Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Looking Through Your Customers' Eyes.


A local supermarket has a checkout aisle designated for customers who are using a basket rather than a trolley. It's a common feature designed to speed shoppers through rather than have them abandon their purchases when stuck behind a line of full trolleys in another aisle.

The problem is that its speedy processing of customers means that its queue is often the shortest in the store. Cue the tired, distracted shopper with a full trolley who quite naturally joins the shortest line, usually unnoticed by the harassed till operator until they've unloaded their trolley. Cue the frustration of shoppers with baskets whose exit is now delayed.

Why does this happen? It happens because the signage indicating the status of each aisle resides high above the shoppers' heads. It's visible from a distance but the designers, the user experience gurus and the store management (I've asked) have neglected to consider when their customers make their checkout choice.

Occasionally a shopper is exploiting the situation, but generally it's an honest mistake. They're looking at eye line to determine the most efficient way out of the store with their shopping. They're definitely not gazing upwards.

The managers have thanked me for my observation and said they'll retrain staff. In other words, they'll add further burdens on busy low-paid staff when the simple act of placing an eye-level sign at the checkout entrance would get their customers to self-regulate.

It's not enough to claim that you put yourself in your customers' shoes, you've got to put yourself behind their eyes as well.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Angus said...

I always exploit that situation.

2:27 AM, August 25, 2010  
Blogger john dodds said...

I'm shocked. I thought you had staff for those menial tasks.

3:32 AM, August 25, 2010  
Anonymous Brandwashed said...

If the sign said something exciting instead of the same old drawing of the trolley with the cross, I'd be more inclined to look.

9:41 PM, August 25, 2010  
Blogger john dodds said...

It's their responsibility to make you see, i.e. not require you to look where you weren't already going to look.

4:56 AM, August 26, 2010  

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