Name: Nancy Hernandez
Job title: Director of e-commerce – food at Sainsbury’s
What’s the main difference between Sainsbury’s online business today and 12 months ago? The pandemic accelerated the speed of change in shopping habits, particularly the shift to online. Shopping habits are beginning to normalise – customers are returning to stores and demand for online is stabilising. On 5 July for our first quarter results, we announced that our groceries online business now accounts for 17% of overall grocery sales. We’re proud to have grown our Groceries Online market share and are the second largest online grocery retailer by both value and volume.
What are the key priorities in retaining online customers amid the cost of living crisis? Sainsbury’s is relentlessly focused on value and we understand the impact the cost of living crisis is having on customers. All of our price-busting campaigns are available online, including Sainsbury’s Quality, Aldi Price Match, which now includes the top 20 items customers buy most often and Price Lock, which offers stable prices for at least eight weeks. We also recently relaunched our Feed Your Family For a Fiver campaign. The campaign has its own landing page on our website and features four recipes to inspire customers, which change every three weeks.
What have been the biggest challenges in mitigating the impact of rising fuel and energy costs? The fuel market is particularly volatile at the moment. We’re monitoring it closely while doing all we can to mitigate rising costs and invest in offering the best possible value for customers.
What is Sainsbury’s doing to improve sustainability in the online business? Our priority is to reduce emissions wherever we possibly can and we continue to innovate and invest with this in mind. We were the first UK retailer to introduce fully electric refrigerated trailers to our delivery fleet. The trailers on our lorries have electric fridges, making them more carbon friendly and reducing air pollution in local communities. This innovative move was a first in the UK, bringing a more sustainable solution to transport groceries across the UK. We have also been working with electric vehicle suppliers and engaging our customers and stakeholders with our electric vehicles strategy. Following the changes to our groceries online operation over the pandemic, we are currently in the process of setting our commitments and hope to share more in the coming months whilst in the test & learn phase of electric vehicle vans. We want to ensure that any service we offer meets our customers’ needs and is meaningful.
How have online shopping behaviours changed in the past six months? Shopping habits continue to normalise and we’re delighted that customers feel increasingly confident returning to our stores, but we know they also really value the speed, ease and convenience of our groceries online offer. At our first quarter results we announced that sales are 94% above pre-pandemic levels. Convenience and availability remain high on the agenda, fuelling on-demand services, particularly in grocery. Sainsbury’s customers can receive groceries in as little as 30 minutes through our partnerships with Uber Eats and Deliveroo and our own Chop Chop service. The strength of our model and our scale means we’re in a great position as customer habits continue to change.
Are you planning any improvements to the website? We’re always making enhancements to the site, whether its optimising customer experience and relevancy or complying with upcoming legislation such as HFSS. We also regularly update what we feature, sometimes daily, to respond to external factors such as key seasonal events or changes in weather like an upcoming heatwave.