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Delivering the goods… @waitrose

Starting a post with an apology  may not be the best way to engage with an audience however I feel that it’s required seeing as this post could be considered a first world gripe considering a) the problem and b) the supplier, but seeing as the service offered has deteriorated, the complaint is valid.

Everyone loves Waitrose! Great staff, ownership model, free coffee and a paper and great food. Yes, you may pay a little more for certain items but they price match with Tesco on essential items. Anyway, after their London delivery agreement with Ocado ended, Waitrose launched a home delivery service. And rather than charging for home delivery like other supermarkets, delivery was free if you spent a minimum of £50. And they’d deliver in hourly slots between 7am and 11pm. Super friendly drivers who were always pleasant and would always make a joke about lugging my groceries up three flights of stairs. What’s not to like? Nothing!

Except, things have changed. They increased the minimum order to £60 (which is fair enough for me but it could be prohibitive for those on tighter budgets) but the major gripe that I (and I presume many more people have) is changing the delivery slot window from one hour to two, and starting deliveries at 9am.

How inconvenient for me I hear you scream! Well, if you previously had your shopping delivered in the 7-8am window on a Saturday, you knew you’d have your shopping, and you breakfast delivered by 8am. And you could get on with your day and your weekend. With the new service window, it’s possible that you won’t receive your groceries until 11am. Which would be fine if it arrived by 11am – the three orders I’ve placed thus far have been late! So, realistically I can’t commit to doing anything on the day until at least noon.

Again, I accept that this may come across as a first world problem but Waitrose previously offered a service that worked and suited and have replaced it with a service that doesn’t.

I appreciate that they have made the changes for various reasons (maybe staffing? Cost?) however they have forgotten the motto that the customer is always right.

Businesses may need to change terms and conditions for various reasons but you’ve got to take your customers with you. If the service isn’t up to scratch, your customers will look elsewhere for your products. And it’ll cost you a lot more trying to win those customers back.

Think about it Waitrose!


The Referendum

Two years ago, I wrote a blog about the social media impact on the US Presidential Election, where I made a confident prediction on who would win based on the mobilisation of ground troops online, with a basic understanding of how to engage prospective voters – which resulted in me receiving torrents of abuse from angry Republicans, after I eloquently argued that their candidate, and the people running his campaign, were not quite up to speed digitally. In the end I was proved right, and found my blog second in the search results for ‘why Mitt Romney will lose the Election’. A small victory I feel.

Tomorrow, the people of my country, Scotland, go to the polls to decide whether they want to remain part of the UK, or whether they want to be an Independent government. Now, I’m not going to regurgitate the respective arguments or even pick a preference, rather I’m going highlight that digital disruption is kicking into the media, the government and the pollsters, which has left us in a situation where the result is not quite as cut and dried as they think.

Furthermore, and I feel I need to say this following the fallout of the Romney blog, I am expressing NO POLITICAL OPINION OR PREFERENCE WITHIN THIS POST. I AM MERELY MAKING OBSERVATIONS FROM A PROFESSIONAL POINT OF VIEW. 

Over the past two years, opinion polls have confidently predicted a No vote, the government has outlined why Scotland can’t be Independent and the media have published it. But, despite all the negativity regarding defence, Oil, health and currency, support for the Yes campaign has steadily grown. In fact, two weeks ago, opinion polls for the first time recognised that the Yes campaign might win. Which prompted panic within the establishment. Opinion polls are currently predicting a result that is only just in favour of a No vote. But what is the basis of these predictions? Street surveys? Telephone polls?

Have they not looked online?

Approximately 50% of the Scottish population have a Facebook account and with 97% of those eligible to vote registered to vote, and a predicted turnout of over 85%, the pollsters, government and the media appear to have only recently noticed what is actually going on online.

There were more than 8.5 million Facebook interactions regarding the Referendum, in Scotland, in the 5 weeks to September 8th. Of these interactions, the Yes campaign is clearly in the lead, thanks in part to their mobilisation of ground troops, engaging, discussing and debating the key issues of the debate. Within the same time frame, almost 90% of discussions regarding the referendum on Twitter, were pro Yes.

Often dismissed, by the No campaign as ‘Cyber Nats’, the Yes campaigners have managed to use digital channels to reach out to audiences that would not normally vote, and also engage with first time voters – 16 and 17 year old’s will be eligible to vote. The Yes campaign have posted 4 to 5 times more to Facebook than the No campaign, and leader of the Yes campaign, Alex Salmond even participated in a live Facebook Q&A with the electorate, that attracted over 5000 questions. Those in business know how effective it can be to talk directly to your customers. Clearly this tactic has worked for the Yes campaign. 

What is particularly interesting is that this has barely been reported by the media, until very recently. The newspaper industry has been decimated by digital disruption. Their print circulation is down and loyalty to one particular news source is rare. The public now have the choice to make informed decisions and review the opinions of multiple news sources, rather than consulting just one source. As a result, Facebook and Twitter are now news hubs, where content is aggregated, enabling people to make more informed decisions. The coordinated Yes campaign has tapped into this by displaying complete transparency and promoting a positive message, which resonates far more with digital natives, rather than the negative messages from the No campaign.

Ultimately, I hope for a high turnout tomorrow and for the people who live in Scotland to make the right choice for their future, whatever that may be.

But I believe the battle will be won or lost online… 





No angels

Those living in London, may well have noticed the App war currently taking place between Black Cab and Mini Cab drivers over the rights and fairness over Apps that undercut the Black Cabs by offering a quicker, cheaper, more responsive service. The Black Cab drivers are up in arms as these Apps, such as Uber or MiniCabster, allegedly offer unregulated drivers the opportunity to undercut the Black Cabs, and apparently compromises passenger safety and security. 

Now, when the battle all kicked off with a strike and a blockage of Central London in June, I had little sympathy for the Cabbies. I’ve lived in London for 9 years and I will avoid taking a Black Cab if I can, principally because I find them to be ridiculously overpriced (Black Cab from Camden to home: £40. Swiss Cottage Taxi from Camden to home: £17). 

But, today my opinion changed. I had a family emergency this morning which required me to ferry someone from home to the medical centre on St Ann’s Road. I logged into the App, and booked a car to collect at 9.30 however at 9.30 I received a call from the driver, who despite having a GPS app on his phone, was lost about 5 minutes away, and was heading in the wrong direction! And then, to make matters worse, once he collected us, I had to direct him to the medical centre, using basic knowledge of living in London for 9 years. 

So, here’s the thing. Black Cab drivers have to pass a test called The Knowledge, which basically requires them to know how to get anywhere within the M25. Can’t pass The Knowledge, you can’t drive a Black Cab. Whilst it would have cost me a lot more to get from home to the medical centre, I know that a) the cabbie would have turned up at the right place, and b) he’d have got us to our destination, stress free, and I could have spent the time reassuring my family member that we were going to get to our destination as quickly as possible. 

Ultimately, here’s my advice to the Black Cab drivers. You may not be the cheapest but you have the quality of service and The Knowledge that cannot be beat. Shout it from the rooftops!





Module five – #squaredonline

Last chance saloon…

Final module we were asked to design an infographic  on the digital influence on an assigned business sector (engineering) however I felt we were sold a dead rubber as there’s not exactly a wealth of data on engineering out there. No matter how much you Google! I presume the data gathering was a little easier for those researching Automotive or Banking. 

But that’s ok. As we did actually put the work in. And I learnt a hell of a lot more about Bio mechanical engineering and the influence of digital than I never need to know. But ultimately, as a team, we delivered a great result. 

Full summary of Squared Online to come in due course. Props to my classmates. You’ve all been wonderful. 

Module four – #squaredonline

We’re nearly there. Just hang on…

Module four. Team change. Bar one team member. We then got technical. Critique the We Are Squared website using their Google Analytics eh? Well, this surely can’t go well. And after reviewing the Analytics I could only conclude that their AdWord advertising strategy was flawed and the experience on mobile was not designed for customer engagement. Really poor show as I expected better. Especially after a rebrand…

Module three – #squaredonline

Still with me? Good. We’re now in episode two of ‘complete my Google Squared course by writing a blog about the module’. You’ll notice that yes this is blog number two however it is titled number three.

Well, I did actually blog about module two. Search for it on the blog. It’s there!

So, module three. We had to prepare a digital campaign for the launch of a new hair dye product called Kleur Tonacity. You might be surprised to discover I have knowledge of this. I’m not going to post a picture of me with bright red hair but it does exist. And I’ll show you if you ask nicely.

Anyway, we used the Zmot model, designed by Brian Solis. I came up with a strategy to use augmented reality to drive online engagement from offline channels and engage their audience, develop user generated, shareable content and ultimately make hypothetical millions.