all barriers encouraging Western companies, including Tesco, to make way into the world’s most profitable market encompassing over 1.3 billion people. In 2009 an agreement was signed by Tesco to set up a premeditated series of joint ventures for the