Those activities aren't likely to directly increase Tesco's sales. But carpoolers who decide they like the service will have Tesco's name in front of them every time they book a ride through the system, which is run by a non-profit organization called Liftshare. Still, as an online marketing effort, the Web site for setting up rides is oddly low-key: Customers can't even click on the Tesco logo to go to Tesco's own site.
Loyalty cards are usually a way of tracking customer preferences and pitching new purchases—that is, they're all about CRM. But Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer,is stretching the concept in a new direction. The U.K. grocer is testing a ride-sharing program that lets Tesco loyalty cardholders sign up online to share car trips to three North London stores. What's interesting is that Tesco's ride-sharing Web site doesn't just push rides to Tesco. It also encourages riders to use the service for commuting, getting kids to school and going to sporting events and shows.