Navigating the new world of work

Category: Customer Experience (Page 1 of 2)

In search of travel experience

When you’re searching for somewhere to go on holiday, do you always know where you’re going? What about the times when you’re looking to do a ‘gap yaar’ and want to wonder around and find yourself…

And sometimes you know exactly where you want to go as it’s been sitting on your bucket list for 15 years waiting to be ticked off. But isn’t there also somewhere in between..?

You can always click ‘give me inspiration’ on Kuoni or click the ‘Sensatori’ collection (whatever that is) on Thomson Holidays. But sometimes you do know, sort of. You know the type of experience you want but don’t necessarily know which part of the world, country or even part of a country you’d need to go to in order to get it.

I was looking for that perfect log cabin experience. You know the one: it’s a wooden building, dead animals on the walls, open fire, snowing outside etc. I thought, which would be the best service to help me find this? Air B&B – that would be the best, surely. Air Bnb is a pretty beautiful site, lots of inspiration for cities to visit, usually Hipster ones of course. It is very pretty.

 

Explore the world

‘Explore the world’

 

But it only asks you where you want to go.

What if you don’t know where you want to go? Only the experience you want and the budget you have? If you type in ‘log cabin’ it does come back with some stuff, but only stuff in the US, so unlucky if you fancied anywhere else in the world.

 

Log Cabins in US

Log Cabins in US

 

What about Secret Escapes then? I love their mobile app, really pretty with a strong focus on visuals and pretty easy to use if you’re just having a browse (gets more complicated if actually want to book a holiday, of course). I typed in log cabin in the Secret Escapes website, and this is what I got:

 
Secret Escapes search results

Secret Escapes search results

 

This is better, more aligned to what i was after i guess… But there’s only two so… If i don’t want Finland or France then that’s about the extent of it. Let’s see if Google can help. I type in ‘log cabin holidays’ and find myself faced with a load of Centre Parcs and Hoseasons options, which, no offence to those who like it, I’m not a particular fan of. I eventually find a site imaginatively called ‘Forest Holidays’ which does offer log cabin holidays, but when I go to search for some, again, it asks me to tell it where I want to be first.

I understand this is to narrow down the types of cabin that will be available when I want, but if I’m experience driven, I’d like to know what’s possible and work out my logistics around that. You can even do a search by ticking ‘underfloor heating’ and ‘outdoor hot tub’ even though many of the types of cabin offer it, you have to sift through them all in order to understand which do and which don’t. Who’s got time for that?

 
Forest Holidays ask for location

Forest Holidays ask for location

 

If you just Google ‘log cabin’ you get directed to Wickes or B&Q of course. All of the holiday offerings allow customer to search based on the company criteria and ease of database search. There is definitely an experience lead offering that’s missing here.

Other types of service offer the feeling of buying the experience alone – what about ‘Red Letter days’? It’s all about the experience of what happens to you – you worry about the date and timings later – often the recipient can choose it for themselves at multiple locations. Hospitality companies need to entice customers with the promise of the experience first and worry about the logistics of it later. And this means going further than offering just a poxy gallery and hoping customers have the patience to imagine themselves as part of it.

Amex’s Amicable Application

I used to have a Bank of America credit card which gave me points on Amazon. I racked up about £50 worth of Amazon gift certificates in around 6 months, which, even for someone who’s an avid Amazon shopper, still surprised me.

However, round about October time, our lovely partnership came to an end. Amazon were no longer offering the card and I was going to get sent some useless MBNA one instead with no benefits at all.

So, I canceled it. Not that it stopped them sending me one of course… And I began the hunt for a rewards card that would give me some value. Actually, there isn’t a lot out there. And certainly nothing of interest that doesn’t require an annual fee, which was disappointing.

After a few weeks of comparing, doing some basic sums and dithering quite a bit I decided on the Santander 123 credit card. Although it has a lousy £24 annual fee, it does allow you to accrue cashback on supermarket shops and most importantly for me, transport. So I can get cashback from using TFL and rail services which makes sense. We’ll see if I actually manage to get the return on my investment in a years time, but after two months I’ve managed to get back almost £10 so it looks promising.

This wasn’t enough for me though. One of the things I spend most of my money on, is food. Restaurants. Santander isn’t offering me anything for that. Not to mention it’s convoluted sign up process (I actually locked myself out and had to wait for another password before I could use the app!) and it won’t let me pay off the card using the app either.

When I do get around to paying it off online it forgets my debit card details so I have to enter them every time! That’s just laziness on their part. Not to mention that if I want to pay over the statement balance back I’m not allowed.

