Many in the industry, myself included, regard the IGD Big Debate as the UK’s biggest retail event of the year and when I look at the calibre of speakers listed for this year, I am not disappointed.
Session 1 – Meaningful shopper relationships
Mike Coupe - CEO Sainsbury’s, Matt Davies - CEO UK & ROI Tesco, Michael Fletcher - Commercial Director Co-op, Joanne Denney Finch – Chief Executive IGD, Matt Hill – President Europe Kraft Heinz.
Session 2 - Credible and consistent messaging
President of Mars, Disney VP Retail UK & ROI, Greggs Chief Exec.
Session 3 - Data and creativity
Google, Waitrose MD, President Diageo Europe, Procter & Gamble VP and MD N Europe.
As if that line-up isn’t enough, this year there is the added intrigue created by the recent and very public ‘fall out’ between Tesco and Unilever over Unilever’s proposed 10% price increase. As we know, Tesco did not accept this rise and subsequently removed some Unilever brands from sale. Whilst this is now resolved in the public domain, I am sure there are a lot of ongoing discussions behind the scenes to sort out terms ongoing. It will be interesting to see if this is referenced during the session with Matt Davies.
Everything is pointing towards another great event with the main topics bound to attract interest and generate discussion.
IGD Big Debate 2016 themes:
- Customer experience
- Improved communications
- New product innovation
Clearly these are key areas for anyone involved in driving retail improvement, which is particularly exciting for myself and the team at S4RB. These are all areas where we support our customers by giving them ‘One View’ of their private brand product performance.
It's not just about shopping experience
At last year’s Big Debate it was highlighted that 75% of shoppers in the UK report having a ‘good’ shopping experience. This is all very well on a superficial level but it’s important to recognise that customer experience is not just about the shopping experience - it is also about the brand experience.
In fact, to get shoppers to buy and come back and buy again – or create loyalty (aka the ‘holy grail’ for retail), it is more about the brand (or product experience) than it is about the shopping experience. As my colleague Kieran explains in this blog, good shopping experience doesn’t always mean more sales.
Look no further than Aldi and Lidl, they are not promising a great shopping experience, but they are renowned for giving a great brand experience. By offering amazing products at incredibly low prices, shoppers are responding in their droves.
Creating a great private brand product experience
At S4RB, we work with our retailer customers to give them the tools that help them create and maintain a great private brand product experience – something we all understand as being fundamental to retail success.
This great experience is achieved when customers are consistently happy with a retailer’s products, resulting in them sharing this positive experience with their family and friends. When a retailer can consistently achieve a great brand experience, customer endorsements go up, shopper visits increase and sales grow.
However, this customer advocacy is increasingly difficult to attain due to dramatic changes in the retail landscape and mainstream retailers being attacked from all sides:
- Discounters offering high quality products at incredibly low prices.
- Online retailers extending their reach into core grocery.
- Customer feedback has exploded over the web and social media.
- On top of this, shoppers are seeking more clarity and transparency about products and sourcing.
What do we mean by ‘One View’ of product performance?
To make sense of the wealth of customer feedback generated by today’s consumers, S4RB’s UBX BaseHUB™ gives retailers the ability to comprehensively listen to customers and consolidate feedback from call centres, returns, social media and consumer panels all into ‘One View’ of product quality performance.
As Supplier Engagement specialists, we crucially take this one step further and connect retail teams and suppliers via our supplierENGAGE™ solution to share product performance and customer feedback. This enables the retailer and its suppliers to act as ’One Team’, working collaboratively to create a great brand experience for their private brand products.
So it’s no surprise that I‘m really looking forward to this year’s IGD Big Debate and will be sharing news and views from the event with industry friends and colleagues. Well done IGD - bring it on!