Nisa held its Live conference for retail partners virtually and set out goals for the upcoming year.
During the virtual conference, Nisa announced it is investing in its logistics and delivery network as part of a new commitment to being the “number one distribution partner of choice for independent retailers”.
It is investing to enhance service levels across the network including making delivery faster, more efficient and easier for its partners to use. This includes an investment in new vehicles as part of Nisa’s ‘fleet refresh’ programme, helping to secure new specialist temperature-controlled vehicles. Nisa is also upgrading its depot sites, with improvements in refrigeration and freeze plants underway to cater to the growing demand for fresh.
It also announced a continued improvement of delivery methods, including how retailers receive chilled goods to minimise unpacking and stacking costs and improve efficiency. Planned for H2 2021, a new electronic proof of delivery system (e-POD) will enable a simpler paperless sign off process on delivery.
As part of this commitment, Nisa launched its Distribution Charter, which lays out clear promises to partners with regards to the logistics and distribution network. As part of this charter, Nisa aims to publish key performance information relating to distribution in order to increase transparency.
Chief operating officer John McNeill said: “This investment to improve the efficiency, reliability and ease-of-use of our service will ensure Nisa is able to maintain its market leading levels of availability and improve the distribution service for our partners. We want to ensure we are the wholesale delivery partner of choice for independent retailers and the significant investment, alongside our Charter, shows we are serious about this; it is important our partners have all the tools in place to grow their businesses, and that process starts with distribution.”
Head of logistics Kerinne Oliver added: “The distribution network is central to our wholesale proposition - the investment in replacing vehicles, upgrades to depot sites and data driven development will all streamline efficiencies and improve delivery service levels for partners. Our focus for 2021 is to enhance our data collection methods within the logistics operation, helping us to better identify trends and reduce layers of cost.”
It also introduced its partner proposition, ‘Nisa Fresh Thinking’, aimed at helping retailer partners create the best customer offer and grow their businesses.
According to Nisa, ‘Fresh Thinking’ will be at the centre of its business strategy and will underpin the way in which the Nisa brand is evolved for partners and shoppers. Under the scheme, partners will get access to retail expertise and thought leadership to help continually improve customer experience, through instore solutions, category insights, store format innovation and expert account management teams. They’ll also get the business support and tools and tailored support packages as well as access to a “high quality, fresh offer and the national recognition of Co-op own brand, backed up by market-leading availability service levels”.
Head of marketing at Nisa Laura Gomersal explained: “With the support of our partners, we’ve been working the last few months to define the Nisa proposition and Fresh Thinking will help guide our decisions based on our retailers’ needs.”
Nisa has promised to upweight its marketing support to help retailers add value within their stores. Partners with a ‘credible range’ of Co-op own brand products will get access to an enhanced multi-channel Proud to Stock support package. Nisa is also offering enhanced support of new product development and has launched the Co-op core essentials range
Laura added: “UK corner shops and independent retailers have seen a surge in sales in the last year and we will continue to support our partners with Fresh Thinking at the heart of everything we do. We understand shopper needs for every category and every convenience mission and are using this data and insight to bring the best offer for our partners.”
Investment in price
Nisa also announced a £2 million investment in price, in an effort to allow partners to remain competitive. The investment will see many items reduced in price on branded as well as Co-op own brand products, which have been dropped as part of its Fresh Thinking proposition to help partners meet changing shopper habits.
The investment has reduced the wholesale price of many Co-op Own brand products, including chicken fillets, baked beans and flour.
Nisa Retail CEO Ken Towle said: “We are always looking for ways to ensure our partners can adapt and grow in a fast-evolving market; this significant investment in price will ensure our partners stay competitive across a basket of goods, helping to drive sales and margin in key categories. I am also pleased to see Nisa remains cheapest across thousands of branded product lines compared with our competitors. We continually work hard to secure the best terms we can for our partners with the might of Co-op’s buying power behind us, and this significant investment is just one of a number of ways we are helping partners grow their businesses in 2021.”
Trading director at Nisa Retail Ayaz Alam said: “Co-op own brand significantly increases a partners profit on return, and this additional £2m will support our partners in a market where own brand is the coveted prize. Alongside our investment in price reductions, significant promotional activity and new product development planned for this year will enable our partners to stay competitive and adapt to changing consumer trends as we slowly emerge from lockdown.”