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Where does your loyalty lie?

 In Uncategorized

I’ve always thought of myself as being a bit like the family dog. No, not old, smelly and lazy. Just fiercely loyal.

And not only to friends and family but to my brands of choice too. I am not a big lover of change. I like to know what I am getting and, when it comes to grocery shopping in particular, knowing where to find it.

(Unless, of course, the store has recently undergone one of those immensely frustrating product shift rounds to encourage lost and bewildered shoppers to spend more money).

It’s always been Sainsburys for me.

I’ve got a friend who’s the same, but her loyalties have always remained with Tesco, despite the fact they made her redundant over a decade ago!

We’re the sort of shoppers who are happy to provide user feedback – both good and bad – in order to improve our end user experience.

Of course, any feedback we provide is for the benefit of others too. But if I am being completely honest, it’s for ourselves for the most part. Mainly because we are sticklers for our favourite brands and don’t like to see things go awry.

Going, going, gone…

The friend in question is just one of many people experiencing a bit of Tesco distress at the moment.

The first ever store that Tesco opened – the flagship store in said friend’s former hometown of Burnt Oak in North West London – is sadly being closed down.

Of course, residents in the area are up in arms about it. Although the store actually moved around the corner from its original location, that Tesco has been making the lives of Burnt Oak – and other Edgeware – residents easier since 1929.

For current and former residents, hearing the announcement earlier this month was like saying goodbye to a piece of history.

Plus, the future of the building is yet unknown, so there’s the fear that it will just become another high street that is home to empty shops or, worse still, a tower block.

As one commenter on the news release said: “this is a disaster for local people in Burnt Oak, as we have no other supermarkets in this area.”

So, it’s not only goodbye to a little piece of Tesco heritage but it’s adios to convenience too.

Jobs down the pan

It seems that stores aren’t the only thing Tesco are ditching. Monday’s papers announced that they are to cut 1,700 shop floor jobs.

Then, a mere 24 hours later, Sainsburys followed suit, although they didn’t actually announce how many jobs would be cut. According to headlines though, “thousands of Sainsbury’s store staff are facing an uncertain future as the company looks to restructure senior roles in an “efficiency” drive.”

Apparently, Sainsburys are consulting on plans that will aim to slim down the number of management roles.

As for Tesco, whilst they plan to get rid of 1,700 jobs, they will also create 900. They hope to move people affected by the job cuts into these new roles. (That’s nice then. A job for everyone. Well, except for the 800 people that won’t get one!)

These changes are part of the turnaround strategy for the company and -according to Matt Davies, Tesco’s UK chief executive – are “necessary to ensure our business remains competitive and set up for the future”.

At your convenience…

And the more I read and hear about all this upheaval, the more I realise that’s what it all boils down to. Competitiveness for the brands and convenience for the customer.

Yes, we all love an emotive customer experience. And if you are loyal to a brand, you know they will deliver.

As I mentioned earlier, I was always a Sainsbury’s shopper. But if I think about it, was it because I loved their products and/or store layout, or was it simply because it was the one closest to my house? Just a few minutes in the car and I’d be there. I could even walk there if it was necessary.

Since I’ve moved though, and no one supermarket is closer than another, my loyalty has waned somewhat.

I have to admit that I will now gladly venture somewhere new. And not only to purchase recommended products, but also if I hear about good bargains and can save myself money.

Yes, it is mightily frustrating navigating your way around somewhere unfamiliar but you get used to it eventually. And the elements of the user experience are always pretty favourable in my book.

That will be Burnt Oak resident consumer feedback too. Yes, they can all jump in the cars and head to the nearest Tesco that’s still in business but, as customers commented: “Why go all the way over to Mollison Way, when there is Asda and Morrison’s down the road?”

What’s in your wallet?

It’s fairly evident that the big supermarket giants are making job cuts in a bid to save money. Presumably so they can then deliver cost savings to customers.

Discount grocery stores such as Aldi and Lidl are definitely posing a threat to the market share of the major, well-established chains, so it’s high time they did something to retain a foothold.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how fiercely loyal customers like to think they are.

At the end of the day, times are tough for pretty much everyone. And even customers who don’t really want to switch allegiance might end up doing so because they can’t afford to do anything else. 

We all have to eat, so we know that grocery stores aren’t going to disappear completely into the ether. But if it comes down to choosing between two products of equal quality but with vastly different price tags…. Well, we know which one is going to be met with greater consumer satisfaction, and loyalty be damned.

Okay, I’m not saying that consumer loyalty lies with their wallet in all instances. But it’s definitely worth taking the time to carry out some user experience monitoring. Then you’ll discover exactly how your customers see your business.

Only then can you expect to deliver exactly what they want. In return, you may garner ongoing loyalty and positive consumer feedback.

Contact The Monachie Project for more information as to how we can help you help your customers.

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