Earlier this week the Labour Party attacked the Waitrose Free Coffee offer andaccused the high-end supermarket of “destroying the UK High Street” – is it Waitrose Free Coffee doing this or is it a change in the way we use the High Street?
One presumes that the ‘High Street’ is being highlighted, as most ‘High Streets’ in the UK are overrun with ‘coffee shops’. Depending on your point of view the ‘coffee shop’ either killed or saved the ‘High Street’. We investigate the changing trend in customer behaviour – and how your business needs to change to accommodate it.
Waitrose Free Coffee – Getting Into Hot Water With Customers
Everyone loves something for free – don’t they? Surely Waitrose giving customer a free tea or coffee, and a newspaper, can only be a good thing? No.
In 2013, ‘The Independent’ wrote an article on on how “Waitrose faces middle class revolt over free coffee”. One Customer was quoted as saying “Bit disconcerting seeing people carrying cups of hot coffee around Waitrose whilst they text and push trolleys with their bellies.”
Another Customer commented on Facebook “Please stop the free coffee at Barry Waitrose, it is putting me off shopping in the store people are coming with two cards two free coffee no shopping, with their Tesco bags”
There are two important lessons here that every business should note.
Firstly – know your target market and how to keep them happy. A quick view of Waitrose Facebook Page shows that most comments regarding the Waitrose Free Coffee are positive and in favour of the scheme. It would appear that Waitrose customers do like the free beverages.
As a business owner – do you know who your target market are? Or do you know who your typical customer is – the two may not be the same.
When we provide SEO Consultancy Services to businesses we review the target market and the market being achieved – rarely do they match.
Secondly – Waitrose customers are commenting on social media about the offer and the company itself. With over 186,000 followers, 17,000 visitors a day and “3,000 talking about this” on the fan page – Social Media is a huge vehicle for Waitrose to communicate with its customers.
Most impressive of all, is that every comment on the Waitrose Facebook page made towards the company or products is answered by a company representative almost immediately.
Again as a business owner – do you fully utilise the power of ‘Social Media’ to promote your business brand, services or products? Do you have the capability to communicate almost immediately with your customers? This is a standard part of our service offered by our Social Media Consultants as part of our SEO Consultancy Service.
Waitrose Free Coffee – Is It “Killing The High Street”
We do not want to enter the political debate, but are Labour right to accuse Waitrose of ‘killing the UK High Street’?
Your local ‘High Street’ has been under attack for over 40 years, long before Waitrose gave away a few beverages.
All through the last century and up until the 1970’s the shops of the ‘High Street’ were where families did their shopping on a daily basis. Slowly, these shops turned into the ‘High Street Supermarket’.
Through the 1980’s more families owned one and then 2 cars. At the same time more woman went to work. It was not practical to shop on a daily basis and shopping for a week at a time, at a large store became the norm.
Supermarkets needed larger premises – customers were happy to travel, and the “out of town” superstores were created. Social changes and shopping trends hit the ‘High Street’ retailer.
In the last decade, social trends have adapted further as more and more people buy goods online and get them delivered to the front door. This has created two changes that ironically are intwined with this Waitrose story. Firstly, possibly as it is one of the few things you cannot order online and get delivered, – coffee shops started to fill the high streets empty shops. Secondly, supermarkets are having to adapt to how they service their customers to take advantage of ‘online shopping’.
Ordering your shopping online, and have the supermarket deliver it to your door, has seen a humongous rise in usage. Tesco have gone a step further for those who do not have time to either visit the store or wait in the house for a delivery – ‘click and collect’. Order your shopping online and drive to a little hut in the car park and have someone put the shopping in your car for you.
As a business owner have you adapted your business to accommodate the way people like to buy products and services? Have you created an e-commerce website, an ‘Amazon store’ or the ability to have a ‘reserve and collect’ system? Is your website ‘mobile optimised’? If not contact us TODAY!
Mobile marketing is an emerging powerhouse and you will see the increase in profits very quickly. Business owners report up to a 50% increase in response when they introduce a mobile version of their website.
Smartphones have changed the way consumers shop. Smartphones are critical shopping tools with 95% having researched a product or service on their device. Smartphone research influences buyer decisions and purchases.
Implication: Having a mobile optimised wrbsite is critical if you wish to engage consumers. Especially customers local to your business.
Opportunity: A mobile website is not a browsing tool for ‘interesting information’. Mobile web sites are visited when the person has a specific need or requirement and want to find the solution from a local source. 95% of people have searched for local information. Your mobile website should make it easy for customers to contact you as 61% of local searches result in a phone call to your business and 59% will visit you.
We know that consumers look for local info on their phones all the time.
Waitrose Free Coffee – How To Get One
If you are a loyalty card holder for Waitrose you can simply show them the card, without making a purchase, to claim your free hot drink.
As a business owner – what can you provide free of charge to gain more custom? We find that ‘video marketing’ can be a great way to give away free advice that builds your brand and gets you more custom.
SEO Training - it is not a 'black art' or a science. It is as simple as giving search engines, such as Google, the information they require to ensure their user has a great experience.
Our training teaches you how to structure your websites to comply with Google so they are found on relevant searches. It is a popularity contest, not a beauty contest.
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