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Q&A with Ray Kelly, Marketing Director, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 27 October 2015
Updated: 10 February 2016
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WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR GROCERY RETAILERS IN 2016?

I think that continually staying very close to shoppers has never been more important. As the economy starts to move from recovery into growth, shopper behaviour and attitudes will start to shift.  Staying close to this change will be key.

Not only are behaviours changing but how consumers are interacting with brands are also changing. As digital becomes a more integral part of everyday life, more and more your shoppers will tell your marketing message for you (you are less in control of the message!)…be it good or bad. The implication here is that retailers need to be aware of this and strive for brilliance across the full omni channel experience.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BRAND OWNERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS CHANGE?

First and foremost be very clear on what your brand stands for and excels at. Do not try and be all things to all men, because at best you will end up as average. Know clearly who your customer is (and isn’t) and ensure your brand delivers brilliantly for them. Consumers want great experience not just products. Brands and retailers need to ensure that this experience is engaging across all channels.

HOW WELL IS THE RETAIL SECTOR IN IRELAND COPING WITH AND CAPITALISING ON DIGITAL MEDIA AND CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR? 

The retail sector is very active in the digital space, but in reality is still finding its feet as to what works and what doesn’t work.  Simply “advertising” in the digital space as they would in traditional media and expecting a big result is not enough. Consumers on digital are very savvy, and can skip/ignore/get around “traditional” advertising on digital. In effect, a lot of it is possibly wasteful.

Understanding how shoppers are actually using digital channels is key. Is it for research? Comparisons? What to do with the product etc. Only then can retailers drive effective marketing and provide details or experiences that their shoppers actually want.

WHAT ROLE DO FRONTLINE RETAIL STAFF PLAY IN THE NEW RETAIL EXPERIENCE FOR CUSTOMERS? 

Shoppers want great experiences with whatever product or service they are buying. Digital simple enhances or makes this easier or more convenient. The store experience is a crucially important in making this experience brilliant. Important that it works seamlessly with the digital experience and not in competition to it. Retailers that get this and execute it seamlessly are the ones that will win. Front line staff directed in the right way will bring this experience to life brilliantly. Less about selling products and more about selling experiences.

HAVE YOU SEEN MUCH CHANGE IN THE BUYING BEHAVIOUR OF SAY, MILLENIALS, COMPARED WITH THE GENERATION ABOVE, OR TWO ABOVE? 

For millenials most things start with digital.  They are digital natives so they don’t go to digital channels. Digital is just part of what they are and do. Understanding this and engaging them with the right content and digital experience is key. The ”older” generation tend to go to digital for something specific. Be it on-line delivery, instructions etc.

WHAT’S WORKING AND WHAT’S NOT WORKING FOR YOU IN TERMS OF SOCIAL CHANNELS? 

What’s working really well for SuperValu is the sharing of recipes and food inspiration by shoppers to other shoppers primarily via our web site, Twitter and Facebook. This is almost self-generating now and is a great example of shoppers buying into our brand and sharing this with others. Where can we do better? Continuing to further push our current activity and making sure our content is what our shoppers want and is best in class.

HOW ARE SUPERVALU PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES IN MARKETING? 

I think SuperValu has the right mix for now on the traditional and digital mix of marketing. Our focus is and will continue to give the best Omni channel experience to our shoppers. Essentially ensuring that the dots are joining up between traditional media, digital/social channels and importantly the experience in store. We are pursuing a lot of exciting areas in personalisation through the use of our loyalty card. This enables us to get better at personalised comms and offers to our shoppers.  Again, engaging them in the right way. The ultimate utopia is getting the elusive “one view” of the shopper, and the increasing role of digital in the mix helps to paint some of this bigger picture. This in turn allows SuperValu the opportunity to satisfy our shoppers more and so grow their loyalty with the brand.

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