People power rules as Countdown creates new customer-facing jobs

13 July, 2016: Countdown is investing in 600 new roles across the country to provide customers with more face-to-face service, including help with food choices and product advice.

The move is aimed at boosting personalised service in-store by putting more people on the checkouts during peak shopping times and having more people on the store floor to ensure shelves are stocked and provide customers with product advice, from what produce is in season to what wine matches the meal they’re cooking.

Countdown’s General Manager Operations, Brett Ashley, says in the next year Countdown will invest in approximately 600 new roles in departments such as checkouts, produce, night-fill, deli and seafood, and general store support roles. Additionally, a further 200 team members will be given extended hours, also boosting the number of people on the store floor.

“While technological efficiencies such as self-checkouts and online shopping are welcomed by customers, many Kiwis still want good old-fashioned human interaction at the supermarket” says Mr Ashley.

“We’re shopping differently than we used to, with most people shopping with us two to three times a week so the supermarket is really becoming an extended pantry these days. Customers are increasingly recognising our great range and low prices every day, and now we’re improving the in-store experience by increasing our team numbers. It’s about ensuring we tailor the shopping experience to make things easy for the 2.7 million Kiwis who shop with us every week,” he says. 

The reinvestment will see a raft of changes in store operations across most of Countdown’s 184 stores, including:

  • More team on the floor between 4-7pm, the supermarket’s busiest time
  • More checkout operators
  • The introduction of dedicated produce trainers who will travel New Zealand training all in-store produce teams to best advise shoppers on product, seasonality and give advice on how to best store fresh produce
  • More people dedicated to keeping shelves stocked

Countdown is New Zealand’s second largest employer with a growing team that includes 6500 team members under 25, and 2700 over 55 years old, providing opportunities for Kiwis at any stage in their career.

Countdown also recently employed full-time specialised food and wine experts at its premium Ponsonby store. As former chefs and sommeliers, these experts are on hand to provide culinary advice and tips to customers in store. It’s a model Countdown is looking to roll out in other locations as appropriate.

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