I can’t guarantee it, but I think I may have just witnessed it! My local Countdown supermarket was recently demolished and a brand spanking new Countdown superstore has now replaced it.
The old store was exactly that…very old. It was dark and dingy, poorly lit, narrow aisles and staffed with less than motivated checkout operators. The new store couldn’t be more different. It reflects the latest thinking in retail service design and it feels absolutely fabulous to shop there.
On the average Saturday morning the old store would have around 15 cars parked outside it. This morning on my way to the gym I counted around 150 cars! On my way back I did a quick recount and it was similar. A rough extrapolation suggests a ten-fold increase.
In today’s world of consumer brand marketing, connecting with your customers at an emotional level is what is required for success. The days of simply being bigger, better, faster no longer cut it. Even valuable functional benefits such as more checkouts that speed up your payment time are important, but not enough to cut the mustard.
The entire brand experience that engulfs the customer is what builds perceived value and ensures loyalty and custom. Service design and brand experience transcend simple functional benefits, although functional benefits are an important contributor to the overall positive experience.
Brands that manage to connect emotionally like Apple, Nespresso and Starbucks are building emotional positions that over time become more difficult, and potentially impossible to unseat.