Key messages

  • Communicating value to shoppers through more price focused campaigns
  • Greater new product development to meet changing customer needs
  • Enhancing its position in convenience, making the offer right for the customer with more locally defined ranges 
  • Continued commitment to ethical leadership by promoting healthy eating, animal welfare and sustainable practices
  • Marketing aims to be effective and responsible while communicating rewards to customers
  • Boosting membership is a key priority to engage with consumers to build loyalty


How the Co-op trades

  • Consumer Co-op's have formed the buying group, Federal Trading Services (FTS), which is collectively owned by independent retail societies and the Co-op
  • The idea behind the federal organisation is to put everything together: quality, good prices, personalised services, convenience and co-operative distinctiveness
  • It was created to reduce costs through collaboration and efficiency
  • The FTS was designed to close of the gap with the Co-op's major competitors on buying effectiveness by ensuring a smooth supply chain

Trading priorities

  • Communicating value
  • New product development (NPD); product innovation is a key area of focus for the Co-op as it looks to develop its offer with changing customer needs
  • Enhancing its position in convenience; aiming to develop its stores based on customer missions tailored to specific catchment areas
  • Improving availability and logistics
  • Ethical leadership; the Co-op believes that ethical and healthy products should be available to everyone
  • Private label development is a key differentiator - brands include 'Free From' range, Co-op, and premium 'Irresistible' brand

Marketing strategy

Using the trust in the brand

  • The Co-op uses the trust in its brand to build on sales and attract new members
  • Celebrating the ethical way it sources food in new campaign and encourages people to sign up to its membership scheme
  • Explains how Co-op members can now get 5% back on all own-label food and drink purchases and 1% is used for their local communities
  • Features buzzwords such as 'Fairtrade' and 'British sourced'
  • Ethical positioning is possible because people trust the brand

Targeting millennials

  • The Co-op aims to use the momentum in food to generate new members across the group, particularly millennials
  • In targeting millennials, social media will continue to be a huge marketing focus
  • Putting data around digital ad channels as traditional spend is a focus
  • Initiatives such as its festival pop-ups help to enhance the brand perception of Co-op amongst younger shopper groups

Membership and community focus

  • Members receive points on purchases at all the Co-op businesses which are converted into cash and paid out twice a year. Members also receive exclusive offers, can vote on corporate policies and become involved in the society's charitable activities
  • In 2017 Co-op gave £20m to 8,000 local community projects chosen by members through the Local Community Fund
  • 200 Member Pioneers have been recruited to help drive collaboration for community causes at a local level - this will be rolled out to all 1,500 of Co-op's communities by 2020
  • Working to create a digital platform with tools to support community initiatives

Key messages for suppliers

  • To maximise trading opportunities with The Co-op, you should be  aware of its unique structure and priorities
  • Make sure your offer reflects convenience shopper missions with appropriate pack and case sizes for 'little and often' shopper missions
  • The Co-op will want to hear from suppliers that can demonstrate industry leading credentials in new product innovation
  • As the Co-op continues to drive its quality credentials in its PL ranges, are you keeping quality at the forefront of your strategy?
  • How can you support the Co-op's key points of difference in ethical trading, local sourcing or championing British?
  • What initiatives can you introduce to help increase Co-op's engagement with younger shoppers?