Morrison’s trolley locks and customer embarrassment

Well done to Morrison’s. They have recognised that shoppers strongly dislike trolley locks and are removing 150K of them. When they were first introduced trolleys did not have locks on. They were introduced because some trolleys were stolen or dumped and the supermarkets wanted a way to stop these activities which cost them money. Hence they invented trolley locks.

All they were asking customers to do was to insert a coin to release a trolley and they would get it back when they returned the trolley. Logical thinking on behalf of the supermarkets but they did not consider how customers in real life would react nor what they had to do to make this process work smoothly.


Shopper embarrassment

How many times have you personally struggled with trying to insert a coin into a trolley lock? How many times have you seen people struggle and ask strangers for help to get coins into or out of a trolley lock? I won’t even mention shoppers who don’t happen to have a pound coin with them. These situations embarrass customers which is unforgivable. Customers also can’t understand why the supermarket they spend lots of money with won’t trust them to use one of their trolleys.

Shoppers typically react in a number of different ways. The first is to go to a different supermarket. They often don’t mind paying a price premium to avoid customer embarrassment. The second approach is to only use a basket. The third is to get their own back on the supermarket in some way which may include theft.  As a net result they tend to buy much less in the store. I wonder how much business trolley locks have cost Morrison’s and certain other supermarkets.


Understand what customers value

The trolley locks saga is a perfect example of companies only thinking from their own perspective when changing factors that directly affect customers. It’s vital to consider how customers might react to changes that any company makes not just supermarkets. I’ve seen some terrible examples in BtoB businesses too.


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