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31 custom experience " If it was anything else, it might be different," she said. " But it's groceries, so what the heck, who cares who knows what I eat?" Kroger shopper Joyce Grosshenrich of Cobden, Ill., decided the benefits were worth the trade- off of her buying habits being tracked

32 Imagine being able to combine the one- to- one experience a customer enjoys in their local store where the shopkeeper knows their likes and dislikes, with the range and cost savings of a large supermarket. Isn't that the holy grail for modern retail? And indeed for modern customers? The previous chapter showed how insight informs relevant innovation; customer data also informs a more personalised service as the rest of this chapter will demonstrate. Rigorous, clever analysis of customers helps retailers offer a more bespoke experience to customers. It helps remove all the headaches from shopping, making choices easier. Caffeine choice For example, interpreting Kroger's data showed dunnhumbyUSA that a customer's first decision- making process when buying coffee was whether it was caffeinated or decaffeinated. It wasn't about brand, it wasn't about fair- trade just a simple either or choice. So Kroger reorganised the way its coffee products were laid out on the shelves, dividing coffee into caffeinated and decaffeinated. It sounds so simple but it was an important decision because it was led by customers, not the category manager, not a coffee brand, but the customer. A category manager might have wanted a top- selling brand to dominate the shelves, whereas a coffee brand manager would want all the different products grouped together to make more impact. On a much bigger scale, customer data enables supermarkets to stock the products they know their loyal customers like and need. Most retailers looking to streamline their shelf space will just consider the lowest- selling items. Some of their loyal customers might value these niche products and there is a danger that if they remove an item, there will be no viable alternatives. For example, in the bread aisle in Tesco, a product like milk loaf may not be a big seller but it is a crucial item to keep in stock. This is because the customers who buy milk loaf do not want a substitute, if milk loaf is not there, they will go elsewhere to find it. Retailers need to understand the difference between key products and substitutable items. While some items can always be substituted any colour you like as long as it's any colour you like Retailers need to understand the difference between key products and substitutable items