By Deborah Jackson, Editor, National Liquor News

Speaking to National Liquor News for its current Leaders Forum issue, the Liquor Director of the Coles Liquor Group, Greg Davis, has highlighted the group’s progress in its five-year turnaround strategy and his hopes for the year ahead.

Coles has just finished the third year of its five-year strategy and Davis said after the initial hard work, the plan is remaining on track.

“At the beginning of the turnaround, we worked really hard on building a plan we thought would allow our brands to succeed in the marketplace,” Davis told National Liquor News.

“We’re pleased to say we remain on track in delivering on that plan. We started by building a solid foundation and driving customer centricity. This included investing in value, in our stores, in our service culture and in systems and process to simplify the way we work.

“Although we’ve delivered a great deal of change in these areas, they remain critical and we will continue to focus on them. We’re proud to be delivering a much more consistent experience for our customers and team members, particularly in-store. These are all the result of tireless efforts from our team to improve and grow the business.”

In looking forward to the challenges and opportunities for Coles Liquor in the year ahead, Davis said: “Customers lift their expectations of us every year, which creates both opportunities and risks. Each of our brands work hard to excel at meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations by having a clear customer focus when it comes to decision making.

“We stay close to our customers’ needs by investing in detailed customer insights and engaging directly with our customer base.

“For example all our leaders across each of our banners complete customer immersion sessions where they walk in the shoes of a customer, before receiving their feedback. This allows us to stay close to trends and test our offer out with the people that matter most.”

David also added his thoughts on what he thought would be the big trends in 2018, saying: “We are fortunate to be part of the Flybuys customer loyalty program which gives us great insights into changing customer behaviour and trends as they happen.

“We’ve noticed customers are increasingly looking to try new things and expand their repertoire. How they decide what to try is influenced by the story behind the brand and what makes it special. They’re also interested in the combination of food and drinks and ‘what goes well with that’. So while the role of the liquor retailer will always be to get the basics right, like having great value, availability and service, customers increasingly expect us to know the brands and their stories.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us and our supply base and we’re looking forward to working closely together to make the most of it.”

For more from Davis on the highlights of 2017 and the group’s Liquor Market trial, plus insights from the industry’s most influential personnel, take a look at the 2018 Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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