Tesco has announced a trial, to enable Facebook users to earn Clubcard points by using Facebook to 'like' and 'share' products they like the look of on Tesco Direct. If their friends click on the link and end up buying the recommended product, you both earn the points.
So is this a brilliant example of getting something for nothing, or is there a catch?
The schemeThe scheme is simple to use. You go to the Tesco Facebook page and get the 'share and earn' app, then you enter your Clubcard number. Next you browse the catalogue and click 'Share and Earn' next to any products you particularly like - or you think your friends will like.
If they then click though the link you post and buy the product, both you and your friend will earn Clubcard points. It is running as a trial for the next four weeks.
Tesco claims it's designed to appeal to customers who love to recommend things to friends anyway - and love the extra points too. Matthew Entwistle, Marketing Director for General Merchandise Online from Tesco, said "More and more of our customers are using Facebook to chat about and recommend products they like from Tesco direct. And we know our customers also like to collect extra Clubcard points, so we're really pleased to offer them a fantastic way to do both things at the same time. It's our way of saying thanks for supporting us online."
BenefitsThere are definite benefits. If you are talking to your friends about something you have bought recently, or someone asks around their friends for recommendations and there's something you genuinely rate, then it's a decent way to benefit from your helpful generosity.
ConcernsHowever, there are two concerns. The first is that it could drive people to buy from Tesco without shopping around. The site is competitive, but it's often undercut by rivals. If you just recommend the name of a product to a friend, they can do a search on a shopping site and find a bargain, if you post a link they may be tempted just to click through and perhaps end up paying over the odds. It's this that makes the deal worthwhile to Tesco.
The second is that people could easily see Clubcard points as something for nothing, but they aren't. The supermarket funds this scheme - and all the marketing and administration - through its profits. It makes these profits by charging more for the products. So if it didn't run this scheme, it would be able to cut its prices. It essentially means we are all paying for those extra Clubcard points through higher prices.
Of course, given that this scheme has been started, you may have little to lose from taking part. You will already be paying for it through higher prices, so you may as well stand a chance of getting your hands on some of the points too.... just make sure that when you're browsing the catalogue for something to recommend, you don't end up making impulse purchases at the same time.