The Shopping Experience- keeping customers happy

I’ve believed since my days at infonomia that Alfons Cornella was correct: in the future, everything would be bought via the net and that physical shopping would be an “experience” in the same way that fine dining is about more than just nourishing the body.

I have now decided that e-commerce can provide a vastly superior shopping experience.

I was reminded what an “experience” it is to shop today at my local Sainsbury’s Market- how time-consuming, frustrating and stressful a weekend outing to the supermarket can really be.

I’ve been using Able & Cole for a few months now and have continued to be impressed with their website, value for money, quality food and above all, customer service. It’s all about customer touch points: the “notes” they include with my weekly delivery, the quirky explanation about what “Apples in conversion” means, what farm they’ve come from, how far they travelled, what the carbon footprint is, etc.

The last time I saw our delivery guy, he said, “Mr Ball, it’s been a pleasure delivering your groceries, but I’ve been re-assigned to NW3. My colleague [Scott] will be taking care of you from now on…”. He was very sincere that someone else would be taking care of me and my family and seemed honestly disappointed to be reassigned to a different part of London.

I was thoroughly impressed. I’ve seen at least 20 different delivery guys from Tesco, and none of them have even bothered to say more than “Sign here”.

If you’re an e-tailer, I seriously recommend that you study Able & Cole forensically. They are doing an amazing job.


  1. Ah, as a devoted foodie, who must feel and smell the vegetables and fruit before buying them, I must differ a bit with Cornella. In food shopping, there is also the joy of serendipity and discovery of long-lost foods etc.

    Similarly things like shoes and clothes must be tried on for size, especially as they vary with age and fitness level, and so far I know not of one retailer, which allows for a quibble-free returns guarantee on their wares, except Lands’ End (a guarantee that they cannot promote in Germany for fear of offending some arbitrary laws about level playing field).

    There is also the price thing, the proportionality of the shopping bill with its delivery costs; and the point of being tied at home or in office to receive your goods. And some things are best not received at work I suppose.

    Just because something is available on the web does not mean it is the most satisfying way to buy it.

    I think there is a space for renewing (in a new-age sort of way) speciality experiences that is yet untapped and that should be a space for investors to watch too.

  2. Shefaly

    All good points. Able & Cole nail them in my opinion:

    Serendipity- they send you funky veggies that you would never normally buy. Case in point, Jerusalem Artichokes. I had no idea what a Jerusalem Artichoke was before A&C sent me a few with one of my orders.

    Price- Shipping is included in the price. No hidden costs. A&C is expensive, but I’ve found we actually SAVE money because the food is such high quality that there’s no wastage. I was always throwing away food after 3-4 days. Now our veggies and fruit last at least 7 days- if not longer. It works out less than buying from Tesco.

    I’ve been very impressed by the company and introduced to foods that I would have never met before and I’ve fallen in love with the blood oranges they’re currently shipping…

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