Waitrose is investing in a multi million pound programme to offer its customers an enhanced customer experience. The changes will include the introduction of a concierge-style welcome desk in its shops offering a range of personalised services.
Waitrose’s successful growth in ecommerce is one of the key reasons for the new concierge-style service as the new welcome desk will also provide an interface for waitrose.com customers.
As customers choose to shop using different channels, the role of the physical supermarket has changed. Increasingly Waitrose branches are becoming hubs for ordering and collection, in addition to the everyday customer service needs of supermarket shoppers.
The move comes as Waitrose continues to expand its own Click and Collect service allowing customers to pick up their online grocery shop in store. In March the retailer launched a drive-through collection point in five branches and will trial temperature controlled self service lockers for online shoppers at the end of the year. The supermarket already offers a very successful service allowing customers to pick up online orders made through John Lewis.
The new welcome desk, which will initially be installed in 100 branches this year before rolling out to all shops in 2014, will be the hub of each supermarket providing the new services such as flower and gift wrapping, and an area for ordering via in-store tablets. A dry cleaning service will also be trialed in several stores this year ahead of roll-out.
Mark Price, Managing Director, Waitrose, said: “Waitrose has a long established reputation for offering outstanding service and we know it’s one of the reasons our customers love shopping with us.
“The new welcome desks will allow us to respond to changing shopping habits as our supermarkets are increasingly used as a destination to collect online orders.
“By offering these new branch hubs, we will enhance the customer experience even further by providing greater convenience and even more personalised services.”
New services will include:
Tablets will be positioned on the new Welcome Desk providing customers access to Waitrose and John Lewis websites. Customers will be able to complete online transactions with or without Partner assistance at the Welcome Desk.
Flower Wrapping and Gift Bagging
A simple flower wrapping and gift bagging service will be offered to allow customers to personalise their purchase:
Flower Wrapping: This will be a simple free service, offered at the Welcome Desk
Gift Bagging: Customers will be able to purchase items in the store that can be gift wrapped. This service will be chargeable.
Dry Cleaning Trial in Several Stores
A trial of dry cleaning services will take place in several branches this year which will also become part of the new welcome desk offer if popular and successful with customers.
Waitrose shops have already undergone additional design changes, including an extensive horticulture display which makes more impact at the customer entrance, and the showcasing of changing new and in-season products at the front of every store.
Waitrose was named the winner in the food and grocery industry for customer satisfaction in a recent Verdict poll*
*Verdict Research April 2013.