Tuesday, 10 November 2009

When The Customer Isn’t Right…

Supermarkets should put doors on all freezer units to cut down on energy waste, the Government's customer body has said.
Yes, it’s Customer Focus yet again, with some more ‘advice’ to add to their last onslaught.

This time it’s that customers who want to ‘shop green’ are put off by all those open freezers wasting energy:
Consumer Focus said: 'The discounters Aldi and Lidl were the only two supermarkets to have closed doors on all freezers, thereby helping to conserve energy.'

Its spokesman, Lucy Yates, said: 'We challenge all supermarkets to follow in the footsteps of their better rivals and help their customers - whatever their budget --to shop green.'
So, is this something customers are demanding?

Not exactly:
Asda has delayed the roll-out of doors on both freezer - and chiller cabinets - after coming up against customer resistance at a new eco-store in Bootle, on Merseyside.
So, there you go, ‘Customer’ Focus. The customers emphatically don’t want it. So, what are you planning to do about that, then?

Oh. Of course.

You plan to carry on regardless, because the customers don’t know what’s good for them, do they?
Miss Yates said: 'This means, helping consumers, for example, spot and buy UK seasonal produce such as spinach and courgettes through money off promotions or recipe ideas.

'Shopping green should not be hard. Our survey shows that when a grocer has the will to respond to consumer pressure on green issues, this works through to the shop floor.

Saying you have a sustainable fish sourcing policy is not enough – consumers must be able to find sustainable fish on the shelves.'
Actually, customers must want to buy sustainable fish in the first place, in sufficient numbers to make it viable to stock them.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Consumer Focus should go and learn some physics. Cold air is denser than warm air. So the cold air tends to stand still inside the open freezers. For a horizontal freezer, the environmental benefit of doors is therefore low. But I'm sure the supermarkets know exactly whether it's worth it, since they pay the electricity bills.
With the vertical ones with doors on, on the other hand, when the door is opened the cold air inside rushes out and gets dumped towards the floor. Which is why you feel a blast of cold air when you open the door.
By the way, Consumer Focus cost us £42 million in 2008/9 and the Chief Executive earns more than £100k.

captainff said...

I was going to mention the properties of freezers but I've been beaten to it!


It would make more sense for Consumer Focus to be moaning about vertical freezers rather than lidless horizontal cabinets. If Consumer Focus made any sense at all that is .. .. ..

Anonymous said...

//The discounters Aldi and Lidl were the only two supermarkets to have closed doors on all freezers, thereby helping to conserve energy.//

Yet, curiously, these two stores received a "D" rating in the previous report. Evidently having doors on freezers is insufficient to get a high rating.

Anonymous said...

Must admit, I like doors on freezers. Makes me feel more confident about the integrity of the contents.

I picked up a bag of frozen green beans in a supermarket, and I noticed that it was just one frozen block. Other bags in the same freezer were more bean-bag like. Their contents were rattling around inside the bag. I think the first bag I picked had defrosted, and re-frozen, probably by being left on the top of an open freezer with too much stuff piled up in it.

Monty

JuliaM said...

"Maybe Consumer Focus should go and learn some physics."

That'd be too much like hard work.

"Yet, curiously, these two stores received a "D" rating in the previous report. Evidently having doors on freezers is insufficient to get a high rating."

I think it was the overall 'unsustainability' that did for them, i.e. their foolish insistence on stocking goods that customers wanted to buy...

"Makes me feel more confident about the integrity of the contents. "

And helps to spot when someone's doing something they shouldn't with the contents... ;)

Mallen Baker said...

The methodology of this report is poor all round. The indicators they use are tokenistic, the sample they used was tiny. And although the report was supposed to be about how supermarkets communicate with their customers, the press release Consumer Focus issued was far broader - so unsurprisingly so was the press coverage.

I've put more detail onto the methodological defects at the blog post here.