Coop is one of Sweden’s largest grocery store chains and the only cooperatively owned retailer. A total of 3.4 million Swedes collectively own Coop through its MedMera membership program. Although it’s always been advantageous to be a Coop member, as society, trends and offerings change the company needed to update the program to become more flexible, personal and relevant to customers.

In order to provide the best possible membership program, Coop turned to Veryday to help identify what their customers really need and value – both rationally and emotionally. Understanding people’s behavior and the basic mechanisms of loyalty is key. Lowering prices and putting products on sale readily creates rational loyalty, but that loyalty is easily dissolved as cheaper options inevitably come along. Emotional loyalty can only be created when a company truly understands the complex emotions of its customers and meets their (sometimes latent) needs with relevant services.

During an intense project, our design researchers used a wide variety of methods to interview over a hundred Coop customers and staff from all around the country. A series of co-creation sessions, as well as in-depth interviews in people’s homes, on the phone and in-store, helped us understand the diverse needs that people have in relation to their local grocery store. Thanks to our long history of human-centered research, we utilized a methodology that enabled us to gain true insights into what people value when it comes to something fairly abstract like a retail membership.

When doing research, it’s critical not to assume that your respondents will think the same way you do, or answer the way you expect them to. Everyone acts and feels very differently, so as a designer or business representative you can’t let your own views influence you; you have to really listen to the consumers. For example, families with young children do not all need the same kind of support, but are often thought of as a homogenous group.

Malin Orebäck

Based on our research, we created five unique consumer profiles that took into account behavior and preferences. We described in depth the various characteristics, trigger points, needs and personality types of each profile. We saw how each one needs and appreciates very different things and that clearly, one solution does not fit all. The outcome became a portfolio of services tailored toward various needs that when combined, would attract the broad and diverse groups that Coop aims to serve.

In-depth insights, consumer profiles and a portfolio of services helped form Coop’s new membership program and continues to be an inspirational roadmap for development moving forward.

Recent independent tests of current membership programs on the market clearly show that Coop comes out on top, with the new MedMera as the best program for its members: