‘You’re like the Amazon of meat’. Over the past year, we have received much thanks and many expressions of appreciation after meeting the increasing demand on supply to our butchers, but it was this comment that really struck a chord with me and made me pause to think about why.
Let me start with the caveat that I am not going to comment on any of the more ‘moral’ issues surrounding Amazon such as its payment of tax or employment practices – my focus is purely on the customer service that ours was compared to.
There can be no doubt that Amazon’s innovation and success became an example to many companies and sectors well before the pandemic. The ability to order and have a delivery at the door within days, if not hours, may sound simple now, but as little as 20 years ago, few people in the UK had even heard of the company.
However, it was after the identification of, and subsequent restrictions in the fight against Covid-19, that the value of Amazon’s instant ordering, real-time fulfilment and speedy delivery was truly valued by customers, old and new.
Amazon deliveries soon become one of the major symbols of the past year, allowing people to find what they needed and have it delivered to their door whilst keeping safe at home. The arrow that features in the company’s logo and on every parcel now needs no explanation, and has taken its place with the ‘golden arches’ of McDonalds, the ‘bitten fruit’ of Apple and ‘tick’ of Nike.
Whilst there is concern about the future of the high street, we forget that there was remote ordering and delivery before the internet became such a huge part of our lives – there were catalogues, groceries, milkmen and pizzas – but the evolution of technology has given us such choice, efficiency and speed that we tend to forget.
I think when people, such as the butcher I quoted at the beginning, refer to ‘Amazon’, it is shorthand for being able to find what they want and get it delivered quickly, so for a business such as ours, it is the ultimate compliment.
Whilst we have had to adapt our ways of working to the changes within our customer bases, we have devoted a great deal of time and energy into keeping our unparalleled range of meats. From the traditional beef, pork, lamb and poultry through to our game, deli, veal and exotics, we have done all we can to avoid reducing our selection and, with the aftermath of Brexit, this is still requiring a lot of care and attention.
Despite the challenges we have actually extended our range of sundries and ingredients, including glazes and sauces, and our counter packaging solutions, so I believe we can take great pride in our efforts to meet all our customer demands.
And just as Amazon is continually moving forward, becoming a powerful influence in entertainment, music and now even groceries, we are getting ready to launch a new range with our own label in the next few months.
Whilst Amazon makes the effort to reward its customers and seeks to enhance its value, next week, we will be launching our Customer Club which we intend to grow into a marketing resource for our butchers, free of charge.
So, in conclusion, the comparison to Amazon is something that I greatly appreciate and take pride in. Whilst no company can stay still, and we have seen how unpredictable the future can be, I believe providing what the customer needs, when they want it, will always remain the fundamental principal for the success of any business.