WersDa Blog

Providing our mobile expertise to supermarkets

How Consistency Breeds Happiness

Brett Lons

We all like comfort and everyone likes to be treated special.  People like nice things and a little luxury in their lives.  We like easy and we move away from uncomfortable or distasteful situations.  We are elated by unexpected gifts and we feel contented when someone shows they care.  Everyone wants to have things just a little better, everyone likes to have fun, and no one likes things to be broken or ugly.  We like smiles, we like clever, we like to be liked, we like feeling well, and we like seeing others feel well.  In short, we all like to be happy.

OK, we all agree happy is good. We also know that happy customers spend more money, tell their friends about us, and keep coming back.  

This article deals with the transitions through and connection of the user experience across your media channels. The importance of a consistent impression and experience to these customer experiences cannot be overstated. We will point out, and offer suggestions that will help put your customers in that “I like it here” happy kind of mood.  Imagine if going to the grocery store actually made people feel better about themselves.  Wow, there’s a concept!

Most grocery stores offer a website, weekly mailers, TV commercials, in-store merchandising and a mobile website, or app.   Like a nice outfit, these parts and pieces must match. They must go together, compliment each other, and they should play well off one another. We’ve all caught ourselves admiring a smartly dressed person.  We admire and are attracted to the “package”, we take a second look, and beyond that a serious relationship may be sparked.  That’s what your multi-channel marketing effect should aim for.  Whatever marketing channel each customer engages with whether, print ad, website, TV commercial, sales flyer, or mobile device, all of these must be matched and complimentary to one another. Just as in the analogy of a nice outfit of clothes the idea is to make consumers take a second look, and to bring them to the brick and mortar store where ultimately they contribute to your profit margin.

Television commercials and sales flyers will appeal more to older shoppers that may not have the inclination to use a phone to shop.  BUT, that flyer and TV commercial are a perfect opportunity to present options of shopping online, or using a smartphone, to help everyone while in the store.  Do you have free wifi throughout your entire store?  That’s a very good first step in making your  customers realize their life is easier shopping with you. Tying various marketing channels together smoothly with your brick and mortar stores, and providing easy access to each, give customers that “mmm I like it here” feeling will bring them back for more.

Even if you are aware of the importance of consistency, and the necessity of your different channels playing off of one another well, your customers are likely saying you haven’t got it right yet.  Chances are your your web, mobile, physical, print and social presences look and feel disjointed and clunky.  

For example, a list icon might look like:

this on your website ,   this on your mobile site,  and this on your app  .  

Consider these questions about how effectively you manage consistency across your marketing channels:

  • Are your TV Commercials catchy or are they the same ads you’ve been running for a year or more? Do those ads even mention your website, or your mobile app? Is your website up to date and bug free?  Does it contain your weekly sales flyer? Is your smartphone app a good representative of your company?  How well is it rated, and would you be happy with that rating if if were the only marketing channel you have?  Because for many, many consumers it IS the only marketing channel you have.

    • Chances are many of your most profit generating consumers are generation x’ers and the millenium crowd is hot on their heels.  Baby boomers still shop with you, but they are usually empty nesters, many in retirement, and most spending less than other segments of your clientele.  Further, while the majority of boomers are tech savvy, they don’t depend on the internet, social media and mobile apps to research and facilitate what they do in your stores.  You can confirm this yourself with your POS data.

  • How do your customers access each of your digital channels? Is it the same for each, or do they require a mix of emails, passwords, and social media sign ons, or rewards cards numbers?

    • The best solution you can offer is to use an inviting ( see our blog post on “onboarding” and the doorway analogy ) and easy to use entrance or access points to all of these channels.  Ideally access to one of these entrances to your world will encourage the use of the other channels in your marketing efforts.

    • For example, if your customer is the web browsing type, be sure your weekly sales flyer is available online Just As It Appears In Print!  Encourage customers to download and use the smartphone app during their visit to your website.  Offer special incentives, or rewards for using your mobile app.  You Do have a mobile app right? Fuse what they do online to your mobile app so they can take it with them.  Furthermore use the app they take with them to engage in activities inside the brick and mortar store.  

  • Do features of your website, such as digital coupons, weekly specials, and seasonal promotions interact with a user’s grocery list on their mobile devices? The most impressive and interest generating campaigns will always include at a minimum the following features.

    • Users create a shopping list on the website.  Items can be added to the list from a favorites list, or added by clicking the item on your web based weekly sales flyer.  This list should be editable and organized by the customers choice of ways, including alphabetic, grouped by store department, by recipe, by importance to them, or by price.

    • Furthermore, lists should appear on the users’ phone in the same formats available on the website. Items should be able to be scanned in from items in their pantry. At the minimum list should be able to be shared, split up, and sent via email or text to “shopping partners” and should be available in a mapped optimum footpath through any/all of your store layouts. An even more sophisticated system will have lists that can be assigned to shopping partners and automatically show up on that users phone when they open your app.

Consumers indicate that wasting time searching is one of their greatest dislikes about grocery shopping.  Give them a map that guides them to every item on their list,.. in order; and suggest digital coupons and alternative purchase options, as they shop their list.

To make your marketing and public facing “e” efforts effective, you are going to need cooperation and commitment from your marketing, third party developers, and your in-house IT staff.  The main reason for channel disjunction is that departments are too siloed and don't have enough interaction. Generally it is up to the product managers to guide designers about what icons go in the app and on the website. But, it is usually up to the advertisers what goes out to your shoppers via print and the merchandisers decide what goes on in the store. To get this right, marketing needs to be more integrated with every department. Adding more rules generally doesn’t guarantee results as rules that are a hassle or not well understood tend to go unenforced. If you want teams to work together, ask them how they think a good way to do it might be. Create the understanding that they all have the same end users, the company’s shoppers.  Creating, or enhancing a customer centric attitude throughout your organization it the best way to create the consistency throughout your marketing and customer service business channels.  Foster an environment based on consistency and ease of use, make sure everyone understands the importance of shopper perceptions, and keep up with technology and social trends.  Tying all these touch points of your business together, will guarantee better customer loyalty, larger baskets, and higher profits.