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Woolworths innovates to improve its customer experience, driving gains in a key product category

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An Australian supermarket searched for a competitive advantage in a hyper-competitive market. What they found drove sales through employee engagement and customer experience.

Australian Woolworths Supermarkets, or “Woolies,” was founded in 1924. With 995 store locations, the company is popular throughout the country serving 14 million customers every week. The grocery store specializes in selling fruits, vegetables, meats and packaged goods among other items. As their slogan suggests, the company is known for its “fresh food people.”

The Challenge

In what is considered a fercely competitive market, Woolies is constantly innovating and making efforts to improve its customer experience.

When Woolworths leaders identifed an opportunity in their produce department that could result in a competitive advantage if addressed effectively, they acted. With many local competitors relying on deep pricing discounts to win customers, Woolworths took a broader view and decided to test several factors, including discounted pricing, to determine what was most valuable to their customers.

Woolworths quickly realized that creating, managing and executing these tests would be difcult and time-consuming. Without a testing solution to ensure consistency in the test design and analysis, there was a risk that results would not be accurate or reliable. Enter MarketDial.

The Solution

Several initiatives ranging from discounted pricing to improved customer experience would be tested using the MarketDial platform. Several tests were executed in parallel and evaluated over a 16-week period. The testing was designed to provide a side by side evaluation of what customers truly found valuable.

The MarketDial platform allowed users to quickly design several complex tests in minutes. The ability to quickly transition from business hypothesis to action gave Woolies the ability to be more agile and go to market sooner. In what is typically a time consuming and cumbersome activity, the software signifcantly improved Woolies’ ability to increase the number and frequency of test initiatives.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest beneft of MarketDial is the time saved for our team members. Previously, running trials was a cumbersome process and heavily spreadsheet based.”

– Mike Smith, Head of Finance for Format Development at Woolworths

“The beneft we’ve had from using MarketDial is the fact that it’s such a user-friendly application for any member of a team to jump straight into and be able to learn with a very short training window and pick up the usability almost instantly.”

– Ben Rowles, Head of Macro-space for Supermarkets at Woolworths

MarketDial’s software was used to select optimized test and control stores, which improved test accuracy and ensured test results would remain consistent when changes were implemented in the remainder of Woolworths’ stores. The software allowed for Woolworths to improve the customer experience while maintaining appropriate levels of proftability.

Testing confrmed that key experience factors such as increased employee training, improved product presentation and improved store experience were crucial to increasing customer satisfaction and ultimately resulted in improved business performance. In addition, testing on a limited basis ensured that Woolworths was not investing in initiatives that did not improve the consumer experience or improve business performance.

“Ultimately that’s what we want, fast decisions being made by key decision makers in the organizations, which ensure we enhance the capital that we spend.”

– Doug Frank, Head of Space and Insights/General Manager for Data and Analytics at Woolworths

The Results

With conclusive results that improvements in customer experience directly resulted in improved business performance, Woolies’ core belief that “putting the customer frst” is ultimately what’s most important when attempting to improve business performance was confrmed.

Woolworths continues to utilize the MarketDial platform to evaluate any signifcant new business initiatives and has come to rely on MarketDial as experts in the A/B testing space. Its easy-to-use and comprehensive testing platform allowed Woolies to test initiatives across the organization and be confdent that the results are accurate and consistent, fundamentally changing the culture at Woolies.

A/B testing lead Woolworths to a more proftable future and helped them retain customers that may have been lost.

“Ensuring that MarketDial is embedded into our process and disciplines is by far the most important thing we’re doing right now.”

– Doug Frank, Head of Space and Insights/General Manager for Data and Analytics at Woolworths

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