I’ve probably never posted so quickly in my life but I had an experience this week that was amazing. Amazingly bad.

I was shopping in Iceland, just to get some mince meat for Chilli con Carne (HelloFresh recipe). I decided to get some juice and of course, it was on a high shelf, in the back. Far in the back. Being vertically challenged, I politely asked a nearby staff member to assist me.  The response was:

“There’s a stool over there”

I was stunned. What ? He repeats, “There’s a stool over there”. (I look over and see a stool covered by boxes)

A stool like the one in store. Source: Google Images

He then said, “Do you want the stool ?”

I was flabbergasted. I immediately declined. I was not about to go climb on a stool for juice.

After politely declining (Yes, I had to bite my tongue), I walked away and I suppose he then realised that it was out of place and he came to get the juice for me. (Please note that he stuffed them into my hands, which resulted in them dropping onto the floor).

If this was Co-operative Food (next door), this couldn’t happen. Why ? Because both companies target different types of people.

Iceland. Source: Google Images

Iceland is all about price sensitive customers. It isn’t about customer service. Just low prices. It’s all that matters. And while not necessarily fresh, they do have really cheap food.

On the other hand, Co-operative Food is all about high quality food and that is reflected, in their customers and customer service.

This is a direct reflection of marketing theory. They understand how customers choose the places where they shop (consumer buying criteria) and as a result, they both meet the criteria as necessary (Jobber, 2010).

cooperative food
Co operative Food. Source: Google Images

Iceland’s basic layout with spaces crammed with goods and discount banners, speaks to customers focused on getting a lot for a little cost. Whereas, Co-operative Food is spacious and you can feel the quality in the air. Customer service is indicative of it. You can be sure that I won’t find a stool in the corner.

It was so clear to me how big the difference was. However, while it might be good to know your target customers and what it takes to meet their needs, it’s clear that Iceland forgot one thing. Thresholds. While I do shop at Iceland for low prices , I expect a certain level of customer service. That’s a threshold. At all other supermarkets, I am assured that a member of staff will willingly help me to reach things on a high shelf. So why not Iceland ? (Jobber, 2010).

Failure to do so could see a customer choosing the store for low prices but choosing not to repeat their shopping experience because of poor service.

Which is exactly why I’m contemplating not going back. This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with that shopping assistant and he definitely deters me from wanting to shop there. For a £1 difference in the price of mince meat, I could shop at Co-operative Food. Why shouldn’t I ??

Thanks for reading this week’s post. I really look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

If you like this post, feel free to give my other posts a read. Or if you want something different, you can check out my other blog here. Don’t forget to like and share!

Until next time x


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education