Consumers reward brands for strong personalisation, says Coles exec

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Consumers reward brands for strong personalisation, says Coles exec

Coles Group this week revealed a major expansion of its investment in Adobe's marketing tech stack. The giant retailer announced it will now use Adobe's Experience Cloud and Real-Time Customer Data Platform to improve personalisation.

It stressed this would be done in a way that protects privacy and security.

According to Sujeet Rana, general manager, customer experience and technology at Coles, “Our data shows us 80 per cent of our customers expect personalisation, it's almost become a hygiene factor for them.”

In fact, said Rana consumers will punish brands that do not offer them personalisation.

“In terms of our email communications, we've seen that comms that are personalised to our customers generate three times as much revenue for us as those that are those that aren't personalised," he said.

Speaking at this week’s Adobe Summit he said, “It's become a really important part of us as a business, making sure that we're using that data and that content on that platform in the right and ethical way to create that consumer trust.”

According to Rana, the interesting trend the company was seeing in both its internal data and external data is that personalisation not only builds that customer loyalty and advocacy but it demonstrates that the brand values are aligned with the customer.

“If you look at Coles’ journey over the last two years which has probably been a bit different to some other organisations, we were really being looked on as an essential service. Over two years Coles has shown it has really been able to step up and to make sure that we've provided those essential services to Australian communities for those periods.”

“That’s really resonated with our customers,” he said quoting Roy Morgan Research suggesting Coles is now seen as Australia’s second most trusted brand.

“A lot of that is because we've been able to use our platforms, both digital and physical, to make sure that we'd be creating a connection with our customers at the time that they needed us.”

According to Suzanne Steele, vice president and managing director of Adobe Australia and New Zealand, “Coles is one of Australia’s most loved and respected brands, servicing communities around Australia for more than a century. Maintaining that status means keeping the trust and loyalty of customers.”

She said the partnership with Adobe would ensure that the retailer had the customer insight, personalisation and relevant content it needed to underpin that goal.

Grocery is one of the categories in retail that proved most resistant to the shift to online pre-pandemic, but the rapid digitalisation caused by national lockdowns has changed that.

Coles supermarkets for instance grew e-commerce sales growth by 46 percent in the first half of FY21 while also significantly increasing its digital interactions with customers. 

In a statement announcing the deal with Coles, Adobe noted, “With in-store operations comprising more than 90 percent of Coles’ customer purchases and shoppers often switching between digital and physical destinations, they increasingly expect a seamless, end-to-end experience across online and offline channels. “ 

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