Innovating through listening to our customers


Innovating through listening to our customers

At Z we know being a successful company is all about listening and acting on the needs of the customer. And customers have told us that time matters; their time is a valuable commodity that they often struggle with, particularly in terms of achieving the right balance.

We also know that Z’s coffee and hot drinks offer is valued and an important part of our customers’ daily routine. So the customer need for a fast, friendly and reliable path to having their coffee appetite met, was clear. However, the journey to this point wasn’t that simple.

The team started with the concept of a Pre- Order platform, asking ‘How might we allow customers to pre-order and pay for products they want, allowing them to pick up when they want, without waiting in store?” Through the process we came up against challenges that led us to pivot to focus purely on a coffee or hot drinks offer as our initial MVP.

It’s important to repeat the word ‘platform’ and make sure that we all embrace the process of innovation and the culture that has been built around that process – we build platforms instead of products, we run experiments and trials rather than manage product launches and we measure success through a learning plan rather than just units sold or revenue generated.

For Pre- Order Coffee that means that we are running a 12-site trial, staggered over a 44-day period across a range of sites and retailers up and down the country. The learning plan focusses on key areas such as;

  • Does the product save time for the consumer?
  • Are customers demanding more range in terms of products and services? (pies, muffins, car wash etc)
  • Are our retail crew enjoying the process and leveraging Z factor principles?
  • Are customers relating this function to our broader CVP – fast, friendly and reliable?
  • Are we adding value to existing customers and / or winning new customers and / or increasing loyalty?
  • Do we sell more coffee and hot drinks as a result?

At the time of writing this article, the experiment is live in two sites (Royal Oak and Manurewa) rolling out to four sites on Monday 13th (Albany, Roscommon, Hewletts Rd and Bethlehem) followed by Inglewood, Stratford, Waiouru, Miramar, Green Island and Mosgiel, with the last three South Island sites going live on the 27th August.

So far, everything is going to plan. Nothing has broken. Z crew and technology are working harmoniously together and customers are starting to enjoy the fast, friendly experience. Transactions are low as we expect in the first week of trial as marketing is very targeted initially but once all 12 sites come onboard we’ll start ramping up the marketing and stress testing the platform.

What happens after the experiment?

Assuming we rate the experiment as a success after the 44-day trial period, the ‘coffee’ part of the platform gets handed over to the retail team to manage and expand as they see fit. The Innovation team will then focus on building on the platform, exploring ways to improve the experience, add features and products that meet customer need states and staying true to our goals of engaging the customer, being more productive and delivering the future.

 Spencer Willis, Creative Technologist