business news in context, analysis with attitude

In the UK, The Grocer reports that Tesco plans to expand the range of products carried in its Express stores, with a greater focus on local products – and has committed to making it easier for small suppliers to gain access to its buyers.

The company also said that it would do more demographic studies to assure that its product offering is relevant on a store-by-store basis.
KC's View:
These kinds of statements by Tesco are interesting because they may suggest some of the approaches that the company will use to differentiate itself when it begins opening stores in California early next year.

But it also is interesting because these statements brought us back to a pair of statements we heard made in different speeches last year. In one, Deborah Grassi, the former senior manager of research and database management for Sam’s Club and director of CRM with Wal-Mart Financial Services, and currently a retailing and CPG consultant with Acxiom, said that it is critical for retailers to engage in the study of psychographics, which is looking “not just at what consumers do, but how they think and what they feel.” Demographics, she said, “is the study of how people are similar, while psychographics is the study of how people are different.”

And in the other presentation, Paula E. Payton, of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management at Templeton College at the University of Oxford, said, “We know a lot about supply chain management, but we are a lot less successful at demand management.”

We think that any store looking to differentiate itself in the modern marketplace has to be good at these two things – understanding what makes people different, and understanding the science and art of demand management.