Co-op Finder Alpha Update

In my previous post I talked about the work we’re doing to improve our store and branch locator. We’ve continued to improve our new Co-op Finder Alpha and added a page for each store.

All the updates have come from:

  • user feedback from the form on the page
  • user research sessions
  • comments on the blog
  • messages on Twitter

So, if you gave us some feedback, thanks very much. You’ve helped to shape our service for colleagues, members and customers.


Here’s a couple of the design changes we made.

We improved the text input box and how we show the ‘use my location’ option. This was because our users were confused when we tested it out:

image 1

We have reduced the space taken up by the list and map tabs. It was pushing the most important information too far down the screen:


Local pages

Users asked us to show facilities and services for each store. We’ve added a link to more information that goes to a page about each store. These pages are essential for helping people find stores more easily on search sites. They give us a great opportunity to test new features about a store and its local community.

Information accuracy

Most of the feedback we received was about:

  • opening hours
  • the accuracy of where the pin appears on the map 
  • the need to quickly update information about stores that have closed or changed ownership

The good news is that we’ve improved the accuracy of the location coordinates from 17% to around 88%. That’s around 3,500 stores now with an accurate pin on the map.

There are lots more improvements in the pipeline and we’ll keep you updated here.

Our show and tell is every Wednesday, 10th Floor, 1 Angel Square in Manchester at 10.15-10.45. All colleagues and Member Council members are welcome.

Ben Rieveley
Product Manager, Location Services

Gemma Cameron joins CoopDigital

Hi, I’m Danielle and I’m delighted to welcome Gemma Cameron to the Co-op digital team. Gemma joins as a senior developer. She’s here to help Co-op to build great digital products and also to build our relationships with the tech community in Manchester and the north west.

Gemma runs Tech North West, a community of digital event organisers. She is also a member of Manchester Digital’s elected council, the independent body which represents the Mancunian tech sector and on the board of Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab).


So, it’s safe to say, she’s connected. She’s the best person to help Co-op’s digital team to reach out to existing tech groups and foster new communities as we seek to build our team in Manchester.

Find out more about Gemma in this post on We Are Tech North.

Danielle Haugedal-Wilson

The need for digital talent

This is my first blog post, so a quick introduction; I’m Ian, and I look after the digital team’s corporate relations and partnerships, ensuring we have the right skills, resources and people to deliver our plans.

It’s no secret that finding and securing the best digital talent is important for many organisations, including the Co-op.

Simply put, there isn’t enough to go around. Addressing this is the domain of people like Makers’ Academy, who think the solution is to find a way for more developers to enter the market. They offer a 12-week intensive course, taking people through a curriculum which they believe results in job-ready junior developers. More than 600 people have completed the course so far. That number is growing. They’ve now introduced remote learning too.

A few of us from CoopDigital (myself,
Danielle Haugedal-Wilson, Paul Furley and new recruit Gemma Cameron) visited them in East London. We spoke about the Co-op, the journey we’re on and the opportunities we have.

I’m delighted that the 170 year-old Co-op was so well received by this group of Shoreditch based digital natives. They were interested not only in our digital plans and our ways of working but also in the Co-op business model, our values and the advantages of membership. We talked to them about some of the incredibly interesting problems we have to solve, bringing benefits to our colleagues, members and communities.

One of the founding principles of the Co-op is helping our members to help themselves, so we also need to determine what this means for us in a digital age. We hope the chance to help Co-op solve those problems attracts some great people. It certainly seems to be working so far.

It seems it’s not just us who are excited by these prospects, also new digital professionals looking for a challenge can see the potential in the Co-op. So much so that most of those we spoke to at Makers’ Academy are planning a visit to Manchester this week.

See our vacancies in Co-op’s digital team here.

Ian Dunnett
Head of Strategic Growth and Partnerships

We’ve officially moved to

Since launching our brand in May, the web address we’ve promoted and printed on things has been For those of you paying close attention you’ll have noticed just redirected to – but not anymore.

All 11,647 pages and pdf links now use our new web address.


We need to acknowledge how our members refer to us and search for us. Most people call us the Co-op and search for us without the hyphen (83% of users). You can find out more in Nick’s post ‘Why we’ve moved to’.

No lost links

Changing your web address is very similar to moving house. To make sure people continue to visit, you need to tell them you’ve moved.

Google and Bing are the most important people to tell. If we didn’t do this correctly our site would be a lot harder to find.

We also made sure our old URL and our even older URL 301 redirected to our new web address.

So if you typed:


It would go to

Was it a success?

Making any change to your URL is risky and will normally see a drop in visitors coming to your site via search. We predicted our website would take up to two months to recover.

