As Wales comes out of Lockdown, and England enters its (we hope) month long second 'lockdown' on Thursday 5th November, along with the pandemic still setting the global agenda, it look like the US has finally settled on its 'President elect', turmoil continues in retail land everywhere.

For this article I've picked up on a couple of trending stories. My focus is to stimulate the industry to continue to recognise that you are in the centre of an opportunity to reimagine the future of retailing as we continue into the 21st Century.

Without a doubt Supermarkets have been the beneficiary, for some saviour, and for many other retailers the envy during this pandemic - however!

Here's a couple of awkward question for you, especially if you operate in the Supermarket and, or FMCG business;

1- How will consumer adoption of online grocery shopping accelerate in the next several years?

2 - Will the leading companies in the grocery business in the U.S. and UK right now be the leaders in the online grocery business in five to ten years?

If, as some suggest the growth in online sales for grocery retailers jumps to circa 20%+ what impact is that going to have on the huge legacy investments in real estate?

Sainsbury's who themselves are trying to turn the tanker around after a number of years of bolt on acquisitions that to date don't appear to have made much difference.

This last week also saw further news from 'Sainsbury's' announcing further redundancies, closures of Argos stores, and for those that survive the cull adding Argos as an integral part of the Sainsbury real estate.

This from a company statement last year:

"Sainsbury’s says making shopping more convenient is a key pillar of the plan, with investment in the areas that the customer most cares about - and is prepared to spend on. By integrating its digital and physical shopping experiences it will, it says, be able to serve customers whenever and however they want. Customers will be able to log in through a single account, finding products and services from across the group".

Whilst I get that this is simply part of a much bigger restructuring and turnaround program which clearly has everyone's support, I find it somewhat odd that key to this turnaround is doing something that should already be part of an integrated platform, physical and digital. 

Sainsbury's acquired Argos, Habitat and Homebase in 2016, and then splashed out buying loyalty card Nectar in February 2018 what on earth did it think was a key priority?

Now i'm not saying I understand everything that's going on behind the scenes but what used to work in retail isn't the norm anymore, sure Sainsbury led the way in video content for recipes, but it's always been a one way conversation.

A lesson for all Supermarket chains maybe, but most definitely a huge opportunity for all retail sectors to embrace this pandemic and get back to engaging with the consumer with a 'corner shop' mindset - what do I mean by this?

I took a look at the social media presence for Sainsbury, Argos, and Nectar who between them have circa 3m+ followers on Facebook, 'Twitter' have circa 500k, and 'Instagram' has 300k,  from what I can see they're being used like most other retailers which is to advertise and promote themselves, or used as a crisis management tool for service/product issues.

Take a moment to consider the following industry stats;

  • Less than 2% of Employees regularly share or create employer related brand content.
  • Over 33% of Employees are unclear on what to post and how it could benefit their employer.
  • There is a 561% increase in audience for your brand message when shared by employees vs sharing via the corporate channel.
  • 90% of your employee network is new to your brand meaning you are opening up previously untapped audiences.

Social media isn't just about follower numbers, as 'free to use' platforms go they're fantastic for building relationships, but as in the real world you get out what you put in.