For the seventh time in a row, Colruyt wins first place in Best Retail Food Brand. What is your secret for this everlasting success in the retail sector? At Colruyt Lowest Prices we continue to focus on what makes us strong. We believe this is the best way to remain successful. Through our competent employees, we continue to offer our customers high-quality products at the lowest prices within our efficient store concept. And by staying in close contact with our customers, we continue to respond as best we can to their changing needs. We are also preparing ourselves for the future and how we can continue to respond to the needs of our customers. For example, we noticed that people are increasingly aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle; balanced eating and exercise have become part of our daily lives. Prevention is also becoming increasingly important in order to stay healthy for as long as possible. As a supermarket, we have a role to play here. Making parapharmaceutical products more accessible and thus increasing simplicity for the customer is part of this. Since last year, our stores have had a Parapharmaceuticals department and in several stores we are already expanding this considerably. Colruyt hits second place in Best Hybrid Brand. What do you think about this? We are happy to see that we can serve customers according to their needs: both online and offline. Both channels are very important to us. Traditionally our physical stores are very well known and visited for the weekly shopping of our customers. Since the corona crisis, we see that online shopping through Collect&Go has gained tremendous importance: existing customers ordered more frequently and in larger volumes. We also gained 140,000 new customers, a fifth of whom were not even known to Colruyt Group. We therefore increased the capacity at Collect&Go.
Have you experienced changes in customer behavior over the past two years in the retail sector?
It is rather difficult to look over the whole period and claim that we have seen major movements in customer behavior or that we can really reflect changing consumer behavior, but we do see a few things confirmed: such as the fact that e-commerce has experienced a real boom. Online shopping, thanks to the corona crisis, has accelerated to become familiar to, and perhaps even a habit for, many households. Furthermore, it was specific to corona that people started shopping less frequently, but suddenly filled larger shopping carts. Neighborhood supermarkets and local outlets also did very well in the recent period. Of course, this had everything to do with the measures (going shopping alone, time limitation, in the very first lockdown rules about movements etc.). Another trend that we see is that people have started to cook more themselves, and with this, on the one hand health came high on the agenda, and on the other hand also the search for alternatives, interest in world cuisine or the desire to get to know new products.
Is e-commerce a priority at Colruyt? E-commerce is an absolute priority for Colruyt Group. Through our more than 220 Collect & Go pick-up points we ensure that customers can pick up their shopping close by. We also have Collect & Go Drivers where you can have your groceries delivered to your home by someone in your neighborhood. This has been a success and we have already expanded to different regions.
In the 2021 edition of Best Brands, you were voted the Best Sustainable Brand. What are the new developments in your ‘Step by Step’ sustainability program for 2022? We will continue to invest in things that we consider relevant and that contribute to better health, environment, society and animal welfare. We group these within ‘Step by Step’, Colruyt Group’s sustainability program. In March 2021, we as Colruyt Group took the lead in more environmentally friendly shopping with the Eco-Score, a visual way to learn about the environmental impact of food products. A first in Belgium. By making the Eco-Score more accessible, Colruyt Group continues its ambition to help customers make sustainable choices and informed purchases, just as it does with the Nutri-Score.
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