TK Maxx Celebrates the Friction in Its Customer Experience


A few months ago I wrote an article called: Do You Really Want To Create A Frictionless Customer Experience?, where I questioned the wisdom behind creating a frictionless experience.

My central point in the article was that aiming to create a completely friction-free experience could undermine a brand’s ability to create meaning amongst its customers as well as limit its ability to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Therefore, I was delighted to see a recent advert from TK Maxx, a UK & European discount retail chain featuring brand-name apparel, shoes, accessories and housewares, celebrating the ‘friction’ in their customer experience.

Check out their advert “Why would anyone shop at TK Maxx?”

The advert, narrated by actor Bill Nighy and part of their ‘Ridiculous possibilities’ campaign, starts with a series of characters at a dinner party who go on to explain why they shop at TK Maxx.

Some of the key lines from the advert include:


“Sure, it might feel a little haphazard in there but where else would you stumble on a designer dress while looking for a frying pan?”

“Let’s be honest, it’s not like one of those swanky shops with complimentary lattes. But who cares.”

“These are just the small prices you pay, to pay the small prices you pay for the big labels in TK Maxx. Got it? Good.”

“Is it unpredictable? Maybe.”

“Is it boring? Never.”

“And, once you get it. You get it.”

“So, why shop there? Because it is ridiculous what you can get at TK Maxx.”


If you have ever shopped at a TK Maxx store then you will know that it is a bit like shopping at a ‘jumble sale’ in the UK or a ‘rummage sale’ in the US.

That may not be your thing.

But it is working for them and their customers. According to the most recent annual report of their parent company (TJX), TK Maxx generated a rise in revenues in FY17 to $4.36 billion.

In addition, they have grown their retail footprint across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands by nearly 20% over the last 24 months to 503 stores and have plans to add another 49 stores this year.

Despite all of the talk about creating ever more frictionless experiences, TK Maxx understands that their ‘friction’ is an essential part of their appeal and is using it both to create value for them and their customers and to help them differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Other companies and brands would do well to learn from TK Maxx’s example and consider how the right type of friction could add value to their own customer experience.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Adrian Swinscoe – View the original post

Published On: 7th Aug 2017 - Last modified: 26th Feb 2019
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