CMO Lisa Ronson: What the Coles expansion with Adobe means for marketers

Adobe and Coles Group have announced a major expansion of their strategic partnership, focused on redefining the supermarket shopping experience to make it more personal for Australian customers while protecting their security and privacy.

Adobe first partnered with Coles’ 100+ year old supermarket business in 2014, initiating an enduring strategic relationship with one of Australia’s leading retailers and well-known brands.

Coles Group CMO, Lisa Ronson. (Pictured.)

Coles said it will leverage Adobe Experience Cloud and its Real-Time Customer Data Platform (RT-CDP) to create consistent, rich, engaging, personalised experiences for all customers – wherever they are, whenever they engage. It will be tailored to each individual customer’s needs while protecting their safety and privacy.

Coles Group, CMO, Lisa Ronson, told Mumbrella: “The primary reason we’re doing this is to create better customer experiences from an omni-channel perspective. Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer in Australia, and to deliver on this vision we need to increase our NPS (net-promoter-score) and our customer advocacy. We know that customer experiences are absolutely essential to doing that.”

Ronson added: “The other part of it, for marketers, and we say it a lot, is walking the talk, and that our customers’ interactions with us will be compared to their last best interaction with a brand, and so their expectations of us are really high. Particularly, when you’re a supermarket brand that they interact with quite a lot.

“Almost all Australians coming through our stores in the course of two weeks or a month period, and what comes with that and the role that we play in all of the communities that we work in, is an expectation that we know them, and we can help them in terms of their everyday needs, their inspirations, getting very target with what promotions we send them, what content we serve up to them, whether that be recipe content, as I mentioned inspiration, or it may be value communications, or other types of communications that we put in front of our customers. If they’re timely and relevant, they’re going to be a lot more engaging.”

The pandemic has rapidly accelerated Australians’ shift towards online grocery shopping, with Coles supermarkets achieving e-commerce sales growth of 46% in 1H FY22, and significantly increasing its digital interactions with customers. With in-store operations comprising more than 90% of Coles’ customer purchases and shoppers often switching between digital and physical destinations, they increasingly expect a seamless, end-to-end experience across online and offline channels.

Adobe vice president and managing director, Suzanna Steele, told Mumbrella: “Coles is one of Australia’s most loved and respected brands, servicing communities around Australia for more than a century.

“Maintaining that status means keeping the trust and loyalty of customers, and our partnership ensures that customer insight, personalisation and relevant content can underpin that goal.”

To deliver personalised experiences to its millions of customers in real-time, Coles is using Adobe RT-CDP, including Adobe Journey Optimiser (AJO), to unify customer data sets drawn from the web, apps, and in-store channels, to create a complete view of each customer. With AJO, Coles can manage scheduled omnichannel campaigns and one-to-one moments for millions of customers from a single application. The entire customer journey is optimised with intelligent decisioning and insights, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning from Adobe Sensei, the Adobe’s AI engine.

As Coles unifies and operationalises a first-party data platform, Adobe’s RT-CDP will ensure it does so with best-in-class data security, governance and privacy controls — the essential ingredients for earning customers’ trust and loyalty. According to Adobe’s ‘2022 Trust Report’, responsible use of data is the price of admission for earning customer trust. In Australia, 85% of consumers are concerned about how companies are using their data, and nearly one in two consumers are very concerned.

Coles customers can expect to see a number of enhancements to their shopping and brand experience, including timely communication from Coles that’s sent to customers at the right time, in their preferred channel, with even more personalised recommendations and offers. Interactions across online, mobile, app, click-and-collect and in-store will deliver consistent, personalised and trusted experiences.

Coles Group chief execuitive, e-commerce, Ben Hassing, added: “A significant proportion of the Australian population turn to Coles for their daily shopping essentials, and they rely on an experience that caters to their diverse needs.

“With changing expectations among omnichannel shoppers, Adobe’s customer data platform will advance our objective to deliver seamless, consistent and valuable experiences no matter how our customers want to engage.”

To augment the RT-CDP, Coles has also selected Adobe to provide a Digital Asset Management (DAM) and its Marketing Resource Management (MRM) solution, Adobe Workfront. This is designed to consolidate the digital assets Coles uses to engage customers and facilitate more effective collaboration between Coles’ marketing, agencies, and broader business functions, to drive efficiencies through workflow automation.


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