Anyway so I decided to also apply for an American Express British Airways card. Which is free. I plan to use this wherever I can’t get points on the Santander one and the Amex one is accepted. That seems like a nice compromise. The difference between applications for Santander and Amex was phenomenal. I have to say the Amex application was the easiest I’ve ever used.

Amex application process

Amex application process: Basic info

As you can see, it’s slick, and clean with a large font and only asks for the bare minimum of information which is great and saves me time. They also send me regular email updates telling me of the card progress without me even having to do anything. And there it appeared just a few days later.

Amex Confirmation Email
Amex Confirmation Email

I downloaded the Amex app, which is also clean and slick and as a bonus has offers which I can activate, which I wouldn’t have expected from a pure credit company.

We’ll see how long Santander can last without annoying me completely and causing me to cancel it. I’m going to have to try to pay it off directly from my bank account to avoid having to put my debit card details in every time! Argh.

Marvellous Mere-Exposure

If ever there was an industry that could deliver elaborate, ostentatious experiences and expensive to say the very least – it’s the film industry. Particularly Hollywood of course. I haven’t actually seen it in person, but below is an image taken from the inside of Oxford Circus tube station, currently sporting a 1920s American veneer. It is of course a promotion for the film, The Great Gatsby, which opened last month.  I have seen the film and although it did not quite marry up with what I had in my mind when reading it, I enjoyed it very much.



The Great Gatsby on the floor and walls of Oxford Circus tube station


There is something enchanting about this depiction within the bustling underground. However, I do wonder why they chose to do it there when Gatsby is not set in the city and although it is set in New York state does not include the Subway. Nevertheless, this is a lovely extension of the film in an attempt to immerse passersby in the experience of the film and of the time in which it is set and I happen to think it works quite well. And, it is a primary example of the use of the mere-exposure effect or familiarity principle which I am sure makes for healthy profits.

I have not heard of any similar replicas in New York and yet I suppose that is where this would make the most sense.

All the (retail) world’s a stage!

I tried to use my limited time off as wisely as possible after my Masters finished. I went visiting family, managed to land a job and I even took a trip to Japan for a while to soak up some of the culture. On one of my free days I took a trip down to London with friends and went to the Science Museum. If you haven’t been, it’s a great place to spend a morning. I specifically went to look at the Turing exhibition because I live close to Bletchley Park and thought it was about time I tried to soak up some of the history.  I’d also recommend the Google labs for some of the experiments they’re doing there too.

After having some museum fun and armed with the trust iPhone, we took a trip to Burberry’s new retail store at a grade II listed building, 121 Regent Street, which is now their largest store in the world at a whopping 44,000 square foot. Burberry Prorsum, Burberry London, Burberry Brit, Burberry Childrenswear, accessories, shoes, Burberry fragrances and Burberry Beauty are all available for shoppers to drool over. In addition, it has an out of hours and online collection service, a concierge service, alteration service, guest Wi-Fi, iPads connected to Burberry.com and valet service, proving it’s a store of the 21st Century. It has a fitting grand entrance, similar to all the other luxury brands that line the street. If you want to find innovation in retail, this is where you come.


When you walk into the building you’re presented with a giant retail screen (one of the 100 screens in the shop, and 500 speakers!) showcasing Burberry’s iconic trench coats, in advert style. This is the tallest retail screen in the world at a giant 22ft. It’s surrounded by a giant curved staircase reminiscent of something you might expect on Downton Abbey, yet coloured in a modern, clean, white.


The next thing you notice is probably the classic interior, high ceilings immaculately painted, muted, warm lighting and solid flooring, marble and wood. At the top of staircase there are a large set of mirrors, some of which have abstract videos playing on them, and as you wind around to the left or the right, there’s a very narrow landing leading you past more coats. However there are only a select few mind you, one of each style, which fulfills the minimalist ethos of ‘less is more’.


However, there’s something different about these coats and the screens playing videos that accompany them. They seamlessly switch from multimedia and then to mirrors and back. Although I didn’t try it out myself, apparently the coats around the video mirrors are equipped with RFID tags, which, if you put one on will then tell the mirror opposite to display catwalk video of the coat in action. I’m not sure exactly how this is meant to make one feel… On the catwalk I guess? Might be better if it was more of a mirrored image of you on the catwalk, but that’d take some serious augmented reality engineering to look any good.