It’s still too early to tell how successful the change has been and we’ll continue to monitor, but a good indication is how quickly Google and Bing has recognised the change. This can take several weeks but only took a week.

More changes to come

We’re building a new version of which you can take a look at.

We’ve also started to change all our other website addresses to be subdomains of Subdomains let us add a word before our URL. For example our jobs site is now Any link we promote in TV, print and so on will start So for the jobs site we would promote it as

I’ll be explaining more about URL strategy soon but if you have any questions or comments let me know.

Peter Brumby
Digital Channels Manager

Our active members

In an earlier post, and at our AGM this year, we talked about our commitment to providing clear data to our members. As part of that commitment, we want to share with you some information on our membership base.

As a co-op we have a different way of doing business. We are owned by our members, millions of people who trade with us. Our members range from those who have been with us for many years to those who have only recently joined. Some members actively trade across all our businesses, some shop with just one and some members who have traded in the past no longer do so for one reason or another.

We believe a healthy co-op thrives on engaged members who trade with us and can become involved in the co-op democracy, as owners.

How many members are actively trading with the Co-op?

Active members

We describe active members as people who regularly trade with any of our core businesses within the last 12 months.

Our core businesses are:




General Insurance

Legal Services

In total, there are 3.4m active members.

We split active members into two groups – those who are currently trading and those who are not currently trading.

Active – currently trading

Active members who are currently trading will have shopped or swiped their card with the:

  • Food business within the last 3 months
  • Electrical business within the last 6 months
  • Funeralcare, Legal Services or General Insurance business within the last 12 months

There are 2.6m active members who are currently trading.

Active – not currently trading

Active members who are not currently trading will have shopped or swiped their card with the:

  • Food business within the last 4-12 months
  • Electrical business within the last 7-12 months

There are 0.8m active members who are not currently trading.

What about The Co-op Bank?

Members who have a product, service or account with the Co-operative Bank also shop with our Co-op.

There are 1.1m members with a banking product with activity in the last 12 months but who do not also trade with our core businesses.

Summarising the numbers

Total active members shopping with our core businesses – 3.4m

Active members currently trading – 2.6m

Active members not currently trading – 0.8m

Total members shopping with our core businesses and/or with the Co-op Bank in the last 12 months – 4.5m

Why this data is important

The data we hold on membership helps us to work out who is eligible to engage in our democratic processes. Democracy is at the heart of our Co-op as a member-owned society.

We want people to get involved and to vote at our annual general meeting (AGM). You can find out more about membership on the Co-op website.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

Kevin Humphries joins CoopDigital

Hi, I’m Catherine and I’ve been at CoopDigital since July, learning more about how our Co-op understands its data. As Mike said at the AGM earlier this year, our ambition is to be trusted with our members’ data, by only using their data for good. But, we need to earn that trust.

We’ll say more about our vision in future blog posts as our work develops. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Kevin Humphries to the team, who joins us to help shape our approach to data.

Kevin Humphries joins CoopDigital

Kevin was the first chief architect for HM Government where he established a central Government architecture function and has previously been a lead technologist in retail, financial services and utilities sectors. As part of his work here at the Co-op, Kevin will design our overall data architecture as well as setting the standards that we will use to manage our data.

His initial objectives are to:

  • Create a clear vision for how we manage our data across the Co-op
  • Outline a clear plan for how to achieve our vision

Kevin will start by speaking with colleagues across the business to understand where we are today, in terms of how our data is used and managed. We’ll keep you updated through this blog.

Catherine Brien
Data Science Director

Improving the experience for users

Hello. My name’s Rachel and I work in the analytics and optimisation team at CoopDigital. We’re passionate about turning insights into action in order to improve the experience for our users. Our work complements the qualitative insight provided by our user research team.

Picture of Rachel Rowe
Rachel Rowe

We continually evaluate the user journeys around the goals on our websites, such as registrations, downloads, shares and purchases. Then we simultaneously run experiments between two (or more) experiences to see which performs the best.

We’ve many experiments running at any one time across our family of businesses. For example, if you were purchasing a pre-paid funeral right now then your experience is likely to be subtly different to another user on the site at the very same time. Every user is unique and we strive to create an experience which reflects the context of the visit.

Our experiments have proven that content is more engaging on our Food website if it’s relevant to the time of day and location of the user. Visitors arrive at our Food site from across the UK and you may have seen that we made a nod to national pride during Euro 2016 by localising our homepage content.

If this sounds interesting then perhaps you’d like to join the team as we’re hiring right now. If you want to know more, you can find me on Twitter or send me an email.

Rachel Rowe