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Andras Szocs: Retail promotions should be more personalized

Nov 23, 2021

Summary
Interview with Andras Szocs, Head of Customer Programs and Center of Excellence at Salling Group
Andras discusses the challenges of digital transformation and driving loyalty
Salling Group is working to make promotional offers  more personalized

Andras Szocs is the Head of Customer Programs and Center of Excellence at Salling Group, one of Denmark’s largest retailers. Salling Group owns the Bilka (hypermarket), Føtex (supermarket) and Netto (discount supermarket) brands among others. 

Since joining Salling Group his team has launched a customer loyalty program, three unique apps for their retail brands and an internal digital agency, called the Center of Excellence team, which is at the digital heart of Salling group. 

The team works to transform Salling Group from one focused on analog media and physical shopping to becoming an omnichannel retailer with presence across the digital landscape. 

Andras says digital media is as complex and as diverse a channel as the analog format, with channels for branding, raising awareness and pushing conversion. He says one of the biggest challenges in digital transformation is the complexity of reaching shoppers across so many digital channels. 

Increasing loyalty key to growing audiences

Salling Group focuses on growing their reach through investment in a customer loyalty program, driven through mobile apps. These apps offer greater value to shoppers who opt in to the program. Salling Group uses data to provide shoppers with more personalized experiences.

“Personalized shopping experiences usually start in our loyalty app. We established our customer loyalty program because we are committed to making retail shopping easier, faster and more fun."

Using transactional and behavioral data we can provide shoppers with more personalized offers, personalized experiences, personalized services, which are exclusive for our members or just for them.” 

“For example, we have a baby club in Føtex, which shoppers can opt in to when they have a child. Based on that information they provide, we can give them more offers on diapers, on baby food, on baby toys. We can give them advice and help shoppers on this journey to become a parent.”

According to Andras, the data collected through the apps and websites helps Salling Group build audience groups. They use these groups or segments to push different marketing messages. 

Andras salling 750x500_1Andras Szocs says he is committed to transforming retail shopping to the digital world.

Digitizing promotional offers 

But Andras says analog media such as TV and leaflets are still a critical channel for Salling Group. 

“We still use leaflets as we know it’s a channel that works. Shoppers dedicate much more time, maybe even 15 minutes, to browsing through the leaflet. It’s still one of the most inspirational channels. Our marketing teams can still decide what is the theme of the week. What is the theme of the leaflet, what is the theme of that page. So, this is what we are also trying to execute on across the channels.” 

The importance of inspiring shoppers in marketing channels has been shown to be a key driver for success in online shopping. As discovered in The Behavior of Online Shopper Survey 2021 63% of shoppers say they look for inspiration online about which products to buy. 

For Salling Group, it’s essential to free up the offers from these classic printed leaflets and to be able to mix them around and reshuffle them on their digital marketing mix. In their apps, they are presented in a tile. The app selects relevant offers based on shoppers’ habits, but in the leaflet we group offers together differently around an event like New Year's Eve or a wine festival, etc.

“These kinds of events can be brought into the digital media channels like Facebook or Instagram. By using a different tempo of inspiration or maybe a different tempo or cut of the same movies, we try to bring different kinds of inspiration around the same topic for the different customer groups.” 

“By freeing up offers and regrouping the offers based on shoppers’ preferences, we can create a much more personalized experience.

"Because perhaps you’re not interested in a wine gala, but you are just into Italian wines. Therefore, we just need to just cut out the Italian wines from the wine gala and show them to shoppers in their app. Moreover, the Italian selection may be together with the parmesan cheese and the great pasta from the leaflet, so we can offer shoppers offers which are much more personal for them.”

Andras salling 750x500_4The Føtex Plus shopping app developed by Salling Group.

The future of retail is digital 

When asked about the future of retail, Andras is excited. He doesn’t believe shopping will be 100% online, but he says digital will play an increasingly important role.

“I certainly believe shoppers will always still have a desire to touch and feel the product which they would like to buy. There are also trends (following the COVID-19 pandemic) showing shoppers do like to go to a bakery or butcher again and have a conversation about great fresh food.”

But I'm really committed to this transformation, moving you know mass communication of the promotion mix to a more digitized, more personalized, more contextualized world.

"That's crucial for me, that's my overall strategic vision that in one day, the leaflet will be out, TV will be out and all the products are landing into shoppers pockets via an app. Some people say this will happen in five years, some in 10 years, the truth is we don’t know when. But we need to be prepared and on the top of our game before then.” 

Thanks to Andras Szocs for participating in this interview. Stay tuned to this channel for more in-depth interviews from leaders in inspirational retail. Take a look at the iPaper Content Universe to learn more.

Matt Whitby

Matt Whitby