Actions speak louder than Analytics

You may have seen me tweet this week about how unlikely it was for me to find inspiration for my blog at the supermarket.  I was wrong!

With two sick kids and a husband away for the weekend, I was looking for a smarter way to do my grocery shopping.  I decided to try out the new “Click & Collect” approach – that is to order my groceries online and pick them up in store the following day.  Everything was going according to plan – the website knew who I was, and knew from their loyalty program the items that I purchase regularly and suggested I include them in my basket.  It also made recommendations on products I might like based on items I had in my shopping basket.  Feeling like the supermarket chain knew me and my shopping needs, I happily paid for my groceries and went to collect them the following day.

The problem was, even with all that analytics and insight, they forgot to act.


When I arrived the following day to collect my groceries I was informed by a very embarrassed customer service representative that my order had slipped through the cracks and had not been processed.  Here I was, trying to plan my time effectively to minimize the exposure of sick kids to the general population, being told that my expectations had not been met and that I would have to wait while they proceeded to pack my trolley.

With the recent shift in power to the consumer, it is an absolute imperative that investment in technology doesn’t detract from doing what needs to be done – meeting customer expectations. In fact, offering any type of loyalty program where a customer agrees to the collection of personal information and shopping habits implies an unwritten contract that they will be better understood in future, and expect a higher level of service as a result.

For example, I know this particular supermarket chain tracks my historical spending.  I know they know I purchase the same brand of yoghurt every week from the same store.  I know they know I occasionally purchase it from other stores in the area.  And yet when I went to order online I was told none of the stores in my area stocked that product.  If I hadn’t given them permission to track my spending I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.  But I know they know.  So why is the product I buy every week not in stock when I need it?

Analytics can tell us what products our customers purchase regularly, where they purchase them, how they pay for them, and what purchases they are likely to buy in the future.

Actions ensure that we:

  1. Incorporate personal insight into every interaction with the customer so that whether they visit a store or contact the call center we are better at anticipating their needs.  This serves to improve the customer experience, reduce churn and increase customer spend.
  2. Plan our stock and inventory so that the products we know they need, and the products we think they will like, are available in the store we know they are most likely to visit.  Not only will this increase customer spend, but increase stock efficiencies and minimize operational costs.
  3. Market to them in a way that is personal and relevant so we aren’t wasting their time or our marketing budget.

If it wasn’t for analytics, the supermarket chain wouldn’t have increased my shopping basket by almost 20% with targeted recommendations.  But without action, I’m one yoghurt shy from checking out the competition.

When it comes to the consumer, actions speak louder than analytics.