Co-op rolls out new tech for customers and suppliers

co-op-rebrand 2The Co-op is rolling a new data-driven technology system to all stores, as part of a long-term strategy to boost customer experience and supply chain collaboration through a major digital transformation programme.

The strategy kicked off in 2018, when Co-op introduced JDA supply chain software and ranging tools, with the aim of building a more precise picture of local customer behaviour to tailor store layouts and better anticipate demand.

This was followed by the implementation of SAP technology to improve ranging, stock holding, availability, and more accurate forecasting data and, concluded with the launch of a new cloud-based supplier collaboration portal, Co-op Connect.

Described as a “transformational” programme, the new system looks to improve planning and allocation of space in stores, increase availability, reduce waste and foster better communication across the supply chain.

By consolidating 30 legacy systems into three, Co-op said it would be able to adapt to changing market conditions, and support the growth of the business.

After a pilot in just over 200 shops, the latest phase of the project will see the system rolled out to over 2,600 Co-op stores and will include over 19,200 products and more than 1,100 suppliers.

Co-op retail business transformation programme director Andy Phelps said: “The first phases of our work provided the foundation for an advanced retail supply chain strategy designed to drive increased consumer experience and choice through improved availability and faster, better, retail decision making. We see our relationship with suppliers as a partnership approach, and this investment enables Co-op to deepen those relationships.

“We have worked closely with our supplier network to gather feedback and test the system, and their input has been invaluable in developing the technology we are now in a position to deploy.

“The improved data, transparency and collaboration facilitates the anticipation of shopper needs, providing a robust mechanism with which to respond with agility, accuracy and speed – enabling Co-op to provide what our customers want conveniently, when and where they need it.”

As part of its digital transformation, Co-op launched a mobile app last summer to give the 4.6 million members of its loyalty club access to weekly personalised offers and the ability to track their member reward balance.

The Co-op App allows customers to choose two offers every week to save money on “they might like to try or buy” before they come into store. Members can also digitally track their reward balance, removing the need for paper coupons.

At the time. director of data and insights Tim Sleep said: “This app has only been possible due to the massive steps forward the Co-op has made in our data science capabilities. This means that through the data that our members trust us with, we can make their experience of the Co-op more tailored and deliver greater, more personalised, value back to them.”

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