The Consumer is King!

Stephen O’Riordan, CEO, Londis ADM
Stephen O’Riordan, CEO, Londis ADM

Our sincerest thanks to chief executive of ADM Londis Stephen O'Riordan, for being ShelfLife's Guest Columnist this month



20 April 2009

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The international turmoil and economic downturn that has dominated all of our lives over the last number of months has brought with it an interesting if not unexpected silver lining;

the consumer has become king again.

With the average cost of living down almost universally across the range of everyday services, retailers of every description have to take a serious self examination at the continued value they offer to their consumers.

An offspring of the boom-times, the dreaded phrase ‘cash rich, time poor’ consumer was often highlighted as the key audience for the convenience marketplace. However, this phrase also betrayed a critical imbalance in the consumer-retailer relationship. During the Celtic Tiger era consumers placed less emphasis on value, as did retailers, opting instead for the variety of trends, convenience and higher quality.

These three aspects are all still important; however, the impact of an economic downturn has re-ordered the consumer’s requirements with VALUE once again becoming number one. Within the grocery retail industry, we are all faced with this challenge, from supplier to symbol group to individual retailer alike, we must strive to provide the everyday consumer with an enhanced value proposition.

Within the grocery retail industry the green-shoots of increased value are evident. I have been encouraged over the last number of weeks to see the entrepreneurial spirit re-surface again in Ireland as retailers across the country are beginning to find innovative routes to offer value. A case in point was the restaurant in Munster that enticed customers to eat a meal and pay what they considered to be a fair market price. As a concept it might not work in every industry, but you must admit a fantastic endorsement of its own product nonetheless.

The consumer is most definitely king again, a role it should ALWAYS maintain.



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