Tesco Lab’s NextGen API now live!


Tesco Labs Developers Portal logo

I’m delighted to relay to you that the brand new Tesco Labs API is now live. This next-generation API use the latest cloud tech to give you access to grocery product information at Tesco.

Tesco Labs software engineer Pablo Coberly has posted an article on the Tesco Labs website introducing the new API and the new developers’ portal to set up your dev account.

I’ve already created an account and I’m coding a test app (called, of course, Testy McTestFace) to try it out.

This news comes after a recent decision by Tesco Labs to connect the Tesco grocery platform to the app / api connection platform called If This Then That (IFTTT). Using IFTTT, customers can automate adding to basket and other rules (indeed Tesco Labs and their IFTTT fans have already provided 33 rule sets (known as recipes) at the time of publishing this article; for example:

Tesco Labs If This Then That recipes

I haven’t spoken with any of the Labsters about this, but my take on them creating these latest-generation services is that Tesco Labs is all about experimenting and testing new innovative ideas with their customers and colleagues. Each tested idea may be virally successful at one extreme, and it may fail at the other extreme, but Tesco Labs is prepared to take the risk and learn. No doubt they will listen to feedback and tune the IFTTT service to give it the best chance of success. They will also learn the real patterns of usage which they can use to consider new services of this sort.

In addition, IFTTT is one of the ‘friendliest’ API services to use. Unlike most APIs, no programming knowledge is required. It is the closest API yet to reaching a much larger base of customers – particularly millennials who have grown up in the digital world are likely to understand the concepts behind IFTTT much more readily. For Tesco Labs to provide their service through IFTTT recipes means they reach out to this new group in an innovative manner.

I would also say that, based on my many years at Tesco.com, using IFTTT would be part of a continuing plan to simplify online grocery shopping and tune it to work best with busy customer lifestyles. Many customers who use grocery home shopping are ‘time poor’, and ways that can be found to make it simple and easy to shop groceries really win over customers. Using automated rules to add items to a basket are perfectly suited to this goal.

And lets face it: Using services such as APIs and IFTTT mean that Tesco can provide controlled access to their online grocery service for third parties. The alternative is that you cause others to satisfy that unmet need through unauthorised and uncontrollable web-page ‘scraping’.

So well done Tesco Labsters, another reason I hold you up as the definitive innovation group in the UK!