Data and insights – Not just providing results

28 May,2024

In our current climate, it’s fair to say that the grocery sector has been presented with a variety of challenges that have caused many retailers to question their certainty in the near future. From rising inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, and the shift in consumer behaviour, retailers in 2024 have undoubtedly felt immense pressure in trying to adapt to these very new, very real situations – all whilst facing the struggle of maintaining and growing their current market position, within the vast sea of competitors.

In the fast-paced world of grocery, harnessing the power of data and analytics is no longer just an option – it’s a necessity for brands striving to stay competitive. To leverage innovation, many brands are strategically utilising AI-powered tools, loyalty schemes, and new personalisation methods, in an attempt to access valuable insights which will consequently help them to improve customer experience and boost their overall growth.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a rise in big-name retailers making improvements to their business relationships with data and insights in an attempt to maintain their market position. A great example of this is retailer Morrisons, who have recently enlisted Savi, a digital platform that connects retailers and brands by providing real-time coupon validation and settlement for paper and mobile coupons. From this, Morrisons will gain valuable insights into how consumers will utilise coupons. Additionally, Sainsbury’s has recently welcomed their new Head of Digital, Tech, and Data, Shona McGuire, who will be a huge part in increasing the retailer’s innovation strategies. Innovation is now a key driver in staying ahead.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of utilising data insights effectively in the grocery/retail sector, especially in these turbulent times. We discuss how brands can maximise their data to stay ahead, focusing on how tools like Reapp are revolutionising the game.

We chat with Business Insights Business Unit Controller (BUC) Michael (Mike) Donnelly and Reapp Senior BUC Sean Hughes, who share their perspectives on why data provides many more tangible benefits than just giving results. 

Fuelling growth with analytics…

The retailers who have seen the importance of becoming a data-driven business are the ones with longevity. Those who have access to this advanced data can identify the impact of key events in society that are changing the way that consumers shop. With information like this, retailers can understand how they can create innovative experiences for shoppers that enhance customer satisfaction and improve loyalty.

Additionally, the use of standard reports is essential for monitoring the overall success of a retailer. The ability to track performance, profitability, and compliance can also help retailers gain valuable data-driven insights that inform their future actions. But what is the difference between standard reports and insights, and are they both as valuable as each other?

Michael Donnelly gives us his breakdown of the differences between the two…

Q: What’s the difference between standard reports and insights? Why are both crucial for brands seeking to leverage data effectively?

Michael: Standard reports offer a snapshot of past performance or current status with predefined metrics, while insights delve deeper into data analysis to uncover patterns, correlations, and actionable recommendations. Both solutions are crucial for brands seeking to leverage data effectively – standard reports provide a foundational understanding and monitoring of key performance indicators, enabling brands to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

Actionable insights offer a deeper understanding of underlying trends and opportunities, empowering brands to make informed strategic decisions and gain a competitive advantage through optimised strategies and innovations.

You don’t earn loyalty in a day…

Retail data analytics play a vital role in helping retailers to understand their consumers at a deeper level. With this understanding, they have a better chance of boosting the profitability of their stores. By gaining access to valuable insights (which can include purchase history, demographics, and social media activities), retailers have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding into why consumers are buying what they’re buying, how they’re doing it, and what is motivating them.

One method of gaining this data can be spotted through the use of loyalty card schemes. Due to the decrease in retailer loyalty and the cost-of-living crisis causing havoc on consumer behaviour, shoppers now value getting the best price and will employ the use of loyalty cards to help them to do so. By doing this, they are giving retailers valuable insights – just by doing their weekly shop.

As a way to give shoppers something back for this treasure trove of data, many retailers provide the incentive of competitive rewards, which they hope will, in turn, regain customer retention.

loyalty card 1

This year, rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s received scrutiny for making an estimated £300 million a year from their loyalty cards by selling information about their customers’ shopping habits and choices to consumer giants and TV companies. From this, they would use the data to ‘understand consumer behaviour and target people with advertisements linked to products that they are likely to buy’.

