The satisfaction of its more than 40 million customers is the axis around which DIA’s business pivots. The group achieves customer satisfaction by continually fine-tuning its compellingly-priced neighbourhood shopping proposition. In 2015, it added to its product ranges and further developed its retail formats and sales channels. To identify emerging customer demands and adapt its establishments, products and discounts accordingly, DIA reached out to its customers.
Enhanced customer intelligence translates into greater customer loyalty
In 2015, Club DIA welcomed 3.4 million new members and printed 1.65 million discount coupons. These new members boosted the number of cards issued since the loyalty programme was first created back in 1998 to 32.2 million.
DIA Club card by country
The loyalty programme has proved the most effective source of customer intelligence and the most efficient way to generate positive experiences and nurture the ‘unbeatable prices’ image. Whereas members obtain exclusive benefits from membership of Club DIA (namely, access to over 250 lower-priced products, discount coupons, etc.), the company is afforded the chance to study their behaviour and prepare personalised sales plans, in coordination with its suppliers.
In 2015, Club DIA welcomed 3.4 million new members and printed 1.65 million discount coupons
Actively generating feedback via customer polls
In its quest to enhance the shopping experience, in 2015, DIA Spain implemented a new system for gathering feedback about its customers’ shopping experiences–in its stores and online.
Thanks to this new system, Club DIA members who shop using their loyalty cards receive a brief questionnaire by e-mail aimed at evaluating the service provided by the store and checkout staff. Their responses are sent automatically to the company’s system for analysis and evaluation. At present some 1.5 million Club DIA members have registered e-mail addresses and can submit their feedback through this channel. Over 700,000 surveys have been sent since the system was introduced; the response rate stands at 5%.
In the online arena, meanwhile, DIA rolled out its Opinators satisfaction surveys during the year in an attempt to track the online shopping experience. Each time a customer signs up for the first time, he or she receives a questionnaire. Then, at the end of the year, a general survey is sent to all e-commerce users with questions related to customer service and the shopping experience in general. More than 28,000 surveys were sent out in 2015 and the participation rate was close to 2%.
Last year, DIA implemented a new system for gathering customer feedback via e-mail about their shopping experiences
Avenues for dialogue
As part of its effort to really listen to what its customers need and want, the group worked to reinforce its store staff’s attitude, continued to hone its customer attention, interacted continually via its social network profiles and encouraged customer participation by creating innovative events such as ‘Let’s turn the day on its head’ and ‘Experts in Saving’, as well as producing a number of publications.
In a bid to enhance in-store customer care, DIA created a programme in Spain called ‘Customer Attitude’, which consists of a host of activities targeted at employees at all levels of the company with the aim of improving their attitude to customers and their determination to satisfy them. Among these activities, the focus groups conducted by sales managers and store supervisors and the ‘Customer Attitude Recipe Book’ (provided to store employees to complement the company’s customer service protocol) stand out.
The DIA Group’s customer contacts via its various customer attention services numbered 110,775, dealing with a host of issues including its stores, products and Club DIA. Of this total, 79,043 were enquiries, 1,267 suggestions and 30,465 complaints. DIA’s customers contacted it by phone, by internet, by mail, etc.
In the social media, the company answered its customers questions in real time, providing them with product information and organising competitions designed to boost customer loyalty. As a result, at year-end, DIA had 482,000 Facebook fans in Spain and one million in Argentina. On Twitter, DIA had 29,000 followers in Spain, 1,600 in Argentina and 24,000 in Brazil. In China, DIA has an official WeChat account. In addition, the Clarel chain has its own social network profiles, which are used to organise competitions, provide beauty tips and gather customer feedback.
DIA has been overhauling its customer communication efforts to leverage the new media. In China, where the company has focused its sales strategy on development of the online business, DIA made noteworthy use of the WeChat platform to carry out several marketing campaigns. Coinciding with DIA’s twelfth anniversary in China, the company shared an interactive game targeted at its younger shoppers. The game was shared by over 850,000 people, helping to double the number of WeChat followers in just two months.
Development of its social network presence marks a fresh milestone in DIA’s traditional communication strategy. The company has been producing a number of customer publications for several years now, the most noteworthy being the Club DIA magazine in Spain.
