Last summer, we officially welcomed Ocado into the M&S family when we completed our Joint Venture partnership. Our aim was to create the UK’s best online grocer by bringing the best together: Ocado’s market leading service with our delicious quality food range.
Early this morning, M&S products were loaded on to Ocado’s fleet of vans and headed off direct to customers’ homes for the very first time. This marks a key moment in our food transformation strategy: to protect the magic of M&S—our market-leading quality, our famous innovation and exceptional sourcing—whilst modernising the rest—particularly our supply chain and the way we sell products.
2020 was always going to a transformative year for M&S food as we put all our full range online for the first time with Ocado. But what no one predicted was a year that would throw the whole food shopping sector under the spotlight, accelerate fundamental change in shopping habits and make people think about value more than ever.
But in this crisis we have seen what we are capable of—and I am immensely proud of the team at M&S that has responded with pace and agility to meet customer needs, with solutions such as temporary delivery partnerships and adapting the products we sell.
With the rapid growth of online grocery shopping during Coronavirus, it has made our partnership with Ocado more relevant than ever before. It’s also given us laser sharp focus on what we need to do: accelerate our growth through Ocado, unlock the value and efficiencies in our supply chain, and deliver trusted value across a bigger, better, fresher range of food.
But the benefits of our partnership extend simply beyond providing access to the full range of M&S products online.
In preparation, it’s made us look again at the breadth and depth of our range. We’ve listened to what customers want and added over 750 new products. Over 70% will land in selected stores this month as well as online—with more family pack sizes, more scratch cooking and baking ingredients, as well as increasing the range of household staples and organic options.
Going online makes our prices more visible than ever before and whilst we’re not interested in a race to the bottom, we are very serious about busting the myths around M&S pricing.
Part of ‘protecting the magic’ means upholding the things our customers love about our food, so last November we launched Remarksable—a new way of talking to customers about our trusted value, with a promise to never compromise our quality or sourcing standards. Our new TV campaign launched in August, focusing on staples and showcasing our sliced bread with added fibre and vitamin D for 65p and RSPCA assured milk for 85p.
Making customers think differently about M&S food has been the driving force behind our store renewal programme too. As an own-brand retailer, we need a store experience that shows the freshness, quality and value of product offer. One year on since our first renewal store in Hempstead Valley opened, we’re testing and learning in nine locations across the UK.
So whilst today is about the beginning of our long term partnership with Ocado, it is also an opportunity to show customers our full range of M&S products so they can see that we are serious about value whilst still maintaining our high standards.
As more families shop for M&S products online and reappraise our range, they will find that delicious, great quality M&S Food costs less than they think.