Albertsons Cos.: Passionate about Shoppers, Stores & Products 12/27/2017
Geoff White, President, Albertsons Own Brands, and his staff were recognized as ECRM’s 2017 Merchant Team of the Year for the own brands grocery category, for their excellence in sourcing, merchandising, and supplier collaboration.
ECRM discussed these three areas with White, to highlight the strategies and successes that earned him and the Albertsons Companies Own Brands team the award.
ECRM: What is your leadership philosophy to encourage your team to be their best?
Geoff White: Firstly, we have incredible individuals in our organization that just love to do great work. Part of our philosophy is to inspire our team to be passionate about our shoppers, our stores, and the high-quality products we put in our great brands. Our company mission is to be our customers’ favorite local supermarket. Our Own Brands team is inspired to make that happen by giving our stores the best exclusive brands and innovating to meet ever-changing shopper needs.
ECRM: What are your team’s strengths and what characteristics do you attribute to their success in today’s turbulent retail environment?
White: The strength of our team lies in our passion for our shoppers and stores, our great relationships with our supplier partners, and our ability to get great products to market FAST! Our Own Brands team is accustomed to change and has demonstrated resilience and ability to thrive during change. We have moved mountains over the past three years.
ECRM: How do you keep tabs on emerging product trends to help in your sourcing efforts?
White: Our teams are constantly seeking new ideas and trends. We leverage every organization and person we work with to be our external army of idea generators. We encourage and actively solicit ideas from our suppliers, our shoppers, our stores, our family and friends. We constantly attend trade shows in the US and abroad, and we partner with several different information and market research agencies to help us identify emerging trends. We have a strong consumer insights organization that identifies consumer trends from our proprietary shopper data and conducts original research with our shoppers.
ECRM: How are you leveraging digital in your merchandising efforts?
White: Own Brands is engaging shoppers with our proprietary brands at every touchpoint from pre-shop, to the point of purchase in store (or on our ecommerce platform) as well as through continued engagement through post-shop touchpoints. Digital and social engagement are critical in each of these stages as the shopper’s decision-making process is evolving. While our merchandising efforts are central to driving sales, we are integrating out-of-store communication through digital offers on our loyalty platforms, with social media and recipe content, as well as through networks of influencers to build awareness, encourage trial and ultimately earn loyalty with own brands.
ECRM: What is the ideal you try to attain in your relationships with suppliers?
White: We encourage true partnerships with our suppliers. Neither of us can succeed without the other. First and foremost, we require our suppliers to deliver impeccable service to our stores and our shoppers. We strive to have an open and transparent relationship on costs with our key suppliers so that we can collaborate together to take costs out of the supply chain and get to the lowest possible prices for our consumers.
ECRM: Where do you see your category heading over the next three to five years?
White: The market dynamics continue to get better and better for our own brands. There is no longer a stigma about private label, and shoppers see our products as equivalent or better than national brands. National brands and CPG companies are not innovating or investing in their brands as quickly as we are able to, and can fall behind with shoppers.