Cheese, chocolate and innovative mobile apps: Secrets the Swiss understand best

By Wyatt Urmey

| Retail

The Swiss do many things well: they think in the long term and on a grand scale, they focus on high-value service in finance and pharma, they deliver consistently and famously on time and not least among their virtues is a national skill with chocolate and cheese.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that their largest retailer, Migros, has embraced innovative mobile apps in a way that is consistent with all these values. Here’s a closer look at how they’re empowering their workforce and boosting customer loyalty as a result.

Innovative mobile apps improve the retail consumer experience

Because Switzerland encompasses many regions separated by mountains and local cultural differences — including four official languages — they have had to build expertise in standardization of services over the years. The Swiss are also generally known for their secrecy — but this secret is out.

The Swiss know the power of innovative mobile apps in transforming customer experiences. The secret is not in deploying the devices or being able to provide consistent training to staff. Instead, the real value is that mobile helps deliver consistently high-value customer experiences.

It’s deceptively simple, but mobile truly can standardize and raise the service quality of a whole customer business process to improve results — even when that business process is highly diverse, under inconsistent context and spread throughout a country on various schedules.

Using apps across enterprise delivers consistent results

In-store promotions and tastings of products have been shown to increase sales up to 16 times and to convince 30 percent of those tasting the product to purchase it, according to Beverage Trade Network. In some instances, in-store samples have increased sales by as much as 2,000 percent.

For Migros — and retailers like it—, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of discipline and consistency in the in-store promotion across 1,000 diverse store locations. Through the application of mobile technology, Migros has not only improved business and customer loyalty — with a 28 percent increase in mobile customers — it also has increased the engagement of their in-store promotional employees — which has, in turn, improved the in-store experience.

The big picture is that they are able to improve the performance and engagement of every store promoter by providing consistent training, scheduling and execution of the promotion in a similar way at every store. The mobile app Migros has developed for their workforce of promoters provides video training on the products so employees can be knowledgeable.

It also provides the headquarters with a way to consistently monitor and manage the quality of the in-store presences, as each promoter uses their device to take a picture of their promotional stand and shares that with headquarters. The team at headquarters can quickly provide feedback based on best practices learned across the full network of stores and promoters, so that each promotion informs subsequent ones.

Migros also uses the power of mobile and data to help optimize its digital channels, making good use of data across the 80 percent of households that are members of their customer loyalty program.

This has resulted in 20 percent more page views and — combined with the mobile app and in-store promoters — is driving a positive impact on business. If Migros were asked how much of an impact it makes, in characteristic Swiss style, they’d likely want to keep that a secret.