This is just one way that retailers may gain access to valuable data. Many may deploy the use of retail analysis software providers in order to help them gain access to data, which could include:

  • Consumer information
  • Inventory levels
  • Supply chain movement
  • Historical sales data

All these things help to supercharge their marketing efforts.

Every retailer needs a sidekick…

That’s where Reapp comes in…

Reapp is a suite of intelligent analysis software and tools, designed to help businesses score sales and better manage stock. By providing sales and stock insights in a matter of seconds, Reapp uses industry-leading AI technology and image recognition software to identify problems in compliance or gaps in stock levels. These factors help to provide insights into valuable purchasing retail analytics, meaning Reapp has truly got you covered!

We chatted to Sean Hughes, our Information Technology & BI Senior Business Unit Controller, about why Reapp is the ultimate FMCG toolkit for brands

reapp insight

Q: Using Reapp, how can brands utilise this data to gain insights into consumer behaviour and market trends?

Sean: Leveraging data-driven shopper insights can be incredibly valuable for brands seeking to understand consumer behaviour and market trends. Each brand has its own treasure trove of data gold waiting to be unearthed. Whether it’s customer preferences, market quirks, or out-of-the-box data collection methods, Reapp helps brands harness these unique data sources. By blending this data into Reapp’s mix, brands can serve up instant insights that catch the eye of big players looking for fresh perspectives.

Additionally, with Reapp’s analysis tools, brands can spot gaps in the market or areas ripe for innovation. By crafting offerings tailored to specific customer cravings, brands can position themselves as attractive partners for bigger brands seeking innovation and differentiation.

Brands that invest in Reapp’s data practices can be assured of consistency, accuracy, and timeliness. With proper data management, brands can count on our software to provide reliable insights, which are crucial for effective and strategic decision-making.

Supporting this, we’ve recently added Waitrose to our list of retailers that brands can plug into Reapp Insight. This development opens up even more opportunities for brands looking to drive results, reduce costs, and maximise ROI across even more retailers. With Waitrose data now pulling into Reapp Insight, brands can access valuable data and insights from one of the UK’s leading supermarket chains. We’re committed to empowering brands with the tools and insights needed to thrive in today’s competitive market. With the addition of Waitrose to our platform, we’re taking another step forward in our mission to revolutionise the grocery industry.

It’s all about reading between the lines

Brands that make use of vital data analytics that inform a bigger picture about their pricing strategy, marketing, merchandising, and inventory management, can then go on to make better-informed decisions that will ultimately help to increase revenue. By regularly reviewing data and making necessary tweaks to their field marketing strategies, retailers can steer towards scalable growth and greater profitability.

In our current climate, the grocery industry is both competitive and unpredictable – because of this, it is incredibly important for retailers to establish market trends as soon as they spot them.

A key trend could be something as simple as spotting the increase in consumers purchasing more at-home takeaway’ products. Many retailers and brands spotted this ‘fakeaway’ trend last year and responded by increasing their own frozen food product offerings. This trend came off the back of the cost of living crisis, with many shoppers opting to stretch their budget by swapping dining out for cheaper, frozen alternatives.

This highlights the importance of keeping an eye on consumer behaviour following cultural shifts.

We talk to Mike Donnelly about what else brands should be looking out for when it comes to data.


Q: When interpreting data, what should brands be looking for to inform their strategic decision-making and marketing efforts?

Mike: When interpreting data to inform strategic decision-making and marketing efforts, brands should be vigilant about several key factors.

Firstly, they need to identify meaningful patterns or trends within the data that can provide insights into consumer behaviour, market dynamics, and competitive landscapes. Additionally, brands should pay close attention to outliers or anomalies that may signify emerging opportunities or potential threats. Understanding the context surrounding the data (such as seasonal variations, economic factors, or cultural shifts) is crucial for accurate interpretation.

Moreover, brands should analyse data across multiple channels and touchpoints to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer interactions and preferences. Finally, it’s essential to prioritise actionable insights that align with strategic goals and drive tangible outcomes, whether it’s by optimising marketing campaigns, refining product offerings, or enhancing customer experiences. By keeping these considerations in mind, modern brands can effectively leverage data to make informed decisions and stay competitive in today’s dynamic market landscape.

