Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not knowingly losing customers

Probably retail is the industry which has the highest frequency of repeat business and also the one of the highest level of interaction with consumers. In retail, supermarkets focus on two things, basket value and footfall. You improve which ever the variable and you'll improve top line. Product availability is a key for the success of any supermarket because of it's impact on basket size and customer satisfaction.

Since of late I've come to realize that a supermarket outlet that I frequently use to visit is increasingly running out some of the items that I would shop for on weekly/monthly basis. While these items might not the basic essentials they would fall in to the category of items you would look for in your weekly shopping trips.

Here's the consequence. After lack of various products for the past several months I have started to go for competition outlets which I have not done for a long long time. I would call myself a loyal customer of the previous chain. However loyalty is bound to have limits. Running out of products, let alone essentials occasionally is not an issue. But when you come across situations where product unavailability on regular basis you would look else where.

The other danger is that organizations even will not know the parting customers or the reasons for it. There we two others that I know personally who have moved to other chains from the same chain of supermarkets I am referring to. However they have made no attempt to even leave any kind of feedback. I generally do make it a point to provide feedback. Because I believe in brands that I shop with, be it food, clothes etc. But when you don't see much happening after serveal feedback sessions you give up.

Well my current supermarket has lost it's weekly big basket customer in me, but I will use the place for my top ups. With top ups at roughly 10% of the basket value it's quite obvious the wallet share loss. May be I'm the exception. I only know two other people who have abandon the chain under similar circumstances. Interestingly the initial switch happened not because the competition was significantly better(at least we were not prompted to think that way), but because of the bd 'experience'.

Best part is that no body in the organization knows that they've lost a customer!

Feel free to share your thoughts or feedback on this posting under the comments column

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