Shopping is a fun experience because it excites all of your senses, especially in a hypermarket. The fresh produce section is always bustling with people carrying and smelling products. There is always a crowd around the free sample stands. When you shop with your family, you can enjoy walking in, looking around, and talking in the whole environment. It is a fun time for the entire family. But the truth is, with online stores growing in popularity, people can now shop at home with their fingers swiping the screen. For hypermarkets, it’s important to provide customers with the unique experience of shopping in a real store. “To know what the customers need” is the fundamental goal for Carrefour, the leader of the hypermarket space.
Su Xiao-Zhen(蘇小真), National Marketing Director of Carrefour Taiwan, says, “It’s very important for our teams at Carrefour to grow with our customers. We focus on all the details to get closer to our customers’ basic needs and lifestyle preferences. This way we can provide a better service.”
To achieve that goal, employees of Carrefour Taiwan held brainstorming sessions to identify specific goals to be accomplished. They started out with small goals such as filling up the shelves and cleaning the shopping areas. Then came the idea of treating customers as family, and meeting the needs of each customer in the best way possible. Lin Meng-Shao (林夢紹), Marketing & Communication PR Manager of Carrefour Taiwan, says: “Once there was a customer who couldn’t find a certain type of camera lens, so he asked our staff for help. One staff identified exactly what the customer wanted and had it imported. The customer didn’t have to go anywhere further than Carrefour to buy it.”
There's nothing you can't buy here! Carrefour acts as a broker for it's members
Carrefour leads the hottest business trend in recent years: overseas purchasing. “Even if a product is not currently available in our store, we can still order it for you. Through our suggestion boxes, our customers can let us know which product they wish to buy. We then act as your broker: we can import anything you need.” Su says.
"Thinking like our customers" is not just something we talk about in meetings or post on bulletin boards in our stores, it is the drive behind what Carrefour is about and a question we ask ourselves whenever faced with a challenge. For example, as long as you are a Carrefour member, you can return your purchase at any chain store, even without the receipt. Since that policy started, only one single customer returned 50% of his purchases in the course one year. On the other hand, it also raised Carrefour’s income as a result of making it easier for our customers to choose and buy what they want.
Housewives love our private brand for it's high quality and how it meets their need
The devil is in the details. To reach the highest quality of service, you have to focus on the details. Providing fresh vegetables, fruits and meat is a minimal requirement. We have a very efficient booking system at Carrefour. Fresh products are delivered everyday according to the needs of each chain store which means more stock and better quality. Carrefour’s private brand follows even higher standards. Fresh fruits and vegetables bearing the Carrefour private brand are eco-friendly, and meat products under the label must comply with EU food safety standards.
This way we can ensure our customers are able to buy and eat worry free. We also offer a lot of free samples. All these efforts make for an ever-growing group of royal customers.
Carrefour has very spacious rest areas in stores for all those who need to sit for a while. People can also have a cup of coffee and really enjoy their shopping experience. On special holidays, such as Halloween and Dragon Boat Festival, we held “Make Your Own Pizza” or “Let The Egg Stand “ events that kids can attend. In 2 years, customer complaints have decreased 30%, and 80% more thank-you notes have been received.
"To change an industry is a step-by-step process. First we identify our customers’ problems and then we work on solving them. We keep improving our service because we really care about our customers’ needs. What we want is to bring back that feeling of ‘the good old days’ when people shopped leisurely with their family and friends and simply had a good time,” Su explains.