Sainsbury’s Case Study

Realising the value of the existing knowledge and experience of Sainsbury’s store ‘colleagues’ to transform the customer service and increase sales.

The context

In the highly competitive context of food retailing, the challenge for Sainsbury’s was to find new ways to improve the customer experience and increase sales per customer in each store visit and to do this through its biggest differentiator – people. The brief was to rapidly deliver a development experience for staff, in store, without using additional hours and on a tight budget.

What we did

We leveraged work that had already been done on Sainsbury’s brand, store formats and plans, customer research, mystery shopping data, management capability and ‘colleague’ experience. This information was turned into practical, easy to use materials to help inform and simple interactive experiences to bring about mindset shifts. ‘Colleagues’ were put in the driving seat as the whole approach started with a sharing of over 4000 stories of great service based on their experience and written in their words.

The approach was tailored to different store formats using a range of media to carry the business challenges and opportunities (to improve customer service and increasing basket size) in ways that ‘colleagues’ could combine with their own knowledge and easily apply in their day-to-day jobs.

We engaged over 130,000 employees, across 475 stores and supported 12,000 departmental managers to work with their people on shifting mindset to take advantage of more improvement opportunities.

Tools that transform

Learn abition
A cross between a gallery and an exhibition – ‘Learnibition’ creates a visually powerful, interactive, experience that stimulates new conversations and ideas for action.


Check yourself out
A digital tool to help employees develop a deeper understanding of their role in customer service and how to make the most of their talents and the support provided by the business to grow sales. (And to test themselves on their skills and experience).


The outcome

  • Rapid engagement of 130,000 store staff
  • Increased sales and improved customer service
  • 65,000 ‘new’ ideas shared
  • No additional store hours used