Opportunity Lost

Before I even start, I want to say that I love Woolworths – which will become evident, and relevant as my story unfolds. But I don’t want it to be forgotten. I’m merely on a bit of a marketing high-horse (which I probably don’t deserve to be on) and really want to have my say about something.

You see, it all started… well, I can’t really say when the love affair started. But sometime between having this cappuccino, the Woolworths rebrand and realising I can visit Woolies for under an hour and come out with bags full and pay less than R5 in parking, I became somewhat obsessed with everything they have on offer. Their cappuccino’s – hands down, are my favourite in Cape Town. Ok, so Woolworths Cafe doesn’t do a lot in terms of decor, but their flat whites’ make up for it. Cherry or baby plum tomatoes are the same price as Pick n Pay and last longer. And the milk, well, apparently its hormone free. Reason to change brands? Well not completely (although you’d think I had!) but I find myself swiping my card at Woolworths food more often than at Pick n Pay these days, even though I’m not scoring any Vitality points. The parking thing – well, that’s at the Waterfront and let’s keep in mind, I’m not a big shopper.

The truth is I find it so easy to shop there. For food, and for clothes. I can’t walk into Woolworths and not see something I adore. And that’s just the real life in-store version. Woolies online is leading the charge when it comes to the likes of social media, building a community and I have no doubt their e-store will be phenomenal too.

After all that, it goes without saying that I reckon I’m a bit of a brand ambassador. I realised this when I was walking to my car one morning… dressed head-to-toe in Woolworths. Even the sunnies on my head, and er… my socks had at some point sported a W tag. I eat lunch at least once a week at Woolworths Cafe in Longmarket street (Chop chop – best!) and buy my groceries 4 times a week from the convenient Green Point store. So when I announced (with my very own hashtag) that I was a #brandambassador I was… well, #justsaying. Except that Woolworths picked up on it and maybe they thought it was pretty cool. So cool in fact, they asked for my address as they wanted to send me something!

Yes, Woolworths, my favourite brand, was going to send ME something. My mind went wild. Maybe it was going to be a hamper of woolies chocolates, perhaps a cool RE t-shirt. Ah, some of that deee-vine Woolies handwash and handcream. Maybe makeup. Maybe… just maybe, they’d send me something from their sample cupboard that may have found its way into Country Road next season.

So, when I received my package in the post and opened it to discover Guinot face cream, I was just a little disappointed. No Woolworths black W stamp of approval? Not wanting to be ungrateful as I assumed that this face cream was the pricey stuff, I looked inside for little note to say With Love from W or something equally cool and thoughtful. But there was nothing. Nothing.

I was confused. A brand that does so well to listen to its community on facebook and twitter. To interact, to answer questions, to bring its brand to be front-of-mind for so many consumers. To see the opportunity, act on it… and then literally fail at it, I was shocked.

Understandably Woolworths, no doubt, received this product from a supplier as a freebie and they were just passing it on. And, needless to say, they had NO idea that the one of the other brands I’m incredibly loyal to is Environ (yep, the face cream) – but a note, Woolies, that would have made me make some noise for you.