How to super-charge your data…

A grocery store holds a wealth of data, gathering valuable information at each interaction point and pulling information from both internal and external sources. This includes tracking goods upon arrival in inventory, monitoring inventory levels as items are sold or returned, understanding consumer demographics, and assessing competitor pricing strategies. Analytics have the power to help retailers predict the future by showing them their next steps, which will consequently help to maximise opportunities.

In a recent study conducted by Expedia, they discovered that 95% of those in the industry say improving data quality has had a positive impact on the customer experience.

We then asked Mike how brands should use data insights to stay ahead in such a competitive landscape…

Q: How can brands maximise their data insights?

Mike: To maximise their data insights and stay ahead, brands should adopt a comprehensive approach that integrates advanced analytics techniques, fosters a data-driven culture, and prioritises agility and innovation. This entails investing in robust data infrastructure and analytics tools to effectively collect, process, and analyse data from various sources, such as Reapp Insights.

Brands should also cultivate cross-functional collaboration, ensuring that insights are shared across departments and translated into actionable strategies. Furthermore, continuous monitoring and adaptation are essential to remain responsive to evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences. By leveraging data to anticipate trends, identify opportunities, and optimise operations, brands can proactively innovate and maintain a competitive edge in their respective industries.

But how can you Reapp the benefits of your data? 

We chat to Sean who discusses how Reapp empowers brands and retailers to smash their targets.

Q: How does Reapp stand out as a tool for brands seeking to harness data and insights effectively?

Sean: Reapp is a premier solution for brands navigating the complexities of data utilisation.

Here’s why:

  • Efficient Data Collection and Integration: Reapp streamlines data collection and integration from diverse sources, providing brands with a unified and comprehensive view of their operations.
  • Advanced Analytics and Visualization: With our robust analytics capabilities, Reapp empowers brands to uncover actionable insights and visualise retail trends effectively, aiding in informed decision-making.
  • Real-Time Insights: Reapp delivers timely and accurate insights, enabling brands to monitor trends, assess campaign performance, and adapt strategies promptly for maximum impact.
  • Predictive Modelling and Machine Learning: Leveraging predictive modelling and machine learning algorithms, Reapp facilitates accurate forecasting of future trends and enhances personalised recommendations.
  • Scalability and Cost Efficiency: As a cloud-based platform, Reapp offers scalability without the burden of significant upfront investments, ensuring cost-effective access to advanced data tools for businesses of all sizes.

In essence, Reapp aligns with brands’ specific needs and objectives, offering a robust foundation for effective data-driven strategies and decision-making processes.

With access to personal data, comes big responsibility…

Handling various data sources can be difficult, especially when there’s a lot of it. To make sense of it all, retailers need to put everything from customer purchase trends to emails, and even external data, into one unified hub.

As consumers embrace digital technology more than ever, the data they generate presents both an opportunity for retailers to enhance their consumer engagement and a duty to safeguard consumer data. Greater access to real-time data enables brands to make informed decisions faster, but it also requires adapting to evolving data privacy regulations.

It’s crucial to emphasise that retailers are obligated to adhere to data protection regulations when gathering and using customer data. This encompasses laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Retailers must maintain transparency about the ways they collect data and inform consumers of their usage practices, all whilst granting customers the autonomy to manage their own data.

We ask Sean Hughes how he thinks brands will respond to recent developments in how data is accessed…

Q: How have recent changes in how data is accessed via retailer portals impacted brands’ ability to gather and analyse relevant information?

Sean: UK retailers obviously operate independently from each other, and each store has its own, unique methods for data delivery. In some instances, morphing into new/different processes is ever-evolving, which sometimes makes it more difficult to get to the data brands need on a daily/ weekly basis.

Reapp takes this ‘pain’ away, by investigating, monitoring, and evolving along with each retail brand and their changes, ensuring that the delivery of front-end dashboards is consistent and as up-to-date as possible. So although retailers are continually challenging the marketplace with a multitude of changes, Reapp remains consistent in its insight.

