My newspaper today has three full pages of Aldi advertisements. The running motif is price and the word LIKE…. ‘If you LIKE low prices’, ‘If you LIKE’ saving over 40%’, and so on. The word is fashionable – it has taken on new importance because of social media – we are asked to LIKE our friends, LIKE other people’s Facebook posts, LIKE Instagram photos.
Perhaps this advertising campaign is in light of last week’s survey of 14,000 Which magazine subscribers, asking them which they rank as the best UK supermarket. The result might surprise you. Customer satisfaction levels were as follows:
- Waitrose 76% overall customer satisfaction
- Marks & Spencer 73%
- Aldi 71%
- Lidl 67%
- Morrisons 65%
- Sainsbury's 64%
- Tesco 61%
- Iceland 60%
- Asda 58%
Of course 14,000 Which subscribers do not resemble the UK shopper’s overall demographic in any sense. Yet austerity has taken its toll on the middle classes as elsewhere but Waitrose, generally acknowledged to be the most expensive of the supermarkets, is still LIKED by more people than Aldi (who came a creditable third in the survey). This suggests to me that the average Which shopper is more motivated by value than by price and that value is about much more than just the products. It is also about ambiance, décor, ease of access, car parking, friendliness of the staff, the checkout experience and so on. What is known as ‘the customer experience’.
Compare this with reports during the last few days that the owners of Stansted Airport have finally taken on board the fact that Stansted has a pretty poor reputation amongst travellers, some of it well deserved. For example, recent statistics show that passengers have a 10% chance of being delayed at Stansted, compared with only 4% at Heathrow. A large proportion of Stansted’s flights are inexpensive, but their canny passengers are also motivated by value, and getting off to the long-awaited holiday destination late is not popular.
So Stansted have internalised this problem and come up with a wonderful solution. It is searching for a new PR company to improve its image! Which is a bit like Aldi spending fortunes to improve customer satisfaction by telling its customers that it has low prices rather than the value proposition. Misses the point in my opinion – I don’t LIKE it.