The Great Supermarket Revival – Put Mickey Mouse at the Helm

Back to blogs

The Great Supermarket Revival – Put Mickey Mouse at the Helm

Stop the phony price war and start making the stores more welcoming to customers.

The major supermarkets in the UK put constant focus on price to their shoppers. But in North America, General Motors has realised that in actual fact, it’s not just about cheap prices, but instead, customers want welcoming and enjoyable shopping environments… They want to be treated like royalty.

Just about every supermarket ad on TV, billboards and in the press tells us as consumers that some item or other is cheaper. But the reality is that supermarket pricing is random to say the least. For example, Shredded Wheat are at least 81p cheaper in Waitrose than anywhere else, but Cheerios are almost twice as expensive in Waitrose than in Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s.

The reasons for this current mayhem are complex, but the simple fact is that for years supermarkets have shouted that they offer great prices: ‘Every little helps’, ‘Live well for less’ and ‘Saving you money every day’. But then came the discounters, Aldi and Lidl. Suddenly the supermarket promises were exposed as being ‘hollow’ and consumers started to doubt and even disbelieve. The situation today is that shoppers now perceive the discounters as being cheaper than the mainstream grocery chains.

How have the mainstream supermarkets responded to this dramatic change in the market and more importantly in the minds of shoppers? By doing exactly what they’ve always done – Shout about cheap prices! As Albert Einstein famously said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

If the General Motors turnaround in the USA is anything to go by, supermarkets should be looking to Walt Disney for the answers to their woes. Alan Batey, who took over as President of GM last year, recognised that they needed to make showrooms more attractive and welcoming to customers if they were to turn the failing car giant around. Part of his solution was to have the Walt Disney Institute train 20,000 GM staff on how to treat their customers like royalty. Batey said: “They taught us that success is not one thing. It’s doing a thousand things 1% better”.

The results have been so encouraging that GM has become the Disney Institute’s biggest client. Also, the Buick, Chevrolet and GMC brands are ranked in the top five American car makers for customer satisfaction.

The message to Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons is this: Although price is a consideration, it isn’t the only consideration. Meet shoppers’ deep rooted emotional needs in your stores and they will shop in them. Stop discounting so much and start investing in understanding more emotional shopper needs.