Coles general manager of Grocery, Anna Croft told industry leaders at the Food and Grocery Conference in Sydney that the supermarket giant is transforming its food offer with a much more tailored range powered by innovation and convenience.
The retailer is focusing on several key trends which are influencing everything from store formats, to food ranges and technology.
“Customers are changing faster than we’ve ever seen,” Croft said, highlighting the importance of the retailer adapting to the changing society.
“At the moment 20 per cent of all Australians are over 65… in just five years is that will move to 25 per cent of all Australians – a huge number. We have to think around our store format, our packaging, our shelf layout, and how we really think about products that suit the needs in terms of nutritional content. So a really big change in our consumer society.”
Croft highlighted the importance of having a diverse culture at Coles and said the supermarket is working with international brands to discuss import opportunities.
“We know that our customers are looking for authenticity… we need to think about the big brands in those countries and how we bring them to Australia, and really not try and change the the palate and taste profile.”
“So we are working with some people that have got big brands over in certain countries to understand if they would be right to import for the local market.”
Croft said the rise of the independent, authentic retailers is evident and pointed to the opening of a new Coles store in Roseland, NSW which is surrounded by a Vietnamese retailer, a Halal butcher and a Middle Eastern supermarket.
“That for us says we haven’t got our offer right, we’re not tailoring our offer to the right consumers. And we’re really not thinking about how we bring authenticity to those customers.”
On the convenience front, Croft said the supermarket need to better cater to the frantic lifestyles of consumers.
“Online, digital, subscription models, whatever that may be, we’ve got to think about the frenetic two-parent lifestyles that we see becoming more and more prevalent in the australian consumer landscape.”
Speaking on Coles recent partnership with Ocado, Croft said it will make a “huge difference” to the online shopping experience.
“The whole of our front end platform will change so we will pick up the front end website of Ocado which will be tailored. It enables us to have a really broad range, very quick delivery options… it’s pretty amazing in terms of electronic robot palitization, so certainly [we] will be able to respond much quicker to customer needs with a much more agile and advanced front end user user experience.”