UK’s grocery and convenience store works with Yext to provide official answers when customers need them most, and lays the groundwork for future online sales

Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the Search Experience Cloud company and Central England Co-op have announced the results of their collaboration, helping deliver online answers to thousands of customer questions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledging the need to strengthen its online presence during lockdown, Central England Co-op turned to Yext’s Search Experience Cloud technologies – including Answers, Pages and Listings – to better understand and deliver online information to their customers.

Through Yext Answers, the Co-operative was able to quickly gain a previously-unknown view of what their customers were searching for most often, using this information  to answer customer questions in an efficient manner. As a result, 69% of searches returned answers powered by Central England Co-operative’s knowledge graph, rather than a blue link, helping customers find what they need quickly, and providing a direct answer to their question.

With product queries accounting for 75% of all searches, Central England Co-operative customers were able to get a direct and specific result about the product they were looking for. This meant that consumers didn’t bounce back to Google or other sources of information; they were served exactly what they needed on the brand’s website.

What’s more, as customer service queries make up approximately 12.5% of its queries, the brand is now able to answer customer questions in an efficient manner, saving time and cost on call centres or local store phone calls.

Jon Buss, Managing Director, EMEA at Yext adds, “Having a true understanding of what your customers are asking about your brand online is crucial. With lockdown presenting significant challenges for the retail sector, retailers – even those that don’t sell goods online – need to understand that their digital presence is just as important as physical stores for delivering excellent customer experiences and answering any questions they may have.

Buss continues, “Understanding customer search patterns and insight is crucial to creating a positive digital experience. As Central England Co-op looks to expand its product delivery service, this type of insight is exactly what they need, whether it’s to help provide critical insights for business decisions or correctly update customers and answer their questions. Yext is delighted with the results so far and is excited to continue supporting Central England Co-op in providing its consumers with an online experience that delights them.”

With location pages built by Yext the Co-op were also able to deliver specific location-based calls-to-action within search results, meaning that they have new metrics on the information that users engage with, but critically, customers are able to find what they need to know at the touch of a button, particularly during a pandemic, when support is needed the most.

Rob Willis, Digital and Design Manager at Central England Co-operative said, “We realised 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. It was the first time we could really get a sense of anything from a customer perspective like search queries or website clicks.”

“Because we’re not transactional online, as a brand, we weren’t realising the benefits of taking control of our online estate,” Willis continues. “We required a comprehensive platform to manage all of our information and Yext’s products and expertise were critical. As we look to the future, we plan to expand our offering online and provide regional trials to begin selling products online. This would only be possible with Yext, and its technology has become a fundamental pillar of our digital strategy.”

Data from the statistics included cover June 25 – October 19 2020.

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