More to love: Farmers' Michael Power talks regional shoppers, personalisation and beacons

  • News
  • August 23, 2016
  • Sarah Dunn
More to love: Farmers' Michael Power talks regional shoppers, personalisation and beacons

Farmers is known for its extensive network of stores across big and small towns in New Zealand. Would you say its regional shoppers are engaging with omnichannel services differently to city dwellers?

As expected, customers across both groups use our online site to research the products they are looking at purchasing and, with our check stock in store functionality, can easily see if the product is available at their local Farmers store.

We can see some differences in the way our regional customers engage with our online offering when compared to our city dwelling customers. In those regional areas, where we do not have a Farmers store in close proximity, we see a higher conversion rate on our website compared to city dwellers.

The Farmers Club cards network is very well-established – the customer data they yield must be invaluable for personalisation. Can you tell us some ways Farmers is using that data to improve omnichannel services?

The Farmers Club programme is invaluable to us as it allows us to tailor and personalise the message to our customers. One area we utilise this information in is our email communications.

For instance, we can identify a group of customers who purchase a particular brand, or shop in particular categories and send an email and offer to them that matches their shopping preferences. Customers can then click through from the email to the specific items, brands or offer on our website. This approach allows us to provide our customer with personalised and relevant information and offers.

What’s your opinion on in-store gadgets like beacons, free wifi to track customers’ physical movements, etc? We see them described as being the equivalent of online tools for the real world, but some people feel they’re intrusive.

We are constantly reviewing technology advances that could have a benefit for customers and add value to the customer journey and experience, be it in-store or online. Farmers currently do not use any of the above noted technology.

We understand customers also value their privacy and any decisions to use new technology needs to balance the value add against individual privacy rights.

Is fast delivery a priority for Farmers customers? Does the idea of drone deliveries appeal to you?

The speed of delivery is extremely important to our customers and to Farmers. We understand that once our customers have purchased their items, they expect the item to be delivered as soon as possible. As part of the overall customer journey the last mile is extremely important.

We often receive positive feedback from our customers when we exceed their expectations on the delivery timeframe.

We have not studied drone delivery technology in any detail at this stage. 

This story originally appeared in NZRetail magazine issue 744 June / July 2016

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