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Coles looks to online business to save $1 billion in costs
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ASX-listed Family Insights Group (ASX:FAM) and its grocery comparison mobile app Frugl are set to take advantage of the radical changes occurring to the Australian retail market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grocery market, lead by Australian retail giants Woolworths and Coles, has undergone enormous upheaval during the past two months, with panic buying and increased time spent by customers at home pushing demand beyond the retailers’ capabilities to maintain supply.

Despite considerable media attention on the responsibilities of retailers to consumers in these extremely difficult times, customers and media outlets have been suspicious of opportunistic behaviours by retailers, such as increasing prices across their broader ranges to take advantage of the increases in demand.

Commenting on these concerns, Sean Smith, Managing Director of Frugl says "our comprehensive analysis of pricing across 7,000 products available from both retailers between January and April of this year have shown no material increases in pricing by either Coles or Woolworths."

"We have seen substantially reduced promotional activity during late March and early April as they tried to deal with exploding demand stripping shelves of key items, however as of this week, regular promotional activities have resumed at close to normal levels for both retailers," Sean continued.

In results published this week by the grocery retailer, Coles showed record sales growth of 13.8% in the March quarter, versus the same period last year. Meanwhile, Woolworths showed growth of 10.3%.

And although sales volumes are returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, a year on year increase in online grocery shopping over quarter of 14% for Coles and 26% for Woolworths is unlikely to drop back to pre pandemic levels.

In fact, many customers are experiencing online shopping convenience for the first time. Add to this the likelihood of a long period of economic hardship for many Australians, the opportunity to help shoppers with better prices is dramatically increasing.

The Frugl Grocery Comparison mobile application, available on Apple and Android appstores, helps consumers find the best prices on products as well as helping find healthier options based on their own health profiles.

It does so by aggregating prices, ingredients and allergens from the major grocery retailer ranges and then makes them easy to find and build into lists for future price alerts and ease of shopping.

Rather than focussing on shopper subscription revenues, The Frugl business model is based on offering business customers advanced retail analytics. Behind the scenes, Frugl have completed an advanced data analysis ecosystem in readiness to supply retail pricing, promotions and customer analytics to Australia’s retailers and suppliers. 

With recent events having such a dramatic impact on both product forecasting and shopper behaviours, the need for advanced analytics in these areas has never been so critical.


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