Sainsbury’s ditches multi-buy promotions
UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has fast-tracked its programme to remove multi-buy promotions on food, instead lowering regular prices on everyday items.
The retailer has been gradually removing multi-buys from its stores over two years and has sped-up the project in recent months due to customer appetite for simpler, clearer prices.
Sainsbury’s decision to replace multi-buys with lower regular prices is in response to changing shopping habits with customers shopping more frequently, often buying fewer items. Careful management of household budgets, a growing awareness of the cost of food waste and more health-conscious living have also driven a trend away from multiple product purchasing towards more single item purchasing.
Sainsbury’s Food Commercial Director, Paul Mills-Hicks, said: “We’ve worked hard to phase out multi-buys as quickly as we could because our customers tell us they value choice and a simpler shopping experience. It’s very interesting to see people experimenting with new products and pack sizes now that they are not tied in to multi-buys.
“It’s clear that shoppers are enjoying the freedom to make decisions about what they buy based on what they need, rather than what’s on offer. Customers are also telling us that ultimately they’re saving money because they’re wasting less and only buying what they need.
“Our pricing strategy is all about ensuring we are well placed to give our customers what they want, when they want it. Multi-buys are out of step with changing shopping habits and we call on other retailers to follow our lead to remove multi-buys, making shopping easier for customers and food waste easier to manage.”
The supermarket is also experimenting a one-hour delivery service called Chop Chop, offering London customers within three kilometres of the trial Wandsworth store the chance to have up to 20 items delivered to them for £4.99.
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SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”