What does your role entail?

I head up Go2Grocery Convenience. This sales team is responsible for selling a cross-category portfolio (Grocery, Household, Health) in to the fast-growing channels of Grocery Convenience, eCommerce and Value Retail. In addition to top-to-top trade contact, I also work closely with our clients in developing their go to market strategies.

What do you enjoy most about your role and why?

The best part of my role is the variety. Within the team we manage many different brands across a number of categories, and being part of their development is very satisfying. I also manage a number of different trade sectors, each of which has its own characteristics.

Grocery convenience is a hugely disparate sector and having a complete understanding of route to market and success strategies is a skill-set I enjoy. Although the trade interaction has changed somewhat in the last 10 years, it still requires a very personable touch. It is a channel that you can make things happen and talking to people and building relationships still remains a vital component to success.

What do you feel the future of the industry looks like? Or What are the top trends for this year?

We should have confidence that consumer spending in c-stores will continue to grow faster than in larger stores. On the one side we will see more sophisticated operations on the eCommerce side of wholesale ordering. Geo-tagging of independent retailers may become more widespread and I also expect an acceleration of eCommerce specialists selling directly to independent stores. Moreover, category solutions will become more robust as data provision continues to improve. On the other hand, supply chains will continue to consolidate following the grocery multiple move in to the channel. I expect to see a continuation of SKU rationalisation, but we will hopefully see an improvement in compliance across symbol and franchised estates to go alongside this.

What top tips would you give to clients to ensure they face these challenges appropriately?

There are 46K convenience stores in the UK (IGD Global Retail Trends 2019). Manufacturers often target the larger estates through an account management team and individual independents through field sales coverage. The most successful distribution builds in the channel are those that manage to join up the gap in the middle. One of the key activities of the Go2Grocery convenience team is to actively target the end users groups with store estates ranging from 30+ stores. These are often regional chains, such as Jempsons or Central, or can be specialist retailers such as Bourne Leisure, Center Parcs or Compass Costcutter (army bases). We often overlay this coverage with activity through our in-house field marketing team, Orchid. In this way we can offer comprehensive coverage of the UK convenience channel, top to bottom, in a joined up 360 degrees approach.

What are you the most proud of in your career/life?

In the last 10 years the channels I manage have evolved at fast pace. During this time I have been able to match this pace in the development of our sales team to take advantage of new trends and insights.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

There are a couple:

  1. Innovation is not something that necessarily comes from the top of an organisation. Harness the ideas of everybody around you.
  2. It is as important to ask the trade about all aspects of your service as it is to ask about the performance of your brand.

What song best describes your work ethic?

“Keep talking” – Pink Floyd