from Jonathon Howard, Partner, Quant Marketing Company

Sir; I couldn’t agree more with Ian Duncan Lewis’ letter (The Grocer, April 3) about how retailers are sitting on a data goldmine.

For 10 years, Tesco has been exploiting its customer data and making a conservative £500m a year in category growth as a result. Clearly there is opportunity but just as clear is the inertia.

The time has surely come for retailers and suppliers alike to put aside the combative relationships of history and work together.

They will reap the massive rewards that can accrue from understanding more about how specific elements of the retail business - promotions, for example - affect customer behaviour (and in what ways they don’t work).

The key is in bringing retailers’ data (for example EPoS and customer loyalty) and suppliers’ research together in one common reporting form.

This will improve productivity and free up money for the holy grail of joint product and marketing development and ultimately category growth.

While it is not rocket science, it needs experienced practitioners from both sides to make it happen. But the underlying need is more fundamental - a breadth of vision and a slice of courage.

It’ll be interesting to see from where the retail heroes emerge.

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