30 June 2021

Customer centricity - as change accelerates, it is the one constant

It is no understatement to say that Australians have fundamentally changed their shopping behaviour over the past twelve months. Woolworths Group’s media business, Cartology partnered with FMCG research consultancy Advantage Group to survey 40 of Australia’s FMCG leaders on their view of the evolving landscape of customer needs and engagement. Their resounding response was that digital is the new front door of retail business, and the new world is a customer led one. 

In a 3-part series Woolworths, Cartology and brands will discuss how the industry is responding to a year of customer transformation. View the second video in the series featuring Woolworths CMO Andrew Hicks and Cartology’s Mike Tyquin below.

Woolworths has seen the COVID pandemic accelerate and concentrate a number of trends in shopper behaviour. Retail is in the midst of a customer revolution and to grow any brand, everything must be anchored in a customer first mindset. It is Woolworths’ deep understanding of its customers that allows it to respond with initiatives that truly resonate.

As outlined by Andrew, customer behaviour has highlighted distinct consumer trends: sustainability, value, health and what is a perennial priority – convenience. What differentiates these trends today from previous iterations is that consumer expectations have increased, particularly through the pandemic. It’s a universal truth that what was considered convenient yesterday, has been surpassed today. 

Over the past 18 months Woolworths has adopted numerous initiatives to deliver on customer expectations around convenience, accelerated by Covid. Woolworths has introduced additional convenient offers such as Direct to Boot and increased delivery and pick up windows to dramatically boost capacity as demand soared.

Andrew identified healthier eating as an increasing priority for more Australians. Health can mean a range of things to many different customers and Woolworths hopes to offer the right solution and right information for each customer's approach. For some, inspiration can be the biggest barrier.  Woolworths is helping customers take the leap from ambition to action with recipe ideas via its Fresh Ideas Magazine, content hubs and now more than 6,000 recipes online. 

There are three key considerations that drive Woolworths’ response to  these accelerating trends. The retailer’s focus will always remain on customer experience oriented around relevance, consistency and memorability. Most importantly, Andrew asks, “On any experience, what problem is this going to help the customer solve?” 

Once the question of relevance is answered it is all about consistency. Customers may shop at multiple stores or different times of day and the ability to execute a consistent experience for customers builds trust, and ultimately advocacy. 

The third component is memorability – an experience and feeling that Andrew says extends beyond fulfilling a functional need and creates great experiences.

Closely attunning its offering to evolving customer behaviour allows Woolworths to continue delivering for customers on what it believes is most important: good food, good prices and good acts. 

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