Posted By Simon Francis
I was speaking recently with employees of a large UK food retailer, and was really impressed with the way they were looking at using even the simplest store device to help build their relationship with their customers and provide valuable insight.
The more I speak with retailers, the more I hear them speak about improving this relationship, and what better way than providing a simple method of allowing customers to provide their opinions so that organizations can tailor the experience accordingly? Once this customer research is fed back into a central repository, they have the opportunity to survey customers across the country.
One retailer’s solution was based around one of the lowliest and often overlooked devices–however, we all use them on multiple occasions throughout the day–the credit-card reader; in this case, the chip-and-pin devices that are widespread throughout the UK and continental Europe. At the end of the payment transaction, the stores have coded a simple yes/no question. It started with a simple “Did you enjoy your shopping experience today?” but has now expanded to ask customers questions that help the organization to craft their store service.
They now run a question for a seven-day period across their stores, and then record the responses centrally. I was told recently that they are currently recording an incredible 300,000 responses per week. An example of the type of questions it is asking customers is “Would you be willing to pay for plastic carrier bags?” This is a common practice in other parts of Europe, such as Germany, to reduce waste and promote sustainable living; however it is a hotly debated practice here in the UK.
This is a great example of how an intelligent system can provide real insight into the habits of the shopper, and really engage with the customer. You can read more about interesting intelligent systems solutions in retail on this blog and our newly designed retail industry page on our website. Who would have thought that even the chip-and-pin device cares? As for the fate of the plastic bag, I guess we’ll have to see!