The AI phenomenon …


Since its introduction, AI has transformed every facet of the industry. AI is undoubtedly great at handling huge amounts of data quickly, in a way that the average person could not. Thanks to AI, we’re able to get fast insights into consumer behaviour with suggestions on how to curate personalised campaigns and content.

Additionally, with machine learning, AI helps brands to make content that’s even more specific and helpful. Ultimately, AI is revolutionising how brands make sense of data by automating data analysis, detecting patterns, and predicting future trends.

A great example of AI and other innovative forms of technology being utilised in the grocery industry can be seen by the online retail giant Ocado with their OSP (Ocado Smart Platform), which they dub to be the ‘next lead of game-changing technology’. By utilising a combination of artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, they achieve unmatched operational efficiencies and ‘delightful’ customer experiences. Because of their capabilities, Ocado Smart Platform partners can offer their customers a better online grocery proposition across choice, short lead times, and value, with the best economics.

We chat to Mike about the impact of AI and how he thinks it will shape the way that brands interact with data.

Q: How is AI (and other technological advancements) changing the way brands make sense of data?

Mike: AI and other technological advancements are fundamentally transforming the way brands make sense of data, by enabling more efficient processing, analysis, and interpretation at scale. AI algorithms, including machine learning and natural language processing, can sift through vast amounts of data rapidly, uncovering patterns, trends, and correlations that may have been overlooked using traditional methods.

These technologies facilitate predictive analytics, allowing brands to anticipate consumer behaviour, optimise marketing strategies, and personalise customer experiences in real time. Moreover, AI-powered tools automate routine tasks, freeing up human resources for higher-level decision-making and creative endeavours.

A Key takeaway: Case Study

We chat to Business Insight Executive, Michael Whitfield who provides us with an case study so that we can see what Reapp insight can really do…

Q: Please can you elaborate on your recent discovery of someone using insight where a customer had increased ROI from £2.50 to +£7′?

Mike Whitfield: We reviewed our call objectives and performance in 2023 with focus on ROI with New World Foods. The key direction for that meeting was to consider if we needed to change our call strategy and store plan.

The priority was to support the New World Foods’ (NWF) client team with a targeted list of Tesco stores which provide the most amount of sales opportunity. The goal was to create a list of the top 600 stores reachable via our ISS team. In order to find the stores with the most opportunity, I looked at high stock figures vs low sales figures. I then used New World Food’s Reapp Insight report as my data source.

Before I presented a list of 600 stores, I thought about how else we could conduct a series of calls using the sum of 600 as the budget. I came up with another call strategy. This is where the Business Insights team shines.

I presented this insight back to our contact at NWF and we succeeded in gaining buy-in for data-led visits. We visited the Top 300 stores first, reviewed results, and then used the rest of the budget to target the stores with the highest RSV and LSV – An informed way of using the budget of 600 calls. Our first wave of calls delivered an ROI of £7.10. The second wave of calls delivered £8.76 ROI. This is compared to the average from our previous 6 campaigns of £2.91. An increase of 143% and 201% respectively.

data and insights

Q: Lastly, where do you think data and insights are headed? And how’s that going to shake things up for brands trying to make their mark?

Mike: Data and insights are heading towards a future where they become even more intertwined with every aspect of business operations and decision-making processes. Advancements in technology, particularly in AI and machine learning, will continue to enhance the depth and accuracy of data analysis, enabling brands to derive more nuanced insights from their datasets.

Due to the unpredictability of the industry, harnessing data should be a vital approach for any brand or retailer looking to future-proof their strategies to ensure longevity in a tough market. By utilising data, hand in hand with AI and other technology advances, retailers can gain valuable insights which will help transform their strategies.

Actionable data is something that should be monitored constantly to ensure retailers are reactive and don’t miss the boat when it comes to new market trends. By staying open-minded to the use of data whilst exploring the many new technological advances, the industry sees an increase in curating personalised experiences tailored to consumer needs.

If you’re a retailer or brand looking to stay ahead of the curve by maximising your data journey by helping you make data-led decisions, speak to us today! Let our tech do the heavy lifting and let us show you what Reapp can do for you…