Waitrose brings staff to the fore in digital revamp

Waitrose has revamped its digital presence to feature its staff – what the grocer calls its Partners – at every stage of the customer journey to bring the “authenticity and warmth” from its stores to the web.

Waitrose wine expert

Speaking at the IAB Engage conference today (17 October), Waitrose director of commerce Robin Philips explained how the company’s websites across desktop, mobile and tablet were relaunched last week, featuring far more images and content from its staff.

Philips also said Waitrose was experimenting with how to make its Partners more available to participate in social media conversations – a challenge considering its customers expect to be able to talk to the supermarket online 24 hours a day, he added.

One such Twitter page, set up by a staff member and wine expert from its Stratford upon Avon store – has already amassed a “loyal following” Philips said, which could be replicated by other Partners.

The supermarket is also hoping to add more videos to its Waitrose TV platform, some featuring Partners but also additional cookery lessons from brand ambassador Delia Smith.

Philips said: “[We are looking at how to] create a place where customers want to be: inspirational destinations on line in the same way supermarkets are inspirational places for our customers to come in and speak to Partners.

“In the next year or so we are looking to create a lot more video TV content so customers can see our specialists, talk to them about food and drink and [it will also] help them to enjoy it. That’s key because as well as helping customers buy great food and drink, we are trying to get them to enjoy it at the same time.”

On the fulfilment side of the digital strategy, Waitrose has launched a number of new services in recent months including its drive-through trial and temperature-controlled click and collect lockers.

Waitrose is looking to open its second “dark store” in South London next year to cater for the growing demand for click and collect shopping. Philips said click and collect is growing 100 per cent year on year across the John Lewis Partnership.

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