If you follow the landing a little further, you can find yet more of this season’s trench coats with small screens beside them. Some of them have little videos that show you the sewing detail up very close, and the next to them another square on a stick… But on these ones there’s a lense. You can then see the detail on the coat for yourself through the lense, both stitching and the material if you so wish.


On the upper levels and even further up the floors between the stands of shoes and dynamic signs, there are large areas of comfort with plush carpets and spongy seats to park yourself while you take in the glamour of the building and its apparel. This promotes a relaxed atmosphere which is not something you would perhaps associate with that particular part of London.


The staff in the building were certainly curious about my picture taking, and I’ve read some less than flattering reviews about them and their service, but they were perfectly polite to me. There are no tills in the shop, instead the staff carry around iPads as POS, where they can show you the entire Burberry catalogue, as well as tell you what’s in stock, and even pay for your clothes right there and then while you lounge about on their large sofas. According to the Burberry,  ’employees will carry iPads with applications on them that will provide access to purchase history and customer preferences to enable a more tailored shopping experience’, which is certainly an appealing prospect.


This is described in the media as ‘the merging of the physical and the digital worlds’. Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey states

In renovating this iconic London building we have worked with some of the UK’s finest craftsmen to restore a wealth of historic features, at the same time as pushing the boundaries of digital technology. The result is a space defined by contrasts: at once imposing and intimate, its juxtaposition of craft and innovation is designed to delight, surprise and entertain.”

Well, it’s certainly a juxtaposition of the classic and the brand spanking new. If you come out of Burberry and go a little southwards past Piccadilly Circus you can find yourself at M&M’s world. It’s a bricks and mortar tribute to the American sugary snack. I’m not going to post many of my images of the shop as really it’s something you ought to see for yourself. Aside from the giant M&M characters, Abbey Road replica and rows of M&Ms pajamas, I did notice the emergence of screens in the shop. The first thing is a kind of M&M’s mood wizard. If you stand in the designated area it knows you’re there and will then begin to analyse you, decide which colour best suits you and then chooses a personality to go along with it.


In another part of the store, shoppers can use another wizard that will help them design their very own bespoke M&Ms selection, with the exact colour range that they want, and then they can watch some M&M elves in the Mix Lab making it for them. Not too sure why you would use it consider they have rows and rows of different colours of M&Ms that you could make a mix yourself. But I guess that’s the novelty of it.


If you then walk towards Green Park, you pass the Audi Digital Car Showroom. In this tiny little spot of Audi real estate, you can look through various colour swatches, grab and iPad and design your very own dream Audi. It’s then projected onto the large screens on the walls and you can get a good feel for it, inside an out. Although this is just the first one, Audi are hoping to roll them out over Europe, in dense city areas where there’s not enough space to put the full range of cars for customers to browse.


I guess most of it is novelty. You’re not likely to go to a Burberry store just so you can have a close up look at how well the stitching on the collar is aligned. But Audi feels somewhat different… It’s less of a novelty and more of a technological development that practically solves a growing problem.

The though behind it is clear –  if you spend a lot more time in the store you’re more likely to create brand affinity and therefore come back. However, the interesting part is how these stores have invoked the brand and its vales in order to create a beautifully crafted unique experience, with a bit of personalisation thrown in for good measure.

Lior Arussy puts it well in his book Customer Experience Strategy:

When customers step into a bricks-and-mortar location, they’re looking for theatre. They want a show. They want direct experience with products and people, experience they can’t get on the phone or on the web. Your front line people are actors in retail. On this retail stage you can present demonstrations, product trials, and celebrations. Product launches become local events. Do you have customers who drop by the store regularly just to play with the products? Embrace them. Turn them into evangelists who can showcase your products to other customers. Make them part of the show.

Of course, this isn’t going to work for all companies in all industries, but the success of these shops is clearly evident – they are in fact iconic places to visit in themselves, and you can definitely feel the evocation of theatre unfolding in front of you.

Bigoted Bics

I meant to write about this as soon as I found it but I was in the middle of my dissertation and only seemed to find the time now. Bic, the biro company have introduced a new range of pens. For some reason they’ve decided that they are for women only, by calling them Bic For Her. When hunting for the reason as to why they are specifically for women, the only justification that seems to be available is “Designed to fit comfortably in a womans hand” [sic]. And also that they come in the available colours of pink and purple. Of course.


