I’m not a particularly loyal supermarket shopper. Sometimes my choice of shop is driven by my location, so for instance if I’m going to collect one of my children from a music lesson and I’m driving past Sainsbury I’ll probably stop there to pick up whatever I need. Occasionally I’m influenced by the specific items I need if I know I can get them all at one store. And I’m also tempted by variety – sometimes it’s good to go somewhere different.
However, within my repertoire of supermarket shopping trips I regularly include two of the major UK chains, both of which have introduced an additional piece of paper to the till receipts telling me howthe price of my shop compared with their competitors.
One of them not only tells me the difference, but also offers me a voucher against a future shop if they were more expensive than the competition. All very transparent and reassuring I thought.
However, I have now had three consecutive shops (at the same store group) where I have been presented with a voucher because my shop was more expensive than their competitor. The difference wasn’t huge, no more than a pound each time, and it’s very nice to have the money back (although I have to do another shop to claim it), but I’m starting to wonder if I’m shopping in the wrong place – almost the opposite effect that I guess was intended.
It’s great that they are being open and honest with me; it’s good that they are monitoring their competitors; and I really do appreciate them giving me back my ‘overspend’. I just wonder if there is anyone in that huge organisation that has noticed that the same customer has been told three times in a row that he would have been better off shopping somewhere else?
Great data and sophisticated systems can be very useful in our marketing, but let’s never forget our customers are complicated human beings who like to be valued and treated as individuals.