By Bryan Roberts, global insights director at tcc global

I spend a lot of time in stores around the world. As well as taking in lots of calories, I’m also able to see close at hand the signposts for success in modern retail. Here are three notable elements that I’m seeing come to the fore in 2019.


Retailers being “collaborative” is a broad attribute that can encompass several different relationships, but we predominantly mean primarily retailer to retailer and retailer to supplier.

The scope for retailer-to-retailer collaboration is extensive. It can include buying, private label development, operating instore concessions or branded areas and soaking up excess space. With suppliers, collaboration can manifest itself in traditional ways, such as category management or shopper marketing, but I’ve increasingly been seeing more space devoted in grocery stores to grandiose branded areas. These create more of a department store feel within a grocery environment.

There is a real sense now that retailers must become less insular and more open to partnerships with third parties to improve performance and shopper appeal.

Super Konzum in Zagreb is a fine example of supplier collaboration


These days, so much in grocery retail rides on transactional or hygiene factors, such as price, range, standards, availability, loyalty cards, process—the list goes on. It is often easy to overlook that there could be, and even should be, more of an emotional bond between retailer and shopper. It is on the instore journey that a retailer can create opportunities to inspire an emotional spark.

This might sound a bit fluffy, but it works. Rewarding or acknowledging loyal shoppers, surprising or delighting them instore, making life easier for parents or raising a smile during a shopping trip—these can all create little emotional connections. But over a longer timeframe, each of these little connections can coalesce and grow into a real and lasting relationship.

There’s a big role here for instore colleagues. While some shoppers couldn’t care less about interacting with a member of staff, others look forwards to these encounters, or need some help on occasions or within particular categories. In the current environment, it might be tempting to see associates as an expendable cost. But retailers should resist this instinct. With the right investment, they can be an invaluable asset.

Morrisons in St. Ives utilises trained butchers to add value to build relationships


Shoppers are human beings. Human beings are social creatures. Food stores offer a chance for shoppers to interact with friends, family or – indeed – strangers. It is noteworthy that many supermarkets are offering improved opportunities for this interaction: improving instore catering, providing space for community meetings and classes, building cookery schools, providing wine and beer tastings and holding more instore events.

Of course, this is something that discounters and online retailers cannot do. While online retailers are regularly praised for their effectiveness in both cost and convenience, they lack the ability to provide the same value-added services that bricks-and-mortar retailers can. It would be great to see more supermarkets and hypermarkets take the chance to become hubs for the community – another way of building a connection with loyal customers.

Harmons in Salt Lake City has huge areas devoted to social interaction and also provides a cookery school

Secure your place at the 2019 Loyalty Forum

Bryan Roberts is just one of the expert speakers we have lined up to share their insight at the 2019 Loyalty Forum. From 22-23 May, the leading lights of the retail industry will converge on Amsterdam’s legendary Beurs Van Berlage building for a packed programme of speakers, masterclasses and a programme of best-in-class store tours. It’s a must attend event for any retail marketer.

To secure your place to secure your place in Amsterdam, alongside hundreds of retail leaders at Loyalty Forum, contact your local tcc global office.

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