Sainsbury’s CX Transformation

Using service design to lead an ambitious customer experience transformation programme

Sainsbury’s CX Transformation Image

When Sainsbury’s pioneered the self-service supermarket in the UK in the 1950s, the shopper’s role changed forever. Over the last ten years, consumers’ expectations of shopping have changed dramatically, and Sainsbury’s have continued to lead the way to offer choice and exceed customer expectations.

The Challenge

When pricing came under pressure for Sainsbury’s and mobile technology-enabled wide-scale diversification of shopping habits, the super-grocer needed to shift the focus for customer experience design from tactical deployment to a strategic capability.

The Challenge

When pricing came under pressure for Sainsbury’s and mobile technology-enabled wide-scale diversification of shopping habits, the super-grocer needed to shift the focus for customer experience design from tactical deployment to a strategic capability.

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Defining the future of grocery shopping

Supermarket shopping has become more complicated. As a trend, UK families no longer do one sizeable weekly shop and increasingly use supermarkets for food ‘on demand’ (although Covid-19 has pushed this trend back a little). Supermarkets sell much more than food, diversifying into non-foods, mobile phones and financial services. More and more shoppers are combining visits to physical stores with online click-and-collect and home delivery.

The result? It’s now much more challenging than it used to be to segment shoppers. The Engine Service Design Team worked with data from extensive studies, customer feedback and qualitative research to define a new Customer Personas set. These became important in support of cross-functional working, enabling everybody to talk about customers in the same way.

Service design projects became a transformational programme

Engine started working with UK supermarket (Sainsbury’s) in 2014, to establish a cross-functional, collaborative role for service design. We helped make a case for using Engine’s Service Design System on five major projects within Sainsbury’s and evolved a comprehensive CX Design Toolkit. We delivered these projects as a customer experience programme emerged around them, triggering further work, facilitated by an expanded Customer Experience Team and using the tools we’d created.

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Head of Customer Experience

Focusing senior leaders on the shift to services

Sainsbury’s saw these trends continuing and needed senior stakeholders to work together to imagine and anticipate how stores and technology should change in response. The Engine Service Design Team researched leading-edge retail and emerging retail technology.

An important early step was to engage the Operating Board to define, on one page, a service proposition and principles for the supermarket. Engine’s “Future of Shopping” project in 2015 helped focus senior leaders on the strategic opportunity of designing new services and one customer experience.

 

Impact

20-point uplift in customer satisfaction.

12%

growth in year on year café sales.

Mission-led format for six supermarket pilots.

£4m

in savings attributable to customer and colleague journey redesign.

Redesign of in-store customer service.

In-store experience for a new shopping app.

Revamp of in-store cafés.

New store colleague development programme.

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