Woolworths wants to hear your feedback on how they can improve

It’s been a hard year for one of Australia’s biggest supermarkets – and Woolworths has just posted a half loss

It’s been a hard year for one of Australia’s biggest supermarkets – and Woolworths has just posted a half loss of $972.7 million. Now they want to do everything they can to win back customers, and are taking a grass roots approach.

According to Woolworths’ new CEO Brad Banducci, he told the Financial Review they promised to cut prices further and shrink checkout queues and it all starts with accountability.

“We want to take the business back to its best levels and recapture innovation and customer focus right across the business”, he said.

Woolworths is cutting costs by at least $500 million and investing more than $600 million into reducing grocery prices and improving service in stores in a bid to regain lost market share from Coles and Aldi.

Mr Banducci admitted that execution had suffered because Woolworths had tried to do too much, too soon and needed to get back to basics.

He said he wanted to reinvigorate supermarkets by further reducing everyday shelf prices rather than relying on promos.

Also, he said he wants to improve service and make stores easier to shop, with new formats and simpler ranges.

He admitted “price is not the only thing to get customers to put us first. A bit of heart and a bit of a smile never went astray.”

Mr Banducci told Fairfax the business had to get back to basics and said head office staff needed to get out onto the shop floor to see for themselves what wasn’t working for customers.

“The action in our business happens in the stores and the team in the office needs to understand that,” Mr Banducci said.

“We don’t learn things in the office”.

If you could tell Woolworths one thing, what would it be? How can they improve? We will send responses to Woolies on behalf of the over 60s of Australia.

  1. Stock what people want to buy not just what you want to sell. Forget all the Woolies brand stuff, bring back things like Sarsparilla, Greens Gravy, more Australian made products, Dick Smith products and the list goes on

    • Couldn’t agree more. That’s always my response when replying to articles about Woolworths. Couldn’t be bothered saying it yet again because they never listen.

      • Christine McAlpine  

        I have filled in three questionnaires from Woolworths and have noticed not one change I suggested. Firstly, bring back the Qantas FF points rewards system. The current system forcing you into buying their home brand products is just silly. Also, if you have six check outs then have them manned. My last visit to the local Woolworths there was one checkout staffed and every single self serve checkout was being used. Stock Australian products. I tried to buy a tin of Australian pineapple and found only Indonesian, Philippines and Thailand products were stocked at the Highett Woolworths. Coles have the Golden Circle Australian brand. They also have a fresh fruit and vegetable section twice as big as Woolworths, their staff are professional and helpful and I don’t have to buy specific products to get my Fly Buys points. Goodbye Woolworths. I have been a loyal Woolworths customer for twenty years or more but you have not listened to your customers and now you are paying the price.

        • Robyn  

          Totally agree and Coles fresh fruit and veg lasts twice as long compared to Woolworths , heads up they are no longer the fresh food people

        • Donna Thornton  

          I refuse to buy halal certified products, why dont you have either a dedicated aisle for halal or non halal to make shopping easier, takes so much time checking my non hala list when shopping.

          • Brett  

            Well said Donna 👍

    • I know, things that I’ve been buying for years have slowly disappeared from their shelves so I stopped buying from them and only go in if needed. Living in the country as well we don’t get a lot of options and they hold us to ransom, buy what we’ve got and pay our prices or go without is their attitude

    • Jacqui Burgess  

      So over the interesting and tasty Australian boutique brands / Australian products being replaced by Woolies own products and/or imported foods ….ingredients of dubious origin!! Please support our farmers and producers. I absolutely refuse on principle to buy any Woolies Select goods – fresh or processed.

    • Yes I agree, I had to go to IGA to get my Palms brand Chutney, my butter and juice I like. So I just started shopping at Aldi as they are next door to IGA and it was easier. And the Jamie Oliver brands really annoy me, what happened to good old fashioned cooking without all the ingredients you can’t pronounce let alone afford?

    • Me too Lyn. We have only supermarkets in our town that sell fresh produce and the quality is dreadful.

    • Maria bennett  

      I agree with Lyn
      Our Narrabeen store is like a corner store they have cut out a lot of well known brands you can’t even get citric acid anymore
      fruit and veggies are of second rate compared with the bigger stores our area has increased immensely with units and the store does a great turn over its always full of customers !
      Please restock our woollies with name brands not just homebrands and more variety.

    • I hate the way they fold fat under the meat so you can’t see it. I once bought gravy beef in a tray and when trimming it noticed there there seemed to be a lot of fat. I weighed the trimmed fat and it was 20% of the total weight. I have never bought it since.

    • That is one of the many things that I won’t buy from them anymore, it’s disgusting the way they treat their customers

    • Hilary Adlam  

      I agree
      Give farmers a fair price for their products

    • Janine wallace  

      Agree and support our farmers better, pay a bit more buy Australian, get rid of so many select brands with overseas rubbish in them….we are not fools. And this reward card prying into our business seeing what we buy….you took so much away I can’t get what I really want anyway…..

