Members help us get on message

Approx 658 words. 3 mins to read.

More than 1,800 members have been joining conversations to help our Store Format team think about the ways that we can use the space in our stores to better communicate the many benefits of Co-op membership. 

What we learned reinforced some of what we already believed; but members provided us with additional things to think about and gave us some great pointers for how we can be better at getting our membership messages across. It’s important that all our customers understand that we’re a different kind of business – one that is co-owned by millions of members who can have a say in how it’s run and enjoy benefits for them and their community.  

We asked members to think about the last occasions they visited a store and to try and recall what messages – other than product offers – they saw in our stores, and whether they noticed any of the principal places we use to display those messages.  

Perhaps understandably at this time, the most memorable messages for members in stores related to social distancing measures and Coronavirus, but many had also seen messages relating to our community activity. 

Community noticeboards were the most widely noticed communications vehicle for our messages, though 17% of the members who took part said they hadn’t seen messages in any of the places that we’d prompted them to think about.  

“I do think that it’s important to see the contributions that Co-op gives to so many great community projects. It makes me believe that not everyone is just out to make profit.”  

Baithani, Co-op member from Harrogate 

In store, the majority of members wanted to see messages about local causes that they could support through the membership scheme, along with information that was relevant to their local community and opportunities to get involved. 

We also asked members to consider at what point in their shopping trip they thought that they’d be most likely to see membership and community messaging – was it as they approached the store, as they did their shopping, whilst they were paying or something else? From this we have gained some valuable learnings about where we should focus our membership and community communications going forward.  

“I feel that in the shops the message is not prominent enough. Message boards are there, and big screens are there, but they are not prominent enough and sometimes stuck in a corner.”  

Ian, Co-op member from Ellesmere 

Our work with members has given us some clear design and communication principles too, that we think we’ll be able to use to inform our future work and create impactful and memorable membership communications and experiences. Members want design that is simple, clever, unique and eye-catching and communication that is down to earth and genuine. 

“I would like to see any messages or information less busy, less pictures and clever graphics, to poignant messages, bold and short.”  

Sue, Co-op member from Hatfield

Almost 1,500 of the members who participated in the survey said that they would be happy to further explore these ideas with us, and many said they’d be up for joining us for an online chat about this topic. We’ve already taken some members up on their offer, running an online focus group, and members will continue to work with us over the coming months to develop new ideas.  

And we also received additional feedback from the members who joined in with our August members’ quiz.  

Member feedback has been of huge value to my team’s current activity around store design development, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with our members to shape store design in a way that reflects what they would like to see and know more about, based on their experiences in their stores. 

If you’re a member, there are always opportunities available for you to get involved with your Co-op. Head to your member account to see how you can Join In today.  

Lee Broadbent 
Format Identity Manager