Yext for Retail Case Study

Central England Co-operative Uses Yext to Level-up its Digital Experience

Central England Co-operative works with Yext to provide official answers to thousands of digital questions, with almost 70% of queries receiving a rich Knowledge Graph result.

View of ailes and deli counter within a grocery store

Central England Co\-operative works with Yext to provide official answers to thousands of digital questions, with almost **70% of queries receiving a rich Knowledge Graph result.**

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of searches returned direct results powered by the brand's Knowledge Graph, helping customers quickly find the information they needed.

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of queries were for Product information, and customers were able to get specific results directly from the brand's website — without bouncing to Google.

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of queries were related to Customer Service, meaning the brand was able to efficiently deflect calls and cut costs.

Central England Co-operative is a convenience retailer that prides itself on being member-run and customer-focused. The brand's founders created the company back in 1840 to offer local economies of scale, and their original desire to benefit the community continues to inform and inspire every aspect of the business's operations.

On its mission to serve its customers as its first priority, Central England Co-operative identified its digital footprint, both on and off the company's website, as a key area in need of development. Despite its commitment to the community at large, the business had previously neither invested in e-commerce nor placed a significant emphasis on its digital experience. "Because we're not transactional online, as a brand we weren't necessarily realizing the benefits of taking control of our online real estate," said Rob Willis, Digital and Design Manager at Central England Co-operative.

"Yext helped us to understand that our customers were getting one experience in our stores, and an entirely different one online." With more and more customers seeking out information from online sources, Central England Co-operative realized the gap in their search strategy that needed to be addressed. "Customers simply weren't able to find the information they needed across our web properties. Yext was the solution for that," said Willis.

Central England Co-operative leveraged the Yext Search Experience Cloud to level-up its digital experience and manage information online. "There was no comparison with the other vendors we looked at. We needed a comprehensive platform to manage all of our information, and the Yext products and expertise was just on a different level. It's become a fundamental pillar of our digital strategy," continued Willis.

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Yext has ticked all the boxes for us when it comes to our digital and search strategy. To the point where we're constantly thinking 'Where can we take this?', 'What else could we be doing?', 'What else does Yext offer that we aren't fully optimizing yet?'

 

 

Providing answers to the community during COVID-19

In June 2020, the brand began using Yext's revolutionary new site search product, Answers. "It was a lightbulb moment really. We had very little visibility into what our customers were searching for, so when we heard about Answers we jumped at the chance to get more insights into what our customers really want" said Willis. The brand was quickly able to uncover the fact that product questions account for about 75% of all queries passed through the search bar, and got a previously-unknown view of what their customers were searching for most often. This meant that the team was armed with the data they needed to drive conversions with content creation and product updates.

"It is so much more than just a search bar — it was the first time we could really get a sense of anything from a customer perspective like search queries or website clicks." With location pages built by Yext, the brand could also deliver specific location-based calls-to-action in their search results, meaning that they had new metrics on the information that users were engaging with, but critically that customers were able to find what they needed at the touch of a button. "We were absolutely blown away by how much engagement we were getting with the Answers search bar, almost as soon as it was deployed on the website" Willis continued.

With the impact that COVID-19 had on grocery and convenience stores at the height of the first wave, the brand needed a solution which would allow it to answer the thousands of questions it was receiving per month. Mike Ankers, Digital Support and Data Management Lead at Central England Co-operative said "Answers has given us an amazing window into what our members and customers need from us, and that was something that we would never be able to do through Google Analytics or other traditional methods. It is a hugely powerful, intelligent, and adaptable platform that has given our website and online presence a massive boost."

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The possibilities blow my mind when it comes to Yext. It streamlines everything we do and makes everything so much easier on our end. I can't see anything that comes close to it on the market.

 

 

The Central England Co-operative team has also seen huge benefits in migrating its information to the Yext Knowledge Graph, which underpins the Answers experience. "The Knowledge Graph structures all of the information that we have, everywhere our customers need it," explained Imamul Hussein, UX Researcher and Technical SEO at Central England Co-operative. "We know that when we add information to Yext, it will be correctly marked up with schema and be available to our customers across our digital endpoints. The way I see it, Yext is becoming our source of truth for all data.". Ankers added "The Knowledge Graph is absolutely key to everything we do. It's the single source of truth for every element of our digital strategy."

Forward thinking fueled by Answers

As the brand looks to the future, it plans to expand its offering online and provide regional trials for an e-commerce solution. "We have used Yext to populate our entire product list, and in some specific trial regions across the UK consumers are now able to order items online. For those that are not in the trial regions, we have been able to capture their data and register their interest for when we expand the program. Without Yext we would not have been able to do any of it." Ankers went on to add that "We can specifically optimize Yext so that features only appear on pages within the trial areas. It has been phenomenally helpful to look at the traffic we're currently getting to inform the future of the trial."

Insights from Answers is helping the Central England Co-operative team shape their digital strategy. "If we didn't have Answers, I don't know what the solution would have been for us. It gives us the insight to inform the direction of the business, and helps us to always consider the most important thing, which is what our customers really want from us online." Ankers continued "I see Yext as so much more than a piece of software; they are a strategic partner for us, and I've never experienced the level of commitment and support from any other supplier."

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