It’s become fashionable for retailers to announce commitments to ‘long-term lower pricing’, but how do they deliver on this in a hugely competitive market?
To really live up to this commitment - as made by pretty much all of the big four of late - supermarkets have to equip themselves with in-store capabilities that introduce elements of quick turnaround, responsive and reactive pricing so they can deliver on their brand promises. Noticing that a competitor has a better deal, but being unable to do anything about it in-store until a few days later can reduce the impact the brand has with best-price brand promises.
Of course, this means agility is required across the whole business, from head office authorising pricing discounts to stores printing necessary pricing tickets at short notice for customers at the shelves. Retailers must make sure they are ahead of the curve, while remaining consistent across all stores, and reflecting the overall brand promises made on lower prices for customers. The impact this has on consumer perception of the store overall will ensure that brand loyalty is upheld at a time when retailers are competitively targeting shoppers.
For retailers, the fast-paced pricing changes and reactive strategy will require some operational changes in both technology and processes. Providing stores with the equipment and printers that are needed requires initial investment, yet the long-term benefits for both the brand name and consumer relationship will ensure this initial outlay is repaid. In addition, installing technological systems controlled by head office ensures that every store in the country is presented with the appropriate tickets at the same time, with the same prices, that can be printed with minimal effort from the in-store team.
Retailers can also think of innovative store solutions suited to managing their new reactive pricing models. A wider introduction of digital displays will transform the experience for customers in-store, and provide retailers with the ability for more agile creatives to align with competitive pricing.
Sanjeev Kumar is director of IT development at Delta Workstream, The Delta Group