Guess what? It would seem that companies are starting to consider once again the idea that people like having a positive value experience when they go shopping – especially having the ability to ask questions of a member of staff when they’re shopping.

In the vanguard of this value experience ‘revolution’ we find the corporate colossus, Tesco. It would seem that Tesco has finally been forced to rethink its self-service checkout strategy and start hiring people again, with CEO Philip Clarke acknowledging that maybe they’d gone too far in cutting people costs.

We at Futurecurve believe passionately that value can only be delivered if the customer says it is. This means that company value propositions can only be created when informed by the customer and, surprise, surprise, retail customers like having a good experience when they are actually shopping – not just being dazzled by wonderful advertising and celebrity promotions. And now hard evidence is backing this up. A study by Wharton Business School in the US has found that every dollar spent on hiring customer-facing staff led to between $4 and $28 in new sales. Another study, from Starcom MediaVest, has found that shoppers engaging with a supermarket brand on social media are twice as likely to shop there. And yet another study has found that because shoppers are increasingly tailoring their choices on the web, they’re expecting to be treated like an individual in-store too; no longer susceptible to traditional, static promotional discounts and offers. They’re wanting to connect and communicate with their choice of brands in a variety of ways which means businesses are going to have to understand customers’ value motivations and how and when they are open to connecting with the brand.

In other words, it’s all about people and relationships, not just static promotional discounts and BOGOFs. Extraordinary, isn’t it? A positive customer value experience leads to increased spending and greater loyalty.

Understanding what the customer value experience truly is (and not just using buzz words like customer-centric), and marketing-with versus marketing-to customers, is shaking up the way we do business and the way we expect to do business. Having a value process is going to be critical to success from now on.