While this irks me a fair amount and seems rather unnecessary, the blatant sexism isn’t the sole reason I wanted to post about it. The reason is because if you were to hunt for some Bic For Hers on Amazon, this is the first review of the product you would find, recommended by over 2,000 people:



Not only that… There are hundreds! Written by men and women, squeezing out as much satire and sarcasm as is possible, with multiple comments of appreciation from others. They’ve attracted a great deal of attention with ‘jonny’ becoming somewhat a cult celebrity on Facebook at least. Here is another, a personal favourite of mine:



But is that really all Bic could come up with? I wonder what their marketing team is making of all the mocking. Assuming they have any idea… Although this is likely to be seen as poking fun, which really is all it is… We have to contemplate whether this is going to affect their brand image. Is all publicity good publicity? It certainly increases awareness, but not because it’s seen in a positive light. I would love to put this to the test with perhaps a Net Promoter Score or some similar analytics to work out the effect this might have had.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, lest we forget, Bic have been making disposable razors for him and for her, since 1975. Their creativity for new ranges clearly doesn’t stretch far since it’s easy to see where they got their inspiration from. It is a very obvious marketing ploy, but of course it’s nothing new. The Daily Muse also comments on Bic and gives a great countdown of some other products painted pink that presumably therefore instantly attract the fairer sex. In the meanwhile, at least Amazon reviews have given us an amusing outlet to make fun of such nonsense, even if that’s not quite what the functionality was designed for.

Give it some real Klout

If you were a marketer, it’s likely that social influence of your customers would be interesting to you, and one way of looking for it could be having a gander on Klout. Klout is an online system that analyses a person’s influence across various social networking sites and then rates them on a scale of 1-100, labeling them as ‘influential’ about certain topics or subjects. It seems that marketers are attempting to use these scores in order to market to specific people, in the hope they will then go off and influence others about their products or services.

An article from Chorus and Echo talks about a new scheme, or trend that’s being seen – that those deemed to have high Klout scores get preferential treatment when they visit specific nightclubs. And there’s likely to be more of this kind of treatment in future. Forbes has reported Genesys, a contact centre software solution company in the US will begin to integrate Klout scores into its software. This effectively means that those deemed to have high Klout scores (and therefore more ‘influence’ over people), are likely to get routed to customer service agents more quickly, and experience a more efficient service.

So, what’s the big deal? People who have more influence get better stuff, and the company gains loyalty and more followers as the influencers tell everyone about the amazing service they’ve been getting. As Colin Shaw from Beyond Philosophy states, we already pay celebrities to endorse product placement, and marketers are already looking at social influence in any way they can as a value indicator… (Think number of Twitter followers.) It’s win/win surely?

Although it sounds good on paper… I have a problem with this concept. My Klout score is 41. (41 what?) To give you an idea of how unreliable Klout is: Although it thinks I’m influential about Smartphones, User Experience Design and Gluten-Free… Somewhat true perhaps… It also thinks I’m influential about Masters Golf Tournament and Coffee. Of which neither I can stand, and actually don’t ever recall mentioning? Would people from Kenco think I’m a safe bet and try and sell me some coffee? Because clearly they’re not going to get anywhere. More importantly, is there any evidence that people with high Klout scores really influence anyone at all? I do accept, however, that it may get better with time. To be fair to Klout, it only has access to my Twitter account. Perhaps if it had access to other social media accounts, and I was a little more liberal in my information giving practices, it might know more about me and therefore be more accurate. But I’m not about to give away more of my details to find out.

The other thing that bothers me about it, is that even if you really are influential about something… There’s no way of knowing if it’s in a positive or negative way. And even if you did, you could be negatively influential about Rihanna, or positively influential about Disease. What does that even mean? And is the type of sentiment likely to affect how you treat these influential people as a marketer? There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a return on investment available if you can calculate the potential social influence of those you sell products to. Real social influence. But my biggest issue with this model is this: What about if you could buy your influence score to get preferential treatment? We know that some people accumulate fake Twitter followers to look more prestigious, and this could be affecting Klout already. Additionally, we have some issues with marketers wanting to buy exposure to Facebook users, and controversy arising after reports that up to 8% of accounts are fake… So they’re effectively marketing to people that don’t exist. What if you were real…. But your Klout score was not?

A new addition of ‘Moments’ in Klout tries to explain exactly how people are influential about subjects and how they are being influenced. It hasn’t come available for me yet, but Bob Thompson talks about it in one of his posts on Customer Think. It’s possible that a feature such as this might give more insight to marketers about how influential people really are, and just who they might influence.

The Experience Economy

While looking for more things to read, I found a new heap of Customer Experience and strategy related books and have slowly been working through them. A little while ago I finished this book by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.


