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Studies in Ultrafresh: The Three-Year View

16 Jul 2019 / By: Ray Gaul

Retailing in the Week Ahead Week 29, 2019

At the start of Ultrafresh season, we introduced four tradeoffs that retailers need to make when investing in Ultrafresh solutions. The first was space. The second was expertise. Today we will discuss the third and fourth – the level of planning and the level of personalisation

Having spent the last week reviewing what British retailers have done in terms of planning and personalisation, we have decided that this week we will take a bigger picture view of the topic – with a special lens towards technology and how it may change the game. We will look at four promising areas of emerging retail science and how they may play out in the war for Ultrafresh excellence.

Before we begin, it is important to acknowledge some of the questions, FAQs, we have received since Ultrafresh kicked off.

  • FAQ  1. I’m an A-Brand. Why should I care about Ultrafresh? Answer: Brands are ultimately impacted by the switch to Ultrafresh in three ways – communication, benchmarking and speed. Ultrafresh communication needs to be frequent and constantly changing. We believe that as retailers get better at Ultrafresh communication they will expect the same types of communication support from brands. Ultrafresh KPIs are more about footfall at peak periods of the day, with different KPIs each day, inventory management and flexible supply-chain than other categories. We believe that these new KPIs will begin to be applied to A-brand categories. Ultrafresh speed is measured in hours rather than days. We expect these same speed metrics to be applied to A-Brands. Therefore, we think A-Brands should pay very close attention to what is happening in Ultrafresh.   
  • FAQ  2. Isn’t Ultrafresh about working with SMEs and promoting a sustainability agenda? Why haven’t you talked about that? Answer: Yes! However, we feel that you can address the topics of SMEs and Sustainability when looking at the final two investments retailers make – planning and personalisation.  We will try to do that in today’s discussion.
  • FAQ 3. Aren’t eCommerce platforms winning the war in Ultrafresh?  Why don’t you talk about these companies in more detail? Answer: Yes! New players are winning share in the battle for Ultrafresh. However, big retailers are buying these companies. Amazon has bought Whole Foods, Tesco bought Booker, Sainsburys has bought Argos, Morrisons bought McColl’s, Ocado announced a partnership with Marks & Spencer and so on. We will try to take on this question in today’s discussion, using Amazon Prime Day as an example.

Having passed those FAQs – it’s now time to dive into this year’s final update on Ultrafresh: Technology, the Next Frontier.

We believe that in three years’ time the war for Ultrafresh will be won by the retailers using these new technologies to their advantage. A-Brands should sit up and pay attention now.

To see our findings in more detail, please click on the PowerPoint accompanying this article.

With that, we hoped you enjoyed our full range of reports on how Britain’s leading retailers are using Ultrafresh differently in 2019 than they have at any time in the past to drive differentiation and advantage in a highly competitive market. We hope you will spend some time sending us feedback. If you missed our earlier PowerPoint presentations, you’ll find links below:

Ultrafresh Studies: DIY Versus Connoisseurship
Ultrafresh Studies: Strawberries & Cream - space tradeoffs

Please also consider signing up for our upcoming European Discounters workshop on 1 October. You can get more information by clicking on this link.

If you did not have a chance yet, please also have a look at some of our big featured items from Week 28:

Boots’ new concept responds to shifting trends
Amazon Prime Day: What to expect in International markets
What is… and why should you care?

Good luck in the week ahead. 


Ray Gaul – and @Kantar or @RayGaul on Twitter plus LinkedIn.

Ray Gaul

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