With a print run of 700,000, the pages of this magazine contain nutrition and health related content, product news, ideas for family activities, recipes and practical household tips. In addition to this flagship magazine in Spain, the group’s print publications include Member Lifestyle in China, Experts in Argentina and the DIA Magazine in Brazil.
Customer communities: ‘Experts in Saving’ and ‘Let’s turn the day on its head’
DIA has created and nourished dynamic customer communities. In 2015, management continued to leverage the ‘Expert in Saving’ and ‘Turn the day on its head’ initiatives to reinforce company-customer ties by means of different events, many of which designed to additionally showcase its involvement with the least privileged.
The third ‘Experts in Saving’ National Summit, which took place in Buenos Aires and was attended by 3,200 people, is a fine example. To participate in the event, the ‘experts’ had to first register on DIA’s fan page and donate a book or toy in good repair to the children cared for by the Garrahan Foundation and the Dr. Ricardo Gutiérrez Hospital Cooperation Association. DIA topped up their contributions by donating $30,000 worth of products.
Another example is the new television show spawned by the Experts initiative in Argentina, called TV Experts, first aired in August 2015, which includes a section dedicated to ‘Exemplary Experts’, women who devote their lives to helping others.
Elsewhere, the members of ‘Let’s turn the day on its head’, punning the word DIA in Spanish), the gastronomy community hosted at www.demoslavueltaaldia.com, participated in the annual march organised by ASPRONA in defence of the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. More specifically, 12 chefs, winners of this initiative’s cooking competition, prepared a gluten-free paella for the 5,000 walkers.
Format, product and sales channel innovation
This active and ongoing search for customer feedback translated into fresh refurbishment of the group’s formats, products and sales channels in 2015 in a bid to hone its compellingly-priced neighbourhood shopping proposition.
In order to get ever closer to its customers and provide them with a quicker, easier, more affordable and environmentally-friendly (by eliminating transportation) way to shop, DIA continued to expand its store network, lifting the total number of establishments at year-end to 7,718 and giving it a market share of 10.31% in Spain, its main and home market.
In parallel, it focused its investment effort on unwavering innovation in respect of its retail formats, focusing in 2015 on the creation of a new family neighbourhood supermarket, La Plaza de DIA, and the upgrade of its larger DIA Maxi stores.
La Plaza de DIA is characterised by a strategic focus on fresh produce, managed by experts at selling meat, fish and cold cuts. La Plaza stores also offer a broad assortment of packaged foods, dominated by name brands, albeit with an excellent range of private-label products. Of the more than 7,500 SKUs found in a typical La Plaza store, 1,500 are fresh products and over 6,000 are fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products (4,000 of which name brands and the remaining 2,000, private label). The store design is dominated by greens and greys, punctuated by wood, colours and materials that evoke the warmth and intimacy of a traditional market. The lighting is designed to make the products stand out.
2015 marked the start of the process of refurbishing the DIA Maxi stores in Spain, placing greater emphasis on fresh produce. At the DIA Maxi stores the meat, cold cuts and fish counters are currently all manned. Now, shoppers can choose between pre-packaged trays in the self-service refrigerated aisles and shopping at counters where experts can orient them, make recommendations and tailor products to their taste.
The new La Plaza de DIA format, coupled with renewal of the DIA Maxi stores, consolidates DIA as a multi-format, multi-banner group, with a range of neighbourhood supermarket formats (DIA Market, La Plaza de DIA, El Árbol, Minipreço Market, Cada DIA and Máis Perto) and a dedicated health and personal care (HPC) chain, Clarel. At year-end 2105, these neighbourhood formats accounted for XX% of the group’s establishments. Its other formats include its larger-format suburban supermarkets, DIA Maxi (Minipreço in Portugal) and its cash & carry format, Max Descuento.
In an attempt to reach consumers not only in its bricks & mortar stores but also online, DIA created a company–DIA E-shopping–to support its online strategy. In November it began to display some of the non-food products sold through its flash sales platform–www.oportunidades.dia.com–in some of its physical stores and in December the Clarel online store went live nationwide in Spain. In parallel, it continued to develop DIA’s online store in Spain, which is currently operational in the region of Madrid and the cities of Malaga and Barcelona. Towards the end of the year it initiated online sales in China, as well as striking an agreement with Alibaba covering the sale of certain imported products on the latter’s T-Mall platform.
Quality at unbeatable prices
The DIA Group remains firmly committed to the provision of unbeatable value for money across all of its formats. To this end, it carries out painstaking price positioning work with the aim of leading the retail sector on price in all of its operating markets year after year.