The Experience Economy


Published in 1999 It’s one of the earliest books I’ve ever come across that mentions Customer Experience explicitly. I’ve recently read that it was based on an article written the year before and that indeed the term is attributed to them. Almost 15 years later, I still see it as one of the most relevant books I’ve read for our times, particularly in the era of Customer Experience Management. For a business book (and an old one at that), it’s a pretty interesting read.

The basic premise of the book explains how the focus of the consumer economy has shifted. So in the early stages we had the Commodity Business which concerns itself with basic products, sugar, gold, wheat etc. Which quickly changed into the Goods Business which sells differentiated products, as in products that are built of basic building blocks from the commodity business but they’re changed into products that have a Unique Selling Point, which is of course where marketing comes in. They next describe the Service Business which doesn’t concern itself with tangible goods necessarily but with which we’re pretty familiar with considering it makes up over 60% of the British economy (so you’d think we’d be better at it). They then go on to the Experience Business which I would argue we’re only just embarking on. This is the most exciting of the evolutions. An obvious example is perhaps those of theme parks such as Disneyland where the park is designed specifically to create wonder and amazement. Pine and Gilmore state that it’s the job of the business to create ‘memories’ for customers, in other words to architect memorable events for them, resulting in the experience or the ‘memory’ itself becoming the product.

As they Guardian recently reported, even in times of an economic downturn, the spending on luxury and exclusive experiences for the rich still continues to rise exponentially. They go on to report that people, particularly the young, are now beginning to define themselves by what they have done rather than what they own. They state the trend even spreads to China, which is an economy known for it’s obsession with brands and status symbols. I can see the beginnings of this even for those without the six figure salaries. Everyone’s heard of those track days where you can drive an Aston Martin for all of two laps, but what about this:


Zombie Shopping Mall – Complete with Endorsement from Simon Pegg


It’s a kind of Zombie Experience Day where you get to pretend you’re in a Shaun of the Dead movie. Lots of actors are in there loudly moaning and pretending to be after your brains and you go around a deserted shopping centre (a real one!) with a laser gun shooting them all, while they film you and give you the footage as a souvenir. Absolutely genius idea. It reminds me a bit of that scene in Minority Report where people of the future pay to go into a pod and can live out their fantasies, with one guy having constant applause and praise from a circle of people surrounding him, “Oh you’re so great!”.

Further on from this, Pine and Gilmore describe the Transformation Business which includes things like the education industry, where your customer comes out ‘transformed’ as a result of your business. Or even perhaps things like drug rehabilitation? Where customers pay to spend their time somewhere to (hopefully) gain something from the experience. Their main argument is that businesses can now charge for the ‘value’ that they add, and the more they add for the consumer, the more they can charge of course.

This obviously has great resonance for businesses. Even if you sell products, you can still (to some extent) design the experience a customer has with your brand, in terms of customer service and the web site that you have – they all contribute to the experience. Whether you’re an MNC or SME, you have the ability to alter the associations that people have with your business. I do think it’s time for companies to start looking to the future to try to determine how technology can help them add that value through positive, seamless experience and exceeding their customers’ expectations.

Responsive Design

Responsive Design is a big phrase at the moment. It’s all about optimisation. Engineering your web site or app to look it’s best on any device is really important – it’s got to be effortless. Advances in CSS3 have made this a lot easier, for designers and developers. It’s also been a leap for customer and user experience, meaning that users can use the web site or the app, whatever device they choose and the experience doesn’t suffer. However, this shouldn’t be exclusive to e-commerce sites, as more people are doing things on the move, all sites should be following this direction. So I’ve decided to make sure that even my own blog is readable from smartphones and from tablets.

This is how it looks on an Apple iPhone 4s and a tablet:

 

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OK, so the text is still fairly small (it does appear bigger on the devices), but it’s still readable and you can even see the buttons on the smartphone (just). You can see how the text nicely realigns itself for a more narrow column and adheres to a different grid ratio. The proportions are good, and the images are nicely resized. Overall, a success I would say. Basically if your users are noticing that there’s a difference between their devices then there’s something to notice, and you need to do something about it. If they don’t even notice then the design is likely to be how they expect – if not better. It’s always good to try to anticipate how the user is going to be using your site, whether they might have their mobile device landscape or portrait, and what activity it is they’re doing. Are they reading? Make the text larger. Are they going to have to type? Make sure the important stuff is kept above the keyboard. Are there a lot of pictures? Make sure they resize appropriately and they’re at the correct resolution and size for the device they’re on.

