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Customer choice – and its consequences…

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Customer feedback: it’s crucial to the success of any business. Give the customer what they want and they’ll keep coming back. As I wrote at the start of the year, loyal customers increase returns significantly more than newbies. But that’s not the whole story.

You need to know what your customers want – and how providing it will affect their behaviour.

Welcome to The Monachie Project’s world of user experience research. If only Philip Clarke had asked for our help…

Thanks to our own loyal clients, it’s been another busy week – and at hectic times, convenience stores provide dinner every night. OK, and lunch, plus breakfast on two particularly memorable mornings. I’m not sure what I’d do without the likes of Tesco Express.

With longer working weeks, we can’t always afford to commit a large chunk of our precious time-off to a big weekly shop. Spending little and often at any of the 3,500 convenience stores owned by big supermarket names is perfect. It’s a massive change in the retail landscape.

More customer visits – that’s got to be great news for retailers, right?

Unbelievably the latest market analytics suggest that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons would be better off without their convenience stores. While focus has been placed on the impact online grocery shopping will have on the market, this still only accounts for 6% of sales. But these three big name retailers now operate more convenience stores than supermarkets – and this has been the real driver in changing the way we shop.

For customers it means more choice and less food waste, but it’s broken up sales and damaged retailers’ profits. Just take a look at Asda, the best performer out of the ‘big four’ in 2014 – by sales and profits. How many convenience stores does Asda own? None.

You see, a little known truth among many business owners is this:

Less really can be more.

I remember a client who told me about a local deli. It was well-known for a particular speciality product – one of those gorgeous shops you could browse for ages and get great advice from the staff. Business was going well, so the owners decided to expand their product range. More products means more sales, right?

Not when it dilutes your USP – what they were really selling to customers was their expertise, not a choice of 10 different kinds of jam.

It’s hard to believe that three major superstores got it wrong because they didn’t understand their market well enough – but it happens. That’s why The Monachie Project makes sure we give clients the full story – and that has to include human emotion and behaviour.

Second-guessing customers doesn’t drive sales.

It’s an important lesson. Remember, “If you build it, they will come” might work for a film about dead baseball players, but it doesn’t always apply to business.

Do you know what your customers really want from you? And how their habits will change if they get it? The Monachie Project’s user experience research gives our clients a complete picture of their market. Get in touch to find out more.

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