Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Shelf Issues

I am 5’2 3/4” tall, and have been since I was 12. I have proportionate length arms. I don’t consider myself to be exceptionally short… in fact I would guess that there are several million similarly built people in the UK. I happen to think of myself as independent and self-sufficient… until I have to do the weekly food shop.

The ‘Big Four’ supermarkets spend millions of pounds every year on refining the shopping experience for their customers, in what is one of the most competitive retail environments in the world. Our custom is worth billions of pounds a year. They have CX consultants, cognitive and behavioural scientists, and labs to run focus groups and trials specifically designed to put the customer in the middle of their in-store experience.

So tell me this - why do they place up to 25% of their products on shelves that are so high and deep that I cannot reach them?

In the past month alone, I have visited Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, and have had to engage the help of either a member of staff or a fellow, taller, customer to help me obtain a product that I cannot autonomously reach; a multipack of crisps in Sainsbury’s; a packet of broccoli in Waitrose; a bottle of tonic water in Morrisons and a bottle of oven cleaner in Tesco.

I shouldn’t have to deploy my problem-solving skills just to complete a mundane household chore…

… and don’t even get me started on the issue of standard-fit kitchen cupboards - but at least I can climb on a chair and retrieve the ‘best’ saucers without having to ask someone else to assist.

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