Ramsay’s

For my 21st birthday, my parents gave me a trip to Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea – aptly named ‘Ramsay’s’. We went last Friday, and I’m now 23. That either says something about the organisation skills of my parents, their schedules (and mine!) or how difficult it is to get on the waiting list. Probably a combination.

It coincided nicely with the end of term, so I was really looking forward to going. I went with my parents and some of the family so it was great to have a group of us to catch up at the same time. It began with some canapes, of lobster cornettos, truffle, basil and parmesan dough and scotch quails eggs – which were all really beautiful. Next came an amuse bouche – yes those really pretentious things taken foam the French that are supposed to ‘amuse the mouth’. For us it was a pea and mint mousse, which was absolutely gorgeous. Next came the starters, so here is a picture of mine:


Pan-fried sea scallops from the Isle of Skye with heritage apples, fresh walnuts, celery and cider emulsion.

I’d have never have thought of putting scallops with apple, but it was actually a beautiful combination. And there’s nothing I love more than some hand-dived king scallops. Probably my favourite of all seafood. Next came the mains, mine was:

Isle of Gigha halibut with Atlantic King crab, cauliflower couscous, finger lime and ras el hanout infused broth.

The flowers were incredibly pretty. I’ve also wanted some on my main course haha. Next came what was called a ‘fruit soup’, I think it was orange, passionfruit and also had jasmine tea in it. With some sort of white foam on top. It was interesting, supposedly a palate cleanser I’m guessing. Next was my favourite part of all, dessert:

Banoffee pie souffle, banana and salted caramel crumble.

Lastly we were given some petite fours of chocolate ganache and turkish delight with gold leaf, which were also lovely. But along with those came some strawberry ice cream coated in white chocolate, and they came in dry ice:


The best thing about the meal (other than the food of course) was the service. The staff were formal, and proper yet friendly, but not overly familiar. Your glass was always full but you never noticed when it was topped up. They had an expert for the wine, an expert for the bread (mine was a rosemary loaf – amazing!) and the Maître d’ would come and talk to us, but would also serve like the rest of the staff. It gave out a really good vibe. They also overheard that the occasion was for my birthday… No one had told them. Yet they gave me a coconut ice cream surprise with a candle in haha!


It was an absolutely stunning seven course meal, the best I’ve ever had and completely deserving of his three Michelin stars. Ramsay, despite what people say about him, is still my favourite. Next I’d like to take a trip to Bray to go and see some of Heston Blumenthal’s creations at the Fat Duck. I expect he’s the only one that can pip Ramsay’s to the top spot.

Scamming Supermarkets

There is nothing new about misleading supermarket offers, they have been reported on numerous occasions, not to mention most recently in the Guardian. Buy one get one free, or buy three for two, or bulk buy to save pounds. Most famously, our friends Tesco and Ocado, have been upping the price the week before an offer so that they can then legitimately say they’ve brought it down in price, when in fact it’s either normal or still overpriced. Which? research has already highlighted the problem for consumers:

“It’s unacceptable that shoppers are confused into thinking they’re getting a good deal”

Quite right. So. Have they learned any lessons? Many stores claim that the pricing were simply a mistake on their part. Is this true? I doubt it. Most of their labels are deliberately not cross compatible. E.g. one is units and one is kg so you can’t directly compare. That can’t be a mistake too, can it?

To prove they’ve made no effort to change, I have an example of my own. Recently I was in Asda, and I was on the hunt for some Kiwis. I found a pack of four, which is what I wanted, at the ‘bargain’ roll back price of £1.25. BUT. Right next to it. Literally right next to it, I find loose kiwis at 22p each. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that’s a saving of 37p. It might not sound like much, but it adds up.



But what does this mean for consumers? Well, primarily that their trust in the supermarkets is being undermined. Customers are not going to believe they’re being treated fairly, and if one supermarket decides that this isn’t good practice and doesn’t carry on, then they might well be the ones on top. If not just because no one can be bothered to do the maths just to work out if they’re being scammed or not. The other problem is of course the excess in packaging on their scam bulk buys, which annoys everyone and seems unnecessary. Others have outlined the better service and quality of food at other sources such as local grocers and farmers markets where you can get a cheaper (and much fairer deal), but not everyone has access to these – at least not on a regular basis. So when are supermarkets going to step up to the mark and stop scamming their own customers? It also begs the questions are these going to the infiltrate the online supermarkets? Maybe they already have.

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