2018 Star Women winners on shopper data and staying relevant

Panelists discuss the way retailers can build loyalty and get people shopping in store

Most anything is obtainable these days at the click of a button. Whether on a computer or through a smartphone, it's hard to compete with the convenience of online shopping. With this new reality, and when physical retail is the mainstay of a business, how can grocers ensure that brick-and-mortar shopping is a compelling proposition for their customers?

Using shopper data to create personalized offers is a good place to start. Most people consider grocery shopping a chore and aren't necessarily excited at the prospect of shopping, chopping and cooking a meal, Lyne Castonguay, executive vice-president of store experience, Sobeys, told attendees of the 7th annual Star Women in Grocery breakfast and conference hosted by Canadian Grocer.

Analytics help identify consumer needs which can lead to more relevant solutions and personalized offers. This can help build deeper more meaningful connections with shoppers. And most consumers are looking for solutions both online and in-store, so it's really about marrying the two. "We pride ourselves on trying to do that," she said. "How do you ensure you connect at all points of their lives where it matters."

The topics of data, consumer relevance and creating memorable experiences were sprinkled throughout a 40-minute panel discussion. It was moderated by Tony Chapman and included Cynthia Beretta, founder, Beretta Farms; Jacqueline Craig, director, risk management and food safety, Save-On-Foods (Overwaitea Food Group); Josianne Légaré, senior vice-president of sales, A. Lassonde and Cheryl Smith, general manager, cheese and tablespreads, fine cheese and yogourt, Parmalat Canada.

Because it doesn't have access to the same levels of data that a multinational would, Beretta Farms relies on its social media channels to engage with consumers, answer questions and be as transparent about its business as possible, said its founder.

"We try to listen the most and be aware of the conversation going on on our social network to see what's going in the market... To be as transparent about the whole process from start to finish has been very successful for us and has garnered a lot of trust from our clients and loyalty and has allowed us to use the information that we have to make us better."

From a brand perspective, staying relevant means tapping into insights, keeping track of trends, visiting trade shows, and conducting research to understand the consumer's changing needs, according to Légaré.

For instance, the Quebec-based company that produces fruit and vegetable beverages has been working to reduce the sugar content from some of its products to better meet the needs of health-conscious consumers, and it's a move that's paying off, she said. "The last few years it has been a focus for us and it has been successful," she said. "So that's how we fuel growth in the category."

A. Lassonde adapts its product assortment to meet the needs of its retail partners and customers. "It's not a one size fits all anymore," she said. "We need to be agile and proactive to meet  needs and be good partners."

Click here to see the full list and bios of the 2018 Star Women in Grocery winners. Looking for photos from this year's event? Click here and here.




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