What we’ve learnt since coop.co.uk went live

Users come to coop.co.uk to find whatever Co-op thing they’re looking for. The site’s been live for almost 3 weeks now.

To help us design the new site, we looked at how customers and members were using the old one. For example, we ordered the content so the most popular things appear first. We’ve been looking carefully at the data to monitor traffic and see if any user journeys are broken and so far, everything’s looking good.

Thorough prep paid off

We changed the old site for a few reasons: the content management system was difficult for us to develop and improve; the performance was slow and some sections of the site weren’t responsive.

The old site had been up and running for 8 years and the team that was working on it wasn’t the same as the one that set it up. Over the years, documenting different parts of the site had got messy and complicated but we knew that and planned for the problems we thought we’d face.

Positive results from our biggest change

The biggest change we’ve made is improving the search function. We stopped it searching old content so that it didn’t return results that were out of date and for the first time searches can find food stores.

Since then, we’ve seen the number of searches increase by 28% (admittedly, this could be seen as a positive or negative thing) but the number of search refinements has dropped by 13%. That’s when a user’s first search didn’t return a result they were looking for so they search again using different terms. This means people are finding the results they want, quicker.

We’re still learning though

Five days after we launched we added a feedback box on the search results page. A recurring piece of feedback that we’ve had through it is that users are struggling to add points to their Membership card.

“I went shopping and forgot my Membership card. I’m just trying to add my points. ”

“I forgot to take my Membership card. I have my receipts, can I add my points.”

We’ve now created a ‘Forgotten card. Add your Co-op rewards’ page in response to those comments.

Making things better and quicker

To help make the site quicker and potentially save on server costs we’ve been making improvements to our codebase. We’re halfway through refactoring the backend which should more than double the server response time and add improved resilience under load.

Looking at the analytics

As part of the piece work, we also looked at our old urls. I blogged back in January 2016 about why we got rid of 20 websites to improve the quality of our content. We’ve got rid of lots more since then. We took down 400 pages of information on Co-op estates and we’ve put in lots of redirects from searches. The most notable one is when people search for our funeral homes we direct them to the new Funeralcare branch finder.

Despite the cull, there hasn’t been a massive drop in the number of page views. The blue line is the new site and the orange is the old site.

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 15.40.45

All this is just the latest chunk of work we’ve been doing – we know there’s still a long way to go. As always, we want to improve the site so if you have feedback, we’re keen to hear it.

Peter Brumby
Digital Channels Manager

7 thoughts on “What we’ve learnt since coop.co.uk went live

  1. londonhoggle April 11, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    “The biggest change we’ve made is improving the search function. We stopped it searching old content so that it didn’t return results that were out of date”

    Hi Peter,

    interesting read. Have to say the out and out joy has been the begining of developments in the secure area behind the £1 membership pay wall. Finnally some Manchester/National Level investment in digital assetts you actually need membership in order to access and benefit from. Forever and a Day but this is a massive positive step.

    Must raise a bit of a concern regarding the sentence I quote above though. As I said, at a National Level and as a Nationally owned member family of social enterprises this new regime at the co-op is bearing fruit. I am much less sure about at a local and regional level, for instance just how many attempts it got me and membership to flag the x and y co-ordinates of a food close to me as placing it in completely the wrong highstreet, in the middle of a different nonco-oped neighbourhood.

    Many reasonable quality regional and local materials PDFs whatever were dated 2009 and before, back before the gutting of regional teams back before the crisis. I do hope some of these remain accessible via search, as nothing has been generated to replace them. A Example I would cite was a PDF i discovered via old search, from SW Region around 2008 regarding lessons learned by that regional membership team. These are valuable orphaned materials, please don’t lose them


    • londonhoggle June 3, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      7 Working weeks and still _no_ response. Is this thread moderated???


  2. Tom Copeland April 13, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    on coop store finder when you put in a post code up comes the nearest coop stores which is great, however some of them belong to Scotmid and this is not highlighted when you click on them for details. Surely this needs corrected. I imagine the same will happen in England with thevarious independents

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Daniel May 31, 2017 / 10:28 pm

    You really need to train your front line staff on what they need to do to give customers the “special forgotten card receipt” which mentions the 14 day limit. The level of knowledge in your stores on thisis, without exception, is appalling.

    Most servers just print out a standard recepit, shove at me and then say “its the info at the bottom”, despite me asking for a forgotten card receipt. It’s not good enough. You really want me to do your staff training by carrying round a copy of the terms and conditions or the blog post?

    I guess you have mystery shoppers? Use them for this. Here’s a hint: Start in Harrogate, St Winifreds road store, or Leeds Road, or Knaresborough Chain Lane. None of therm have a bleedin’ clue. After the normal receipt is presented to me with the “its the info at the bottom” line and I point out thats its not a forgotten card receipt, they are unable to print a copy of the receipt with the required “14 day” info, Its a proper mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • londonhoggle June 3, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      Daniel its been a mess for years.

      The only way to solve this is to access the till yourself (apologise to staff member, but explain you own the business too and that their lack of training simply not good enough) and press the big clear ‘forgotten card’ button in the middle bottom of the poor staff members screen and give the poor diddums their till back.

      The truth is staff are not told what the membership card is: a Share Account linked Share Dividend Card with loyalty extras. How are customers to become members if staff members have no idea what their share holding in the co-op even is. Managers and Area Managers just see it as a job for a company:no idea they have a equitable share holding just like every over member, and that this should be represented on everyone’s till receipts, should they remember to remember to tell the assistant they have forgotten.

      Its a Complete Joke, but a big hole in staff training at true north refit stores as well as older legacy branches. Staff just do not know or are trained to understand the lengthy paper/metal tac process that the electromic EPOS system replaced. If they did know why the co-op co-operates with member capital on member spend in the way it theoretically does, there wouldn’t be this problem.


  4. Frustratedlondoner June 7, 2017 / 10:28 pm

    I have the same problem as Daniel describes above with the special receipt issue. Each time I say I’ve forgotten my membership card, staff just say it’s fine and give me a bog standard receipt. Never have I been given the correct ‘special receipt’ by the staff in my local store, despite clearly requesting it. It’s not limited to one member of staff either, it’s all of them. Really how can it be so difficult? Does the coop actually train their staff on this stuff? All the fancy website functions in the world can’t make a difference if the staff can’t print the correct receipt.


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