Martijn Bertisen quote web

The new year means a fresh start for supermarkets and grocers. There’s a brief opportunity to reflect on what worked in 2016, what didn’t and what can improve.

Delivering a superlative customer experience moved to the top of the agenda in 2016. This must embrace all consumer interactions, from engagement at the right time with the right message to ensuring pain-free delivery and easy payment. Meeting these expectations means retailers need to fully focus on the consumer. And technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting: here are five resolutions to take on board.

First, invest in mobile. More than 80% of UK internet users are expected to have an advanced phone next year [eMarketer] as bigger screens, expanding 4G coverage and lower prices make them more attractive. Consumers are using their phones to hunt for recipes, make purchases and find opening times and store locations - 300,000 searches per day are made on Google on average in the UK and 60% are coming from phones, so make sure your sites are mobile-optimised.

Second, work with real-time insights on customer intentions. Consumers let you know what they are thinking and feeling every time they search online. This allows you to tailor for the moments that matter. Data from Google Trends reveals when searches for certain phrases peak during the year, so you can devise a content calendar to meet queries on topics such as Easter, TV cookery shows, barbecue season or just recipe ideas. Use it to identify information you can respond to quickly - for example, mojito and pancakes were the top growing recipe searches on Christmas Day after Yorkshire pudding. Imagine the promotion this data could underpin.

Third, make your brand culturally relevant. Google Trends allows you to be relevant to what people care about and YouTube can give you reach to tap into the major cultural moments as they arise. People are watching more video and engaging with the content. Grocers need to consider how to extend a cultural moment, as Argos did last year with a John Lewis ad parody to sell its own trampolines.

Fourth, focus on the right metrics. You can only learn, adjust and improve campaigns and content if you measure the right ‘actions’. For online video viewing this should mean measuring attention via ‘watch time’. We know that the more people watch video content the greater the lifts in brand metrics like awareness and consideration.

Finally, company culture has a huge role to play in making sure a business has customer focus. Management needs to keep team enthusiasm bubbling, embed an agile attitude and steer everyone in the same direction.

Martijn Bertisen is UK sales director at Google