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Retail

Retailers Need To Rethink The Meaning Of Value, Says Design Agency Head

The managing director of London-based design firm Cowan has said that UK retailers need to rethink the role value has to play in the overall offer, given the 'seismic shifts' underway in the sector.

"For decades now supermarkets have responded to recessions by launching value ranges," commented Elizabeth Finn, managing director, Cowan London

"For a long time, it was a successful strategy, but more recently these ranges have struggled. At the two biggest retailers in the UK grocery market, growth in the sales of branded goods has outstripped own-label for a while, and this has been particularly marked at the value end."

Discounter Impact

Finn suggested that historically there has been a "low level of trust" around quality when it comes to value products, but the rise of Aldi and Lidl in the market changed all that.

"Shopping there carries no stigma - we’re now used to doing it, are confident we can get good quality products at that price point, and openly boast about how much we’ve saved on our food shop – but it still exists around value ranges elsewhere," she said.

"What this means is that the end is in sight for the traditional value range with its bland packaging. Last year saw the launch of 16 Exclusively at Tesco brands, created to replace Tesco’s long-established value offer, which not only reassured on value and quality, but were also designed to make customers smile."

Turning Point

Finn said that this new appreciation of value marks a "turning point" for the industry, with all supermarket groups now under pressure to rethink their value ranges.

"To achieve this, they need to understand the role their value ranges play in their customers’ lives, and then work out why they buy value in each category," she said. "Interestingly, it’s not always to save money. Retailers also need to use category codes to reassure shoppers – give them the minimalist design cues of beauty and personal care, the vibrant colours of confectionery and the warm hues in biscuits and they are much more likely to buy.

"Ultimately, it’s not just about price. The most important way to get shoppers to buy your products is to connect with them on an emotional level," she added.

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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