In the age of ‘big data’ we see supermarkets as being at the leading edge of harvesting consumer information in order to drive their business, but are they missing a trick?
In the UK, Tesco says that there are over 15 million Clubcard users, and Nectar states that it has over 19 million users. In return for the ‘rewards’ that loyalty cards bring, the managers of the scheme harvest vast amounts of data about our shopping and lifestyle habits, process this into information and then provide it back to retailers. It’s big business, and one that’s been built up from the perspective of data. It could be this that also provides a blind spot and an opportunity for innovation.
Supermarkets are, for most people, the retail location that we visit the most often in our lives. Yet despite this, the vast majority of what the supermarket(s) know about each of us, whilst factual, doesn’t have a great deal of insight about what we thought of the experience. Whilst writing this article I’ve been trawling my memory and can’t recollect any of the supermarkets that I’ve used ever pro-actively asking me for feedback about my customer experience.
As a comparison, I’ve flown on airlines for pretty consistently for all of my working life, and during this time I’ve fairly consistently been asked for feedback about my customer experience. It could be a quirk of fate, but worth investigating further.
Whilst the supermarkets are not alone, it does seem odd that they don’t put as much emphasis pro-actively asking their customers about their experience. With the significant roll out of automated checkouts, are the supermarkets missing a trick in not providing big ‘traffic light’ buttons for your views on their customer experience during your visit as a part of the check out process? It would after all be the most timely and direct kind of feedback. After all what use are fully stocked shelves if you don’t have customers walking through the doors. In retail, as with other sectors, differentiation is increasingly more about the experience rather than just the product or purchase.
Increasingly, it’s necessary to bring together asynchronous data sets in order to understand the full story. To do this it is often the perception or experiential type of feedback that can unlock the puzzle.