Dalton Philips, chief executive at Morrisons, argued simple breakthroughs were required to push forward, rather than technological ones.
Speaking at the 2011 IGD Convention Philips said customers are at whole new stage in how they shop and three key factors are shaping habits.
Customers are under huge pressure, said Philips. Household budgets are being squeezed, while technological progress has created forums and blogs and societal change. Media are now influencing how people shop.
According to Philips, a new professional shopper has emerged. The use of debit cards and cash is on the up and credit card usage is going down.
People are spending to budgets, shouting about bargains, eating in and not out, and conscious of saving money versus time, he said.
Dalton told delegates breakthroughs needed to be focused on two principles: relevance and affordability; and presented developments at Morrisons, which adhere to these themes.
Relevant breakthroughs include the launch of the M Kitchen own label in convenience and ready meals. Dalton said it provided restaurant quality meals at Morrisons’ prices.
Fresh is another relevant stream and includes butcher’s counters and greengrocers in stores. Dalton said it was a point of difference for Morrisons and it was exploiting those craft skills and doing a better job to promote them with customers in store.
Morrisons is making a relevant breakthrough in online too with its acquisition of Kiddicare and a 10% stake in FreshDirect in New York.
Finally, it is opening convenience stores under the M-local brand. Relevance of a c-store is dependent on the offer that’s put in, said Dalton; claiming M-local “is the finest convenience store in the world”.
Affordability is critical too, said Dalton. “There’s a new professional shopper out there and you have to be in tune.”
He revealed 51% of shoppers check the price of every single item that goes in their basket. Morrisons breakthrough response included its Big Price Crunch, launched at the start of the year.
Further examples of affordable moves include the building of a ‘lean’ store in Wales, which will feature a concrete floor rather than tiles; and improving the fresh flower offer with the acquisition of Flower World.
Summing up, Dalton said it was essential to find breakthroughs that are affordable and offer real value to customers.