An amazing example of CX (Customer Experience) based on User Centered Design: In times of speed and automation, Jumbo fights loneliness by sticking to human factors
Jumbo Supermarket, a Dutch grocery chain with over 700 stores worldwide, has implemented a unique solution to combat loneliness among the elderly by creating a “Chatter Checkout” lane and a special “Coffee Corner” for customers to chat with the cashier.
This great initiative is part of the Dutch government’s “One Against Loneliness” campaign and was first introduced by Jumbo in the city of Vlijmen in summer 2019. The response was so positive that Jumbo decided to build 200 of these lanes nationwide.
The initiative is strongly supported by Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, CCO of Jumbo and member of the National Coalition Against Loneliness. She believes that “many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain, we are in the middle of society”
Jumbo Supermarket’s corporate philosophy is to be more than just a place where customers go to do their shopping, so they have launched local initiatives to signal loneliness among customers and start local initiatives.
According to the Netherlands Bureau of Statistics, 33% of adults over 75 in the Netherlands feel at least moderately lonely. The Kletskassa (its name in Dutch, meaning “slow checkout”) was created to address this problem, and anyone whose day could be improved by a quiet conversation is welcome to use it. The cashiers at these lanes take time for chit- chat and small talk, and the process may take a little longer than at the regular lanes.
A CX based customer journey
To complete the customer journey, In addition to the Chatter Checkout lanes, Jumbo stores also have a “chatter corner” where locals can meet for a cup of coffee and some small talk. Such chit-chat corners are managed by the “Alles voor Mekaar” Foundation, which depends entirely on local volunteers. This foundation has been in existence for a year and has been a great success.
The goal is to set up a meeting place where older people can get in touch with residents and volunteers from the aforementioned foundation. They bring together elderly people who are alone with volunteers who help with gardening and grocery shopping. The Jumbo in Vlijmen, which is happy to sponsor the All Together Coffee Corner, wants to make a constructive contribution to combating loneliness.
CX (Customer Experience) and UX perspective.
Of course, such an initiative has deep roots in UX, especially in User Centered Design (UCD) and one of its sub-disciplines called Customer Experience (or CX for short). It also has some touch points with Physical UX and UX for the elder.
In addition, it has huge implications for accessibility and integration UX.
Far-fetched? Not really. Please bear with me as I explain.
Loneliness is a part of our experiences as human beings. And this particular experience may result in severe psychological consequences. It is a subjective feeling of isolation and lack of social contact that anyone can experience, regardless of age or circumstances. It has been extensively researched that loneliness can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health, thus leading to a range of psychological consequences.
Loneliness most common consequences include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Decrease in self-steem and self-worth
All of these factors add up and gradually have a negative impact on cognitive functioning. There are countless studies (see bibliography below) that demonstrates that loneliness is associated with a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory and attention. People who are lonely may have a harder time forming new memories and paying attention to their surroundings. In addition, loneliness may also increase the risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders in older adults.
In summary, loneliness is a common human experience that can have serious psychological consequences.
As the subject of this article shows, Jumbo has used CX techniques to address loneliness and support people who may be experiencing it. They foster connections and create inclusive environments that promote social interaction. And it was as simple as to take an ordinary process and redefine it in an almost subversive way: Make checkout lanes are supposed to be fast.
Their CX design implies to make them slower.
Smart and thoughtful, don’t you think?
About Jumbo’s slow checkouts
To summarize: Jumbo’s initiative appears to be a unique and innovative solution to combat loneliness among the elderly, and it has been well received by customers. And more importantly, it shows that CX and User Centered Design are not limited to digital experiences.
Also, while the use of technology in the retail industry has increased, human interaction has decreased. In this sense, Jumbo’s CX design is a step in the opposite direction. In 2023, Jumbo stores across the Netherlands will have 200 “chatter checkouts” and coffee corners, providing a safe and inclusive space for older adults to socialize and interact with their community.
UX Bibliography and references
If you are interested in further academic and scientific articles on CX on the one hand and the effects of loneliness on psychophysiology on the other, I recommend the following papers and articles that were used in the preparation of this article.
Customer Experience (CX) and UCD papers:
- Anderson, D. L., & Bellenger, D. S. (2002). The impact of store environment on shopping behaviors: A critical review of the experimental literature. Journal of Retailing, 78(2), 193-215.
- Haugtvedt, C. E., & Herr, D. R. (1999). Retail store design and atmosphere: An assessment of their role in consumer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 44(2), 137-147.
- Hsu, H. K., & Lu, M. T. (2015). The impact of customer experience on consumer behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of Business Research, 68(3), 714-725.
- Dalton, D. R., & Haugtvedt, C. E. (2002). The effect of store atmosphere on shopping behavior: A critical review. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 12(2), 177-201.
- Paraskevas, A. M., & Chaniotakis, S. L. (2013). Customer experience management: A literature review. Journal of Services Marketing, 27(7), 464-477.
Effects of loneliness in user’s psychology
- Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2010). Perceived social isolation and cognition. Trends in cognitive sciences, 14(3), 183-189.
- Wilson, R. S., Krueger, K. R., Arnold, S. E., Schneider, J. A., Kelly, J. F., Barnes, L. L., … & Bennett, D. A. (2007). Loneliness and risk of Alzheimer disease. Archives of general psychiatry, 64(2), 234-240.
- Valtorta, N. K., & Kanaan, M. (2016). Loneliness and cognitive impairment in older adults: A systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 190, 689-696.
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