Tag Archives: supermarket customer loyalty

A New Approach to Customer Loyalty?


In a recent blog post, omNovos takes a new and innovative data-driven approach to defining supermarket “loyalty program,” which, they say, might make it better for all parties and stakeholders.

Based on the premise that the emerging digital aspects of customer engagement have had an impact on what the term “loyalty program” actually means, omNovos suggests it’s time to reconsider the concept of rewarding people for repeatedly purchasing goods, despite the fact that this approach has generally worked well for many years.

Their position is that traditional points-per-spend programs have become less valued and looked upon more as coming from a “what have you done for me lately” perspective.

So, what’s a better approach you might be wondering…

Well, the article addresses the question, “Do my customers want a great loyalty program?” with the answer, “No!”

Instead, the article suggests, “they yearn to be recognized as individuals—and a part of a mutual, long-lasting, meaningful and highly personalized relationship. This is loyalty at its core, far removed from a program.”

So how does this new definition of loyalty work?

OmNovos says supermarkets must do away with the concept of dollars and points, and replace it with strategic “actions” based on customer data knowledge.

“This is where relationships begin,” the article said. “Where brand begins to emerge, and so-called rewards are highly personalized… this is a prime environment to convince customers that they are wanted, appreciated, and loved.”

An example given assumes customers can be encouraged through advertising channels to download the store’s mobile app.

Once they have done so, the engagement process begins, omNovos suggests.

“On day one, they [customers] are prompted to list likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions—all while a grocery list builder prompts them to divulge what they typically shop for… then they are immediately offered specials just for them. It could be a discount. Better yet, it could be a fantastic recipe for them to try based on their data inputs. Going forward, they receive personalized weekly check-ins letting them know about sales on the things they like, plus additional food recommendations—again, I dare say the possibilities for personalized content are endless.”

The article also points out that at no time are points-per-spend mentioned to the customer. Yet the customer was made to feel special and prompted to buy more all because they felt like they were personally appreciated.

Sounds a lot like the primary point of this blog!

Supermarkets Working to Enhance the Customer Experience!

A Sutherland white paper recently posted on retailcustomerexperience.com  reports that supermarkets and other retailers are combining traditional customer care activities with more progressive “customer experience” initiatives to drive a better overall shopping experience, customer loyalty, and profits.

Taking a view that customer care is not longer just a cost center, these retailers are enhancing the quality and frequency of key actions, including:

  • 1 on 1 customer interactions and using the information exchanged as a form of voice-of-the-customer data to impact decision making.  The report states that leading retailers use “journey mapping” to map the end-to-end customer experience. This helps identify problems when the process breaks down and opportunities to reduce “friction points.” In turn, retailers prevent revenue leakage and improve the overall customer experience.
  • Personalization via integrating data, technologies and analytics as part of customer care services. This personalization will become the future of customer care according to the report.
  • Social media to stay connected and promote more meaningful interaction and mind share.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name?

A recent SupermarketNews article shared information on software that might turn-back the clock when it comes to customer engagement.

The piece, entitled Moving From Transactional to Personalized Relationships in Grocery, references a time when “the neighborhood grocer knew all of his shoppers by name, and more importantly knew their shopping habits and preferences. It enabled a level of personalized service that benefitted both parties tremendously.”

The article goes on to say that through the use of technology and the data-driven insights it provides, the opportunity exists for that kind relationship to return. Personalization can now be scaled across a broad customer base with online tools and digital communication channels.

The journey involves four “stages of maturity” according to the white paper that is accessible through the article, which are:

  1. Static & Minimal Digital Presence
  2. Basic Digital Engagement
  3. Digitally Active Customer Experience
  4. Data-Driven Personalization

Once a supermarket reaches the fourth stage, it is suggested that they will be able to fully leverage the data and insights that their investments and strategic partnerships have been able to deliver.

“These grocers are leveraging real-time data to make strategic adjustments on the fly,” the article says. “…and using predictive data science to plan for the future.”

Read more in the article…


Market Basket Saga Now a Book

Several of last year’s posts followed the Market Basket story as it unfolded, noting the high-level of customer loyalty and engagement. A recent Supermarket News article reported that the extraordinary story of Market Basket’s summer of turmoil is now a book.

Authors Daniel Korshun and Grant Welker’s “We Are Market Basket: The story of the unlikely grassroots movement that saved a beloved business” retells the story of the family feud leading to the firing of popular company president Arthur T. Demoulas, and the employee-led walkout that virtually shut down the chain until Demoulas reached a deal to buy out family members six weeks later.

The authors also say they were unable to gather comment from opponents of the shutdown.

Read the full article… 

A Year Later Market Basket is Thriving

A recent Boston Globe article reported that since the management turmoil of a year ago, Market Basket is now thriving.

According to the article, the company is on track to record total revenues of about $4.8 billion in 2015, the most in its nearly 100-year history. It is also in expansion mode, opening five new stores in the last year, some with upscale accents such as massive gourmet cheese islands, expanded organic food offerings, and outdoor cafe seating. Two new stores are under construction in Plymouth, Mass., and Rochester, N.H.

In buying full control of Market Basket from his relatives last August, Arthur T. Demoulas was forced to borrow about $1.6 billion. Analysts at the time predicted the debt burden would force Market Basket to either back away from its discount pricing model or curtail its unusually generous profit-sharing plan for employees.

But so far, executives say, neither has happened.

“Our business model is completely intact, and we’re running the shop with a lot less distractions,” said Arthur T. Demoulas, Market Basket President and CEO.

Could this success story be a testimonial for customer service driving customer loyalty?

Read the full article…

Customer Loyalty… at DeMoulas or Hannaford?

It will be interesting to see if some of DeMoulas’ customers forced to shop elsewhere during the shut-down will, in fact, come back!

For example, this summer’s employee walkout at DeMoulas Super Markets resulted in around $100 million in new sales during the fiscal third quarter for rival Hannaford Bros., officials of Hannaford parent Delhaize Group said Thursday.

The extra sales were concentrated mainly in the 30 Hannaford stores located closest to Market Basket locations run by DeMoulas,

Kevin Holt, who joined Delhaize as president of its U.S. operations in July, said about the walkout, “The teams did a great job of coming in and really filling in to take care of those customers. We saw a substantial increase in transaction count during that time… we also worked very hard on trying to improve our store operation and present ourselves better as well as making some strategic price investments as well… Our intent is to hold on to all of the customers that we can.

“Market Basket did come back in the business very quickly. I think it’s a little early for us to tell right now how many customers it will actually hold on to. But we’re really focused on trying to do the best we can to hold on every customer we can and keep them with Hannaford.”


DeMoulas Saga Continues…

The Demoulas Market Basket saga continues. The Board is evaluating its options including a sale of 50.5% of Market Basket to Arthur T. They seem to be in no rush.

The rallies continue. Protests outside the stores continue. If you saw our post from last week, you understand that there is very little left to buy in Market Basket stores. Here in Nashua, NH with 3 large Market Basket stores, frustration is building but, the customers and the employees have banded together to push for the return of Arthur T.

Surrounding competitor stores are receiving an influx of business and they are scrambling to handle the increase. A produce manager at another store told me that his produce sales were up 50% since the Market Basket upheaval a few weeks ago!

At the local Hannaford, every cash register line is open all of the time. Additional scales have been added at the deli. Yesterday there were five people working in the deli and yet, I counted 28 people in line there. Shelves are being constantly stocked but, the number of out-of-stocks is increasing. There is a waiting line to get into the parking lots. Inside the store, the aisles are crowded with shoppers.

Stay tuned…


DeMoulas Supermarket Update

Here’s an update on the Market Basket story from last week. The employees continue to rally outside the supermarkets. Since last week’s posting, Arthur T. Demoulas has offered to buy the 50.5% of the business that he doesn’t own. The Board of Directors met last Friday, saying that they would evaluate his offer and “all other offers received previously or since.”

The employees are fighting for their CEO and the Market Basket culture. Market Basket employees have long felt that they are part of a family and they have received good wages and have had a generous retirement plan. As we said last week, we don’t know how this will end.

Perhaps the new management believes that within the next week or so, the employees will tire of the rallies and decide that in order to support their families, they need to go back to work. But what about the Market Basket culture? Have the actions over the last two or three weeks irretrievably broken it?

For those who can’t imagine how the stores look, here are two pictures taken at one of the Nashua, NH Market Basket stores on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

market1 market2