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'In terms of offering the best customer excellence on this planet, I can see there are parallels between Jumbo and Amazon'

Jumbo

Rupert Parker Brady and Maarten Beernink recently published an update of the book 'Jumbo wil altijd winnen' (Jumbo always wants to win). We talk to retail expert Parker Brady about the ambition of the Dutch supermarket company Jumbo to become the most customer-centric company in the world. And yes, there's no escaping the comparison with giant Amazon.

"Of course, that comparison isn't true in terms of size,'' says Parker Brady. "But in terms of offering the best customer excellence on this planet, I can see there are parallels.'' In the book, he writes about Amazon's original mission: 'To be the earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavouring to offer the lowest possible prices.' Parker Brady believes that Jumbo - regularly voted the most customer-centric company in the Netherlands - can still learn a thing or two from Amazon, with some examples listed here:
- The focus on the customer is transparent, both inside and outside the organization;
- From high-level management to delivery services, the customer is always number one;
- Continuously invest in new developments to remain at the forefront of the learning curve;
- Develop an aptitude for digital disruption through continuous experimentation;
- Consistency is significant in terms of brand image, but disruption is key to help you stand out among your competitors.

Of course, Royal Jumbo Food Groep is 100% focused on the customer, but there is still room to step things up, especially in the digital area. In other words, there's still plenty to be done. ''My conclusion is that if Jumbo wants to become the most customer-oriented company in the world, they must be a digitally driven, customer-oriented family outfit in the business of delivering food experiences any time, any place for any target audience.'' According to Parker Brady, the focus needs to be on food experience in the coming years; so while initially, the availability of grocery products in the supermarket shops was the main focus, now it is basically about all the things customers are looking for when they want to experience food; from ultra-freshly prepared food to eat in or out, instore restaurants, to home delivery and other services. "That's taking things to a whole new level. Jumbo has learned considerably from the freshly prepared food service proposition of the iconic restaurant chain La Place. They know people in all their 700 supermarket shops really want to actually engage with food. That's what they're busy working on now: offering every day theatre on the shop floor. It won't be long before every single Jumbo store will have transformed from an ordinary supermarket to a veritable food walhalla.''

What can we expect the world of food service to look like then in the coming years?
"Jumbo wants to be relevant everywhere, also within the HEMA department stores in the Benelux that the Jumbo-family Van Eerd acquired last year. Elements of La Place will definitely be integrated in the almost 700 stores in the Benelux. This means Jumbo is actually increasing their footprint from 700 to almost 1400 stores. Market leader Albert Heijn only has 1100 stores! I believe probably twenty to thirty percent of the floorspace in an average HEMA will soon carry the distinctly yellow Jumbo elements. It is a matter of time before the HEMA restaurants will be transformed into La Place restaurants. Plus there will be La Place and Jumbo branded food products for sale.  Both brands will cooperate online at Jumbo.com and the online store of HEMA. They are carrying out tests with HEMA loyalty cards in a number of Jumbo stores."

If food service is so broadly defined, then being able to order something is also part of that, right? Isn't it logical for people to also have the option to order food on a Jumbo app?
"That's a good question, and of course there will be more acquisitions. There are now a lot of groceries on demand delivery grocery services such as Gorillas. In the long run there will be a few of those superfast startups left in time. Bol.com of Ahold Delhaize will go public next year, because doing so will generate more capital for them to realize those acquisitions. They will also be looking to claim the domain of on demand grocery services. Jumbo's operations are currently in the Netherlands and Belgium, but they do look across the border with the foodservice format La Place Express. More importantly, the family Van Eerd has considerable sums in their coffers. It could well be that the next purchase in the area of food experience will be outside of the Netherlands."

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