Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer, Tesco: Revitalizing a Grocery Icon

For a century, Tesco has been synonymous with British life. Today, the grocery retailer serves 80 million customers a week from the UK to Malaysia. But in the 2010s the business was faltering and becoming disconnected from its customers. The Tesco brand had become a drag on people’s perception of the quality of the food it sold. In 2014, Dave Lewis joined Tesco to turn the business around and in 2017, Alessandra Bellini joined the team as Chief Customer Officer, charged with revitalizing the brand and re-engaging Tesco with its shoppers. Bellini joins the podcast to take us inside how the retailer turned around its business by simplifying its product lines and shifting its focus towards customers and their love for food. She also talks about how Tesco responded to the Covid-19 crisis with unprecedented speed at scale — from implementing safety protocols to hiring and training thousands of new colleagues — forcing the company to flex its 100-year-old “memory muscle” where everyone instinctively knew what to do to help customers and colleagues.

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • A brief history of Tesco and how it earned a reputation for innovative retail experiences
  • The difference in responsibility and scope between a Chief Customer Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer
  • How Tesco changed its brand strategy and simplified its value own-label brands to remove confusion and regain customer trust
  • How Tesco responded fast in the early days of the pandemic — including daily customer sentiment check-ins and launching a multi-channel campaign in 72 hours
  • How values guide Tesco’s decisions to take a stand on social and political issues
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