Abandoned Shopping Carts Litter the Landscape in Anytown USA

Here are a few photos of abandoned shopping carts seen around town.  This urban blight was in the Seattle area but this could be Anytown, USA or beyond. Kroger, QFC, Safeway, Bartells – no one store is immune and the problem is worsening. Bus stops, apartment homes, retirement homes, sidewalks, bike trails, parking lots, and dumpster areas seem to be the favorite dropping off stations.

See the related post: When Metric Fail: It is Time to Change the Conversation

about the author

Gregory Olson’s latest book is L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans. Greg also authored The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true.

image of Greg-Olson-Managing Director of Delightability and author of Experience Design BLUEPRINTGregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help.  Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social and impact investor, Oikocredit International.

 

 

 

 

When Metrics Fail it is Time to Change the Conversation: a Walk in the Park with an Abandoned Shopping Cart

abandoned shopping cart found on sidewalk in the evening - Delightability researchLurking beneath the metrics you’ll find the truth. This truth may have slowly crept up on you and suddenly poked you in the eye as a new reality. But, you say, “We have these metrics and this is the way we measure, and see, and do things around here.” Exactly right, but exactly wrong too.

Here is an easy target to pick on. Abandoned shopping carts litter the landscape most everywhere. City Councils have metrics and want to hold stores accountable for their wayward carts. Stores have metrics and are stuck between cracking down on their patrons and giving them freedom to take carts as needed. Biases are at play too. What looks like a theft problem to the store’s Loss Prevention Manager is a transportation problem to the “bus stop mom” or “urban retirement dweller.” Once you get past the bias that this is a purely homeless problem, you’ll see that kids, and moms, and grandpas all play a part in this problem. Even police are being called upon by municipalities to “do something about this menace.” One police department recently posted on their Facebook page a reminder to the public, that it is a crime to take a shopping cart off of store premises. Each of the stakeholders, save the shopper themselves, have metrics, but who is right here?

The world has shifted – shopping carts have gotten smaller and more maneuverable, the price of gas has continued to rise, and some have opted out of owning personal transportation in favor of walking or using public transportation. But, amid these changes, stores are probably blind to the transportation realities their customers face.

While stores have found more and more ways to understand our shopping preferences and probably have metrics related to the foods we buy and the prices we’re willing to pay, they really have little understanding of why we choose their store, how we got there, and if a grocery cart will be on our list of items to take home today.

So, there you have it, amid all of those metrics the human behind the customer has been forgotten and that is exactly wrong. Imagine if the metrics for a given store revolved less around how much orange juice we purchased and at what price and instead examined who the shopper is and what transportation they used to get to and from the store. That might just spawn some new services and brand loyalty to the stores with courage enough to change the conversation.

“Don’t get so set on your goal that you lose your humanity.”
Cicero, Roman author,orator, & politician (106 BC – 43 BC)

If you are a grocery store leader, city council member, or other stakeholder to the problem and would like to talk, please contact us. We’d love to share with you the findings of a public workshop we hosted where we brought people together from all walks of life to discuss, dive into, and propose a range of possible solutions to the abandoned shopping cart problem.

Here are a few photos of abandoned shopping carts seen around town.  This could be Anytown, USA or beyond.

View the workshop photo album and visit the Big Idea Toolkit to learn more about the large format visual planning system that we used to guide our workshop discussion.

about the author

Gregory Olson’s latest book is L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans.

Greg also authored The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true. The models in the Experience Design BLUEPRINT are equally relevant to organizations of all types and sizes including start-up entrepreneurs, nonprofits, for-profits, and government.

image of Greg-Olson-Managing Director of Delightability and author of Experience Design BLUEPRINTGregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help.  Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social and impact investor, Oikocredit International.

When Emails Become Overcooked Carrots

Dear Pushy Brand “Communicator,”

pushing plate of carrots awayIf I receive your email newsletters, updates, press release, etc. and I no longer want to receive your stuff, then please let me easily unsubscribe. Asking me to login to an unwanted “account” in order to change my communications preferences is tantamount to asking me to finish the meal, even though I’ve decided I don’t like the taste. Please recognize that I no longer want to eat.  Maybe I don’t like your food or I’m simply too full.  Whichever the case, please don’t fight me when I push away the plate. Better yet, be a good host and recognize when I’ve long stopped eating and simply offer to take away the plate for me.

Sincerely,

The many peeps that are full of your brand, but not as full as you are

Why Think Positive is so Last Year

positive psychology role in the Big Idea ToolkitIt turns out that the world has been swimming in positive psychology for a couple of decades. Amid that, we have many things to cite in the world that aren’t so swimmingly positive. And how many of us have fallen prey to the motivating seminar or sales pitch, only to fail later when we return to our old habits and practices. Being positive, having unabated enthusiasm, and putting blinders up to all things negative, doesn’t create the warm, fuzzy, prosperous future we once thought it would.

In the December issue of Psychology Today, Annie Murphy Paul, explores the uses and abuses of optimism (and pessimism). Like the author of the article suggests, as in many things, context matters. It turns out that there is a time to be optimistic and a time to be pessimistic. Sometimes it is helpful to think of things that might go wrong.

positive psychology in the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.We find this especially interesting given our work with teams using the Big Idea Toolkit. It turns out people adopt two distinct psychological zones or mindsets, when using Continue reading “Why Think Positive is so Last Year”

Edsel. Enron. Blockbuster. Borders…. Is Your Corner Bookstore Next to be Gone and Do You Care?

booksToday 10,700 people employed by Borders will begin losing their jobs as the company plans to shutter it remaining 399 stores and liquidate the entire business.  Once considered a staple, the big chain bookstore might be the flour for a recipe that no longer gets baked.

