Sainsbury’s performance shows importance of convenience in shopper marketing, says Bridgethorne

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Sainsbury's: growing convenience business

Sainsbury’s: growing convenience business

Sainsbury’s performance this Christmas – and the fact it now has more convenience stores than conventional supermarkets in its estate – reinforces the importance of retailers and suppliers gaining a more detailed understanding of changing shopper habits and needs, according to Bridgethorne, a category management and shopper marketing specialist.

Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales over the festive period may only have grown by 0.2% but if you factor in results from new convenience stores up to 4 January 2014, it equates to a 2.7% growth.

Sainsbury’s impressive performance was driven by sales of own brand food products as well as its online and convenience store businesses, said Bridgethorne. Sainsbury’s success has been driven by its ability to convey quality and price at a time when value is a vital attribute in the retail sector, Bridgethorne said.

“What we are seeing here is the outcome of a steady and sustained power shift away from major brands and retailers to the shopper,” said Bridgethorne co-founder John Nevens. “Part of this has been due to socio-demographic changes, from an ageing population and the rise of single occupancy households; but importantly with Sainsbury’s performance, through multi-format retailing taking account of the continuing drive for convenience they have got to grips better with this new shopper landscape.”

The improvement in Sainsbury’s performance, which demonstrates a recognition of changing shopper behaviour, should sound a warning to suppliers that they need to understand better these changes if they are going to succeed long term. Suppliers and retailers have to influence their shopper’s journey through the point of purchase interface, said Nevens – the place where their shoppers and their products meet – and to create a strategic role for the shopper in their planning alongside the consumer. So, if shoppers are now in control and have different missions and requirements to consumers, suppliers and retailers have to address their needs.

“Fully integrating your shopper into your organisation’s existing strategy, planning and activation processes will lead to more effective commercial investment, without necessarily actually requiring more commercial investment. We call it Integrated Shopper Management….or “Shopperism” for short,” he said.