With Price Hikes, Raise the Customer Experience

With soaring prices the norm, we can still provide a great customer experience even if we’re reaching deeper into customer pockets.

I am a big fan of going to the grocery store. To me, it’s a playground of limitless creative options — a place where each and every well-lit aisle is chock full of ingredients from all over the world that are waiting to be included in my next foodie “masterpiece” (it’s also a source of amusement when the produce aisle has a “thunderstorm” to announce the next misting). 

Having the aisles memorized, I go down the ones I need to browse, briefly looking at new products, but oftentimes reaching for the tried and true. And when it’s time to check out, and the cashier asks me if I have found everything I need, I make the same cheeky joke every time, “More than I was supposed to come in here for.”

To me, the grocery shopping experience is everything I expect it to be, and it’s because their customer experience teams have it down to a science from the moment you walk into the store, to the moment you’re savoring a meal with their goods.

Related Article: The Most Important Components of the Customer Experience

Loyalty Questioned By Surprise Customer Experience

I have been loyal to the couple of grocery stores that I’ve come to rely on across the country as they are consistent in layout, product offerings, the quality of my purchases… and pricing. Aside from any sales tax a state imposes, most grocery chains remain consistent on the retail price of the same item you purchase almost anywhere, checking one more box on what you come to expect as a customer.

Yes, pricing is also part of the customer experience.

About a week ago, I went back to the store to get my semi-weekly groceries and decided to “quickly” browse the wine aisle (a guilty pleasure) while mentally telling myself (for the umpteenth time) I don’t need any more wine.

I stopped at one of my favorite all-time brands and stared at the price tag. Cue record scratch here. It was 78% higher than anywhere else I’ve purchased it, and it was on sale at that price.

I whipped out my phone and did a quick search. This grocery chain was the only one to mark it up that much. I looked down at my cart in slight shock, reviewing the same brands I’ve always purchased. Have I been mindlessly spending more on items than I should at this chain?

I went back through a few aisles to check their prices again — 60% to 72% higher. When did this happen? I shook my head and slowly went to the checkout line feeling tricked, vowing to only go to my other go-to store in the future as I was no longer loyal to this brand. Watching the total cost of my purchases increase at a fast clip, I took pause to reflect on how price now plays a significant role in brand loyalty and customer experience.

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