Customer feedback drives makeover of Coles’ private label proposition

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th May 2009

Coles is looking to mothers to help reinvigorate their relationship with customers.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the chain has engaged a panel of over 1000 mothers to test the quality and packaging of their private label goods as well as shelf wobblers and in-store marketing.

Coles Marketing Director Joe Blundell, who this week flagged changes to their FlyBuys loyalty program, said the plan was to strengthen ties with customers after years of management placing their main focus on backroom systems evolution.

The idea is not a new one, but it has proven successful before and reconnecting with customers is a must if Coles is going to reach the goals of their five-year plan.

“Customers tell us what products they are going to be eating and enjoying and that sparks a development plan … and then we get them involved in assessing which ones taste the best and which ones they would rather not have,” Mr Blundell told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Customer contact is driving a lot of consumer behaviour – packaging and design to choices of colours to in-store messages are things they can help with.”

Already Coles has reportedly decided to change the name of their mid-tier private label brand following feedback from customers. Currently named “You’ll Love Coles” it will be re-badged simply as “Coles” after shoppers indicated they preferred to make up their own minds about the quality of the product.

Their private label products have provided strong support to profit growth this year, with sales rising at a faster rate than national brands. The supermarket chain has been coy about growth rates, however, with Coles CEO Ian McLeod failing to be drawn any further than proclaiming double-digit growth in private label sales.