Are Retailers Making It All About Their Customers?
Loyalty is one of those words that is tossed about in retail. It is also a rare achievement in the business, so when it appears as though a merchant has figured it out, people tend to take notice.
Marc Giroux, chief marketing & communications officer at Metro, and Marc Fischli, COO international markets at dunnhumby, presented at a breakout session at the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show last week to describe how Canada’s third largest grocery store operator was able to reshape its business to achieve customer satisfaction levels of 94 percent for its loyalty program, well above the industry average.
"The Canadian shopper now has an average of 14 loyalty cards in their wallet. So how do you drive customers to fully engage with your own loyalty program so that you can build an ongoing conversation that provides opportunities to collect insights that will allow you to transform your business?" said Mr. Giroux.
"Customer centricity is becoming absolutely critical," he added. "Focusing on the customer that you already have is key. Loyalty is not a one-sided proposition. It’s just as important that we demonstrate loyalty toward our existing customers … that we retain our most loyal. Growing their share of wallet and monthly grocery spend is a key strategy."
Mr. Giroux said his company’s success was due to "increased employee engagement," which included the development of its "five customer promises" program, training thousands of store employees and giving them benchmarks and tools to measure the customer experience in stores on a monthly basis.
Metro’s five customer promises include:
1. Great quality fresh products;
2. People that are great;
3. Stores that are easy to shop;
4. Customers get what they want;
5. Stores are in stock and prices are good.
While admittedly early in the process, Metro is looking to develop an omni-channel strategy using loyalty data, its partnership with dunnhumby and a "fully integrated media platform" that allows the company to communicate with a single voice across all platforms.
"Our primary objective is really to put the customer at the center of one experience. In the past, Metro communicated with customers in the store, through our flyer and website, and through targeted direct mail," said Mr. Giroux. "When we started looking at the efficiency of all those individual channels, we realized that we didn’t have a single, unified view of the customer."
According to Mr. Giroux, 99 percent of all communications that go out to Metro customers today are completely personalized. He mentioned a direct mail piece that goes out every three months. "Our customers receive eight to 12 coupons for product that they love and that they buy. And that coupon helps stretch their purchase on a potentially incremental visit, which is our way of saying thank you: ‘Thank you for choosing Metro, we are your grocer, we understand your needs and we care.’"
How close are retailers to developing truly personal relationships with customers today? Where do you see the balance between technological and human resources in achieving the types of customer experiences that create loyalty on the part of shoppers?