The Brief


CGA was retained by Coca Cola European Partners (CCEP) after a rigorous bidding process to map the customer journeys of its UK convenience store customers. These outlets do not buy product directly from Coca-Cola but from a network of large cash-and-carry outlets. They represent a critical route to consumers for the company.

The brief was to get a better understanding of CCEP’s customer journeys, their pain points, their perceptions of how CCEP treats them, and, then, to make recommendations about how to fill the gaps and build value.

Of particular interest was what value was being added by sales representatives when they visited stores and otherwise interacted with store owners. CCEP allocates sales resources based on the value of the store. For its bigger customers, on which this project focused, CCEP sends representatives to visit monthly.


Our Approach

Insight & Implementation

Coca-Cola has several critical B2B routes to market, including petrol stations, restaurants, nightclubs, large and small grocery stores, and convenience stores. This case study deals with the work we did in the convenience store market.

CGA’s Heartbeat® methodology identified gaps in CCEP’s knowledge about its convenience store outlets. Heartbeat® is CGA’s proprietary journey-mapping solution, proven by global brands, which brings the voice of customers to life, helping show existing pain points in real-time and identifying where proactive intervention and change will offer the greatest value.

These Mom and Pop, open-all-hours stores tend to be owner-operated and independent businesses. In the UK there are more than 40,000 of these outlets carrying Coca-Cola products on their shelves.


CGA mapped how CCEP colleagues saw the customer process, and the results of this internal exercise were compared with those that came out of the Heartbeat® customer journey mapping research conducted with store owners.

There were significant differences between the two sets of findings. The company saw the process as far more complicated than its customers did, and convenience store owners saw signs of arrogance in the way CCEP treated them.

Extensive interviews with a representative sample of store owners highlighted:

  • how important it was to have Coca-Cola’s products on their shelves. “If I don’t have Coca-Cola on my shelves, my customers will think I’m going out of business. I can’t afford not to have Coca-Cola on the shelves,” one said;
  • however, whilst visiting stores, CCEP representatives were seen to be spending a disproportionate amount of time auditing whether stores were meeting their contractual obligations rather than helping owners improve their businesses. Customers did not feel valued, and felt that the reps were there for CCEP benefit and not for theirs; and
  • there was room for improvement in CCEP’s store classification system, meaning its resources were not being allocated as effectively as they should have been.


CGA identified 30 drivers of satisfaction and five experience principles against which CCEP can measure improvements in customer experiences.

CCEP can use these to improve short-term commercial outcomes and develop long-term relationships with its customers. CGA presented recommendations to CCEP about successes, which the company should continue to build on, areas of inconsistency, which required fixing, and areas of pain and frustration, which needed to be prioritised.

The experience principles we developed centred around getting it right where it mattered, showing customers they were valued, keeping promises consistently, getting to know customers and their issues better, and using this knowledge to identify relevant range, promotional materials, POS, display and equipment opportunities that will benefit both them and consumers.


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