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CASE STUDY: Waitrose gets personal for success

By Retail Technology | Tuesday December 19 2017

In 2015, Waitrose turned to new software to improve the way it engaged with in-store customers – a move which ultimately opened up a powerful marketing channel

A Fresh Approach to In-Store Customer Engagement

As one of the UK’s leading grocery retailers, Waitrose is recognised for their commitment to championing high-quality British produce. Part of the John Lewis Partnership, the retailer operates more than 350 stores across the UK. 

Waitrose recognised that there was a significant opportunity to communicate with loyal customers shopping in their stores. Their goal was to find a more personalised approach to in-store communications that would set them apart from their competitors, but that would also fit with the Waitrose ethos. Ecrebo’s POS-based marketing platform proved to be the solution that Waitrose was looking for. 

Targeted customer engagement
Waitrose worked with the team at Ecrebo to deliver a solution that would enable their Partners to hand a printed coupon to customers in-store, which included real-time offers and personalised promotions and messages that were relevant to them.

Known as ‘Message at Till’, the offers contain simple messages, printed at the till using their existing receipt printer, directly after the customer’s receipt. Through this partnership, Waitrose would now be able to give their customers more of what they loved in a more direct and personal way.

The initial trial to evaluate Ecrebo’s technology launched in 2015 across ten stores over a two-month period. Waitrose was confident the trial would work from a functional perspective, however, the real test would be in measuring customer engagement, response rates and return on investment to help create a solid business case. In a matter of weeks, the ‘Message at Till’ solution delivered compelling results. As a result of the success of the initial trial, the Ecrebo solution was rolled out across the full Waitrose store estate in a matter of months. 

“From an IT perspective, deployment of the solution was just as seamless as Ecrebo said it would be,” said Sam Winterson, manager, customer loyalty, Waitrose. “Anything that impacts a retailer’s tills can often be seen as a barrier because they’re so important to sales, but Ecrebo carried out a comprehensive testing process prior to fully deploying, which gave us faith in the new system. Rolling out Ecrebo’s technology is now on record as one of the smoothest IT implementations we have executed to date.”

A winning combination

Ecrebo’s technology enables Waitrose to communicate with its in-store customers at the point of sale and in real-time through highly-targeted coupons and messages. Personalised promotions, offers and messages are printed alongside paper receipts and handed directly to customers by Waitrose Partners. 

The Ecrebo POS marketing platform is now fully integrated with the myWaitrose loyalty scheme, which has over six million members and years’ worth of data, enabling Waitrose to better understand their customers. 

Using this insight, Waitrose can set up basket triggers and targeted loyalty offers to reward myWaitrose customers with relevant offers and messages based on previous purchases or items in their shopping basket. 

This allows Waitrose to provide customers with money-off rewards, recipe suggestions, free products and offers introducing them to new and relevant product areas - all with the right message at the right time. 

‘Message at Till’ has given Waitrose a dynamic marketing channel that can be switched on and off at the touch of a button, giving them a quick and easy way to set up and launch in-store campaigns. 

Due to the nature of Ecrebo’s SaaS software, the Waitrose team can now manage campaigns anywhere, anytime. It is a marketing channel that is always on. 

What’s more, it is a marketing channel that delivers a higher ROI for Waitrose than direct mail or email because of its ability to target customers efficiently and in real-time.
From the outset, Waitrose was clear that offers should always have a high perceived value and add value to their customers’ shopping experience. 

When setting up campaigns, the Waitrose team take their customers’ shopping habits, spend levels and shopping frequency into account, to ensure they are rewarded accordingly. 
Complementing other marketing activity 

Waitrose view ‘Message at Till’ as a marketing channel that complements both online and offline channels, and is fully integrated with their other marketing campaigns. 

“With ‘Message at Till’, it is all about speed. We have been able to implement campaigns within minutes, check that they are running, and see how many coupons have been issued in real-time. It’s also possible to control the location and timing of offers. No other CRM activity can do that,” said Carl Kirby, CRM marketing manager, Waitrose. “Direct mail and email can drive people into the store, but ‘Message at Till’ can engage customers whilst they’re in the store and encourage them to come back. The solution can be very powerful when used alongside other marketing channels and gives customers a specific reason to come back to our stores.”

Looking forward

Waitrose sees ‘Message at Till’ as an opportunity to truly connect the dots between shoppers’ trips. It offers calculable, incremental value for the customer, which drives loyalty and increases visit frequency. In a short amount of time, “Message at Till” has made it easy for the Waitrose team to track results and show how campaigns are performing against where they expected them to be.

Kirby added: “Since the initial trial, Ecrebo’s ‘Message at Till’ platform has opened up a dynamic new marketing channel for in-store customer engagement that is incredibly agile, efficient, low cost and low maintenance. Most importantly, for our customers, it enables us to provide more of what they love in a really direct and personal way.”

“We’ve proved that the Ecrebo solution helps us achieve our strategic goals, so it was a natural progression for us to move to a long-term strategic partnership. The way in which they invest for the future and their future direction completely aligns with Waitrose and where we want to go as a business.” 

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