    • Hilary Adlam  

      Give farmers a fair price for their products
      Stick to Australian products and give list of contents of the food. Lower prices. Stop attracting children so they can collect labels, cards etc It causes stress to parents. Promote health not junk food on special.

    • Bev ford  

      I agree. You have cut out to many brands and just have no name and your brands. In the jam section for example hardly any choice other than yours. Not happy. You are forcing customers to go else where. I’ll be shopping at IGA until there is a big change. Hopefully you’ll listen but probably not

    • Roger Wilson  

      Agreed lyn. Head office doesn’t know what is popular in individual stores but they drop the product anyway. We are Woolworths only customers, but we find that we have to go around the opposition to get what we want. One day we might stop there. I would like to give a plug to Woolies in Eli Waters and in particular Sandra Sokol. They all do their best in sometimes trying circumstances.

    • Cindy Drew  

      Train your staff in customer service as you used to. I started my first paid job as a schoolgirl with Woolworths and we were not allowed on the floor until we could pack properly, add and subtract properly and were prepared to do anything required to ensure a happy customer. My first manager, Mr Erbie (not sure how that was spelt) told us all that we only had a job as long as the customers kept coming through the door, once they stopped, we didn’t have a job. There were no line-ups at checkouts until all checkouts were opened. As Mr Erbie used to say, customers do not want to spend your entire shift waiting to be served. Another manager at our local store in recent years (Ian ) was absolutely brilliant in listening to customers – Woolies moved him on to open a new store and our local store has gone back to being one of the worst. STOP CUTTING LINES AND PUTTING IN YOUR OWN BRANDS!!!
      We are an ageing population and the constant rearrangement of where products are put really annoys and confuses people. End displays and marketing stand in aisles clutter the store and make it harder to navigate aisles in busy periods. OPEN THE SECOND ENTRY POINT in the Port Augusta store – it is the one closest to the disabled parking spots in the main carpark!!!!!!!

    • Nonofurbusiness  

      How about get rid of all the Halal B.S and you might just win all your loyal customers back, instead of trying to please all the dirty Muslims in this country.

      • Nonofurbusiness  

        This is the real reason why no one shops at Woolworths anymore. So many people have boycotted Woolworths now, and I think it’s great. Suffer Woolworths and suck it up.

    • Charles Polidano  

      Spot on Lyn and get rid of these stupid WOOLIES dollars that you can only get when you buy junk food i spend minimum $150 a day at woolies as i have a business and since December i have got $9.80 in woolies $$$ get rid of them give me Qantas points anytime

    • Carol  

      I agree it is so hard to get Australian products and i refuse to buy your select products. pay the farmers a decent price for their produce.

  2. How often is this mob going to ask what customers want and then completely ignore the responses?

    • Robert Jeffery  

      Yeh like selling (fresh fruit) that rots before it’s ripe because it’s been frozen (nectarines, peaches,etc ) I’ll buy elswhere from now on

  3. Man the bloody checkouts every time i go there only self serve is open and i REFUSE to use them as you are doing workers out of lobs.

    • Self serve is a nightmare for elderly customers. Stop focussing on your dollars and think of people losing checkout jobs and making remaining staff work extra hours to cover for all the ones who lost their jobs.They are exhausted and cannot give of their best when stressed like this.

    • I have three requests, (1) stop the American imports of Oranges and Orange Juice,, our Farmers in the NSW Riverina are having to let their citrus crops rot when Woolworth’s the so called “Fresh Food People” could be buying locally. (2) Allocate a Checkout for Home Delivery only, this is a wonderful service, but it is so frustrating to stand in line behind a Home Delivery transaction when there are not enough checkouts open as it is. (3) Talk and listen to your staff they know that customers are NOT happy with Woolworths. Your staff do a wonderful job dealing with the public which is not easy..

    • If you are self serving don’t you think customers should get some kind of a discount? we are saving wages and holiday pay…

    • Plus people steal from the self service and they find it very easy to do. If they stopped that they could then pay the farmers more

    • I love self serve, do not ever take it away please. I like not having to deal with cashiers who say, how are you and when I reply, well thank you, how are you, they have looked off into space and give no reply. I also like getting my avocados and peaches home in useable condition, because I have enough sense to put them on the top of the bag, not under the box of laundry powder.

    • Must agree hate going to the supermarket after a fay at work and then have to use self service Go back to providing people to serve customers .

    • I detest those mongrel things, I will not use them,…. Given that the latest Woolworths CEO has departed with bonuses and money in the millions, how many checkout operators would that proved…

      CEO’s seem to be paid obscene suns of money, only to run the companies right down.. I use Gowings as a good example, they hired a hip CEO, the company was not broken, they changed the company focus, alienated their loyal older customer base, Instead of Gone To Gowings, it ended up being Gowings Gone… The company went belly up…

    • I won’t use them either and one of our Woolies NEVER has any checkouts open. I go through the enquiry desk.