To achieve this, it listens to and tracks its customers, engaging the services of international agency Nielsen to assist it, an exercise which every year provides it with a reliable snapshot of their needs and perception of the sales policy and initiatives executed across the various markets. In this manner it retains the ability to react quickly to changing consumer needs and adapt more precisely to their habits.
The surveys conducted this year revealed that DIA is the retailer with the best price image in Spain and Argentina, outperforming its closest rivals by 7 and 58 points, respectively at year-end. In Portugal, Brazil and China, meanwhile, DIA ranks third on perceived pricing, although according to the consumers polled, during the second half of the year the company managed to improve this perception by as many as nine points in the Chinese market and two points in Brazil.
High-quality private-label brands
In 2015, DIA continued to develop its private-label brands which cater to every customer’s individual needs. At year-end, the group’s private-label brand portfolio comprised the DIA brand, the company’s flagship brand; Delicious, its range of compellingly-priced gourmet food products, which was expanded to 140 SKUs in 2015; Bonté, the standard-bearer in personal care, which continued to add to its range in different categories; Baby Smile and Junior Smile, the babycare range; the Basic Cosmetics beauty products; and AS, DIA’s petcare brand.
Addressing special needs
The group’s effort to sell products for people with food intolerances, such as gluten-free foods, sets it apart. All of the group’s private-label products are labelled to facilitate identification of gluten-free options. In addition, the name brand range includes an assortment of products made especially for people with Celiac disease.
To help this segment, in 2015, it launched an online campaign in Spain dubbed #GlutenFreeMay: that month shoppers buying online received a direct 15% discount on gluten-free products; sales of these products rose by up to 30% on certain days, in proportion to the number of retweets and mentions of the campaign’s hashtag.
DIA ran a special campaign in 2015–#MayoSinGluten–to support consumers with Celiac disease and to raise awareness of their needs
In Argentina, the range of gluten-free products was selected by the company’s ‘experts’ with a close relative affected by this food intolerance. Consumers applauded the excellent trade-off between accessibility, price and quality (in Argentina gluten-free products are very expensive and hard to find).
In order to promote the overall gluten-free line, DIA Argentina took a stand at Expocelíaca, the event organised by the national celiac support association in July. DIA”s stand was visited by over 20,000 people keen to find out more about the full range of healthy products including frozen goods, dairy products, jams and condiments, among others.
DIA guarantees the quality and safety of the products it retails by means of an ISO 9001:2008 certified quality management system. In 2015, DIA once again passed its external audit, thereby renewing its certification and evidencing how well its quality management system is performing.
It did not record a single incident deriving from the breach of food safety regulations resulting in a fine or penalty in 2015.
Private-label product development is a complex process in which many players, both internal (sales, quality, packaging) and external (suppliers, design agencies, etc.) are involved. It is articulated around various sub-processes that require the exchange, development and validation of significant volumes of documentation and exhaustive monitoring of the defined communication flows.
To support this process, DIA has been working for years on implementation of an IT tool–called Auraportal–that covers all the tasks, documentation and reporting flows that comprise the development of a private label product, streamlining project management, monitoring and status enquiries.
Having initially installed and consolidated use of the quality module in Europe and South America, in 2014, the company developed the packaging model and implemented it at the European level; this module provides support for the various processes comprising the design and development of private-label product packaging and containers.
The performance of quality audits at its warehouses and stores (hygiene-sanitation, preservation of the cold chain, cleanliness) enables the DIA Group to identify and proactively address any circumstances that could affect its processes, thereby ensuring that its products are kept in optimal conditions right throughout the supply chain. In 2015, DIA conducted 2,162 quality audits in total group-wide.
Analysis of the data gathered as a result of those audits provides a clearer picture of the overall situation at the facilities and operations audited, enabling the definition of more effective action plans whose implementation implies more widespread improvements by encompassing and affecting several facilities/operations at once.
DIA complies stringently with applicable product labelling legislation. Thanks to this, it did not record a single incident related to the breach of this legislation resulting in a fine or penalty in 2015. The percentage of packaging incidents relative to the total number of analyses performed did not reach 0.8% in any country.
At present, DIA sells different products requiring specific labelling disclosures, including items with the Organic Farming seal and others featuring the Halal seal.