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Sainsbury’s: designing service around shoppers’ needs

Sainsbury’s high street stores are seeing a decline in footfall as online ordering grows

Sainsbury’s high street stores are seeing a decline in footfall as online ordering grows

Sainsbury’s aims to deliver the experience that its customers want, whether that’s in-store, online or through a combination of the two.

Its stated strategy is to know its customers better than anyone else, to offer them the services and products that they want, and to be there for customers wherever and whenever they choose to buy. To these ends, the supermarket is using tech to improve customer service.

Last February, it bought the Nectar loyalty card scheme, saying in its latest full-year results that this would help it develop its understanding of customers. By understanding where and how shoppers want to buy, the retailer aims to respond with the most relevant services. Its Smart Shop ‘scan as you shop’ technology was introduced in response to the insight that customers value saving time and having more control over how much they spend. It has responded to customer behaviour by expanding same-day and one-hour delivery and collection of online grocery orders.

“A strategy of being there for our customers whenever and wherever they choose to shop with us allows us to be flexible in adapting to these changing customer needs,” said the supermarket in full-year results to March 10, 2018. “We have accelerated the rate of change and innovation across the group and we are focused on satisfying more customer missions.”

Sainsbury’s sees shoppers making more general merchandise and clothing purchases online, using a wide range of delivery and pick-up from the store options. It says stores, especially those on the high street, are seeing footfall and sales decline as online ordering grows.

Sainsbury’s is also updating its stores through what it says is its biggest retail change programme ever. “We propose,” it said in full-year results, “to simplify our structures and our operations and invest in technology and to improve customer service.”

“In the future,” it added, “retailers will need to offer a consistent and seamless experience to consumers and be able to rapidly fulfil their orders in a location and at a time that is most convenient to them.”

Sainsbury’s stands out in IRUKTop500 research for the quality of its customer service and for its returns promise. It enables shoppers to get in touch via seven channels, from Facebook and Twitter, to BSL Live Sign Video for sign language users.

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