    • You need to get rid of all these bonus crab and give us good specials on every day products that families buy each week and I hate the buy 2 products for x amount of $ its not a saving because u only want to buy 1

    • I will not use self serve, I will not buy 2 for 1 … I would rather go to another store .. Please stock less of home brands and give us back Australian brands ..ie Golden Circle ?

    • Janette McNeill I agree, at least half of their customers either live alone or as a couple so multible buys do not appeal and are therefor not on special.

    • Give us good & substantial rewards (i.e. discounts) for spending money in your supermarket. The more we spend, the bigger discount we get. Your current rewards system is next to useless.

    • Agree we pay enough don’t need to serve ourselves as well if you cant look after your customers we will desert you

    • Yes man the checkouts I am sick of struggling on a small counter top with a load of groceries and still have to call someone for something Bring Back The Check Out People

    • Well said, Loretta! Instead of 2 or 3 people there to show you how to use self serve stations, why not just serve us? I always end up with something going wrong then I have to stand and wait for someone to come and help anyway.

    • Jill Jackson  

      No self serve checkouts!!!! Cheaper good quality fruit and veg

    • Britty Babs You must always get operable check outs. Mine are out of paper, out of change, out of bags or something else that stops them in their tracks. If they actually worked the way they are supposed to, and you only had a couple of items, they would be quicker than waiting in a queue.

    • Janet Hughes We were in a store in SA on Thursday, and there were big cleared areas. We asked the girl on checkout what was going on, and she told us they were sacking staff and installing self serve check-outs. I guess we won’t be going there again. 🙁

    • Denise Kapernick  

      1: Get rid of self-serve and put more checkout operators on! I refuse to use the self-serve and am sick of waiting in line for the only checkout that is opened.

      2: Pay our farmers a decent price for their products.

      3: Oh, and get rid of halal too.

    • Some IGA stores have pension discount day. I think its 5% off your total bill. Maybe woolies could bring this in too.

      • sue greer  

        A 10% pension day woolies always had

      • maree codrington  

        Get rid of your rewards program & start doing flybuys.

    • Incidentally I wonder what the CEO of Woolworths gets paid. I mean Aussie Post CEO I think gets $M4.5 doesn’t he?? It would be interesting to find out..

    • Tess Eakins, my IGA has ‘pensioner discount’ every day and I also get points on my rewards card. It soon adds up to a useful $20 or more and I use it for something ‘special’. Last time was duck!

    • get rid of halal products or mark them on front of article so we can see what we are buying more check outs also

  4. cut the greed, we the shopper notice your continued price increases EVERY time we go in store, PS i no longer go in store, ever. Finished with my last visit when i noticed, fresh cooked rolls, package donuts and meat going through the roof. I now support Aldi.

  5. bring back the old QFFP scheme – that would bring me back and some stores really do need updating, eg Woolworths Warwick WA. And stop so many home brands please and make prices cheaper on the named brands.

    • I agree about the QFFP scheme. I like the ‘select’ items though as they are good quality and sometimes they are all I can find that is not halal certified. ps Anyone thinking of calling me names because of what I choose to buy don’t bother. I’ve heard them all before and I don’t respond.

    • Jill Medew oh, people do get upset don’t they? But you aren’t alone, i’ve been attacked too.

    • give us an isle that has non halal. i refuse to buy it. i’ve been called many names but i wont do halal

    • Irene Keats and many others feel the same. people who sink to name calling aren’t worth considering.

    • Jill Medew Actually the Iselect swiss cheeses slices are lovely. Have bought them twice now but I know what you mean. I don’t want vietnamese or Asian.

    • A Drummy  

      I too would like QFFP back . The new rewards program is not the answer. Romeo gives you cash credits with every purchase not just ones the store selects, and Coles rewards you with FFP with you can turn into cash.

    • Use your Qantas Cash card as you will get 1 QFF point for every $2.00 you spend. You can also pay for all of your utility bills online with it and will get QFF points for those also.

      • Janine  

        Do you have to shop online to use the Qantas card with Woolworths groceries or can you swipe or tap it at the supermarket?

    • Patty Panatou i prefer my american express and visa or master card. amex gives me 1 point per $1, the others give me 1/2 point per dollar but my husband gets those points while i only got them from woolies QFFP

    • Janine  

      I agree. Bring back my chance to get Qantas points as before then I’ll ship at Woolies again. Gone back to Coles cause at least I get Flyby Points there

  6. Have done 5 Woolies on line surveys which have resulted in a total of zero response from them.If they hope to increase their profit by selling hot cross buns from January to April they are mistaken

  7. Stop taking away the products that I buy and replacing everything with the select brand. Just give me the best price on single buys, instead of multiple buys, we dont all have the space to keep it or 10 people living in the house, there is a lot more to say but will keep it short this time.

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