For more info read the article from the online edition of the Wall Street Journal.

cup - choices - reasons to gather at starbucksStarbucks took something dreadfully boring and turned it into a mega Continue reading “Edsel. Enron. Blockbuster. Borders…. Is Your Corner Bookstore Next to be Gone and Do You Care?”

Delight-O-Meter: An Innovation in Measuring Customer Delight

Delight O Meter reveal from DelightabilitySo how do you know if you are delighting customers? Is there something more effective than the revenue yardstick or monitoring what people say on social networking? Customer satisfaction surveys don’t seem to work; people say they are satisfied and then leave anyway.

It turns out that most organizations don’t know if they are delighting customers. For those that do, they still lack a systematic framework to manage delight. Customer delight is not customer satisfaction plus Continue reading “Delight-O-Meter: An Innovation in Measuring Customer Delight”

Road Signs & Signals Along the Customer Journey

bridge out sign customer experience DelightabilityHow are you doing with customers? How do you know? Which touchpoints matter the most in the customer journey, to your organization and to your customers? Are they the same? Do you even know what the customer journey looks like? Have you mapped the customer experience across all touchpoints? What does the conversation in your organization look like surrounding this?

It turns out that much of what I’m describing is invisible. For most, Key Performance Indicators related to the customer’s experience largely reflect, how many people were exposed, how many bought, and how many returned or got help. But, those are only base indicators. In a world with a new customer high bar you need to go beyond base indicators. You need to understand what is important from your customers perspective, when, and where. You need to understand this at each touchpoint. “Yeah yeah, customer service has that,” you say. But they really don’t until you dig for it. And when it isn’t easy to dig for it, you don’t.  Likewise for your prospective customer. They don’t want to dig either.

“don’t be fooled into thinking that is good enough”

Prospective customers are motivated to do something when they arrive on your digital or analog doorstep Continue reading “Road Signs & Signals Along the Customer Journey”

Do you Have the Courage?

people need courage

I had the good fortune of speaking with Yves Behar after a talk he gave at the Seattle Public Library.  In his talk about Design for Good he either mentioned or hinted at repeatedly, that people need courage. I jokingly asked him if there was some sort of courage camp that these people attended, or if they found him.  I seriously doubted that Yves, the founder of fuseproject, a brand and product experience company, was cold calling big brands and governments, spurring them to action.  He said, the thing about courageous people is that they are looking for solutions.

Here is a sampling of what was made possible when others thought it impossible.
XO computer and Yves Behar at Seattle Public LibaryOne Laptop per Child.
You’ve heard about it.  But, did you know that every primary school student in Uruguay has an XO computer.  Conventional thinkers thought this to be impossible.  They also thought there was a dearth of talent to maintain and upgrade the computers.  It turns out that XO computers were designed for in country personnel with little training to be able to upgrade the operating system, which they have done many times.

It all started because of a question

“What if we eliminated the shoebox?”
It took 21 months for fuseproject and Puma to eliminate the shoebox.  They also made the entire prescription open source.  Other shoe companies can follow suit without fear of encroaching on patents and other intellectual property.  Good for the consumer, good for the company, and good for the planet.

Getting a laptop into every child’s hand and eliminating the shoebox were both big changes to the status quo.  Nothing happens until somebody thinks and acts differently. People involved in these projects had the courage to challenge the status quo, ask questions, and explore new territory.

Do you have the courage to make the impossible, possible?  What is your question?  How long will your idea take?  A lot longer if you don’t get started and infinitely longer if you don’t begin with a question.

Need help?  How do we HelpContact Us.

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Are Communications Helping Your Relationships?

 

universe of people - Delightability

Timely and relevant communications is essential for businesses to reach their target audience.  Anything less is noise that will largely go unnoticed or worse irritate the intended audience. Sadly, many organizations fall into the trap of poorly segmenting communications. Sales and even some marketing personnel fail to differentiate between suspects, prospects, and customers. When this happens, loyal customers are often overlooked. Think how a loyal customer feels about your brand when prospects receive better offers than they do. This results in customer churn, diminished sales, and poor loyalty.

To solve this problem companies should segment customer communications into 3 stages.

  1. The first stage is Exposure. Here you expose suspects to your products and services and turn them into a prospect.
  2. Next is the Adoption stage. Getting your prospect through the sales process and consuming your product or service is the goal.
  3. The last stage is Retention. This last one is most often overlooked as sales driven personnel and processes are “on to the next” big sale or initiative.

3 funnels - suspects - prospects - customers - advocates - Delightability

 

Bain and Company research established that it is 10x more costly to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. So naturally, you wish to retain customers and turn them into advocates.

Benefit of creating advocates include:

  • pay more, especially for premium treatment
  • buy more and often without ongoing sales efforts
  • provide useful input on products and services
  • insulate you from the effectiveness of competitor’s price promotions
  • reduce the cost of your exposure funnel related marketing activities

Properly enabled, advocates also influence like minded individuals and expose them to your brand. Because of this, it is important to continue to build the relationship. This is especially relevant in an era where buyers turn to social networks and online information sources for opinions and counsel before completing a purchase decision.

Here is how to improve customer communications

  1. Conduct a communications audit and establish your baseline
  2. Ensure everyone is clear on the definition of customer terms i.e. suspect, prospect, customer, and client
  3. Actively segment communications based on the 3 stages of relationship
  4. Watch response rates and loyalty improve