Morrisons unveils debut ad campaign for online grocery launch

Morrisons has unveiled the first ads to back the launch of its long-awaited online shopping business, making its first deliveries today (10 January) as it looks to boost flagging sales with a move into the rapidly growing online grocery market.

morrisons-online-ads-2014-460
Morrisons launches its online delivery service with local marketing push.

The first deliveries are available in Warwickshire and West Yorkshire, before London and South Yorkshire go live in mid-2014 and the service expands to the north west of England before the end of the year. The launch is accompanied by a local marketing push, with press, radio and out-of-home ads.

A Morrisons spokesperson says: “[The ads] “bring to life that our service offers a distinctively Morrisons online experience. We’ve combined our expertise in fresh food and craft skills with the best technology and logistics.”

Morrisons has partnered with Ocado for its online venture and is hoping a focus on fresh food and customer service will help differentiate it from more established rivals and persuade shoppers to switch to its offering.

Morrisons cited its lack of online offering as part of the reason why it had such a distastrous Christmas. Sales at the supermarket were down 5.6 per cent in the 6 weeks to Christmas and it was forced to issue a profit warning.

By comparison, Tesco saw sales fall by 2.4 per cent while Sainsbury’s boasted growth of 0.2 per cent. Both saw their performances boosted by online, with Tesco’s online sales up 14 per cent and Sainsbury’s up 10 per cent.

The big four supermarkets are all facing growing competition as customers increasingly head to discounters and premium grocers. Both Aldi and Lidl are expected to have seen double-digit sales increases, while Waitrose posted a 3.1 per cent rise and food sales at Marks & Spencer were up 1.6%.

Morrisons is at a disadvantage because it is under-represented in two areas – online and convenience – that are seeing the biggest growth as grocery shopping becomes increasingly multi-channel. It also doesn’t have its own loyalty programme, a factor that hit it particularly badly this year when its rivals turned to vouchering to boost sales.

Morrisons is now also planning to launch a loyalty programme, with trials expected to start in the next couple of months. However, Shore Capital analyst Clive Black warns that