Asda’s price-cutting strategy could soon be a thing of the past amid plans to put data at the heart of its turnaround strategy with the appointment of former Tesco Clubcard and Sainsbury’s loyalty chief Andrew Mann as head of insight.
Mann, who becomes vice-president of insight, pricing and digital CRM, has been briefed to change the retailer’s culture to create a data-driven business and use customer insight for both pricing and promotions.
He will also develop a digital CRM strategy; Creston-owned The Real Adventure Unlimited, runs Asda’s CRM strategic planning account.
The move is a major U-turn for Asda, which has traditionally shunned a data-centric approach to concentrate on price cuts. It is understood to be part of a strategic overhaul initiated by new CEO Sean Clarke, who was parachuted in from Walmart’s Chinese business in June to succeed his namesake Andy Clarke and to transform Asda’s fortunes.
Just last month rival Sainsbury’s created the role of chief data officer as part of its plans to bring customer information to the fore.
Mann joins from the Co-operative Group, where he was group customer data director and customer director of food. However, he had the misfortune to join in 2014, just as the organisation was plunged into chaos following the announcement of a £2bn corporate loss and the scandal involving the chairman. His remit changed from transforming the organisation to focusing on cutting costs, selling businesses and redefining Co-op Retail.
Prior to that Mann spent over four years as director of insight and loyalty at Sainsbury’s. While there, he refocused developed the firm’s relationship with Nectar, led the creation of the Brand Match proposition, and introduced a more data-driven approach to the business.
These skills had been developed at Tesco, where, as Clubcard director, Mann oversaw the expansion of Clubcard data in stores as well as on Tesco.com, Tesco Bank and Tesco telecoms division. Prior to that, he was head of brand communications and online at British Gas.
Mann will certainly have his work cut out; Asda has suffered most from the likes of Lidl and Aldi, and while Tesco and Morrisons appear to be on the road to recovery, the latest figures from Kantar showed Asda once again leading a continued drop in sales at the big four, with sales falling 4.5%.
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