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By Sarah Hand, Senior PR Manager

This year’s LIVE: Retail Week x Grocer promised to be a great event. For the first time ever, Retail Week collaborated with The Grocer, the market-leading magazine covering the FMCG sector. Over two days some of the best minds from retail and FMCG talked openly and honestly about things that really mattered. I loved it and here are a few things I learnt:

Embracing bricks over clicks

Primark, known for its budget-friendly prices and streamlined profit margins, faced a conundrum: how to effectively engage with a digitally driven younger demographic while maintaining its core strategy rooted in bricks-and-mortar retail, which has been pivotal to its success. CEO Paul Marchant knew that home delivery would be unprofitable and impossible. After several years head scratching, the retailer introduced Click and Collect, bridging the gap between online preference and physical stores. It is proving to be a huge hit, aligning with their love of brick-and-mortar whilst satisfying their core, younger customer – result.

Read the room

When the cost-of-living crisis hit the nation, the team behind Mondelez-owned, cream cheese, Philadelphia knew their existing marketing campaign, which focused on function rather than emotion, was no longer resonating with stressed-out consumers. Utilising insights from research that revealed consumers are seeking moments of comfort during tough times they drew on emotion and the brand’s ability to ‘nourish’ authentic friendship moments. It paid off, their ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Philly’ campaign not only increased Philadelphia’s sales but also contributed £20 million to the wider cream cheese category.

Just say no and it can help you grow

Sephora Co-Founder, Jenna Meeka, has her sights set on being the number one beauty brand in the US. Despite tempting offers for expansion into lucrative markets like Europe and the Middle East, Meeka remains focused on her goal. She said, ‘we have got to focus and it is going to be hard. We can make double our revenue tomorrow, if we take the easy route and say yes to every offer we receive. But it is about having discipline and standing strong, my role now is turning opportunities down – we turned down a £15m contract in the Middle East just to refine and focus’.

Power to the people

John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager at Amazon had wise words to say about AI. While he believes that generative AL will be the ‘most transformational technology for the retail industry since the arrival of the internet’ he claims robotics will not replace people. In fact, the opposite has happened at Amazon. Worldwide over the past 10 years, 500,000 robots have been implemented across Amazon, with, wait for it, one million jobs created alongside this for people. A lesson that spending on robots or Gen-AI should always be looked at alongside investment in people.

Preloved trend across generations

According to Head of Pre-Loved at eBay, Lucy Peacock, the talk of preloved being all about Gen Z is a myth. ‘Yes, the younger generation made it second nature to shop second-hand, but this has inspired more and more people and older generations to embrace second-hand’ said Lucy to a packed audience. eBay is seeing more shoppers in the 55+ age bracket shopping for pre-loved items and it is not just one-off purchases, they are coming back time and time again. According to the pre-loved fashion expert, trends within fashion, by nature, are circular and so shopping second-hand is an easy way to engage in this in a more conscious and sustainable way. Let’s hope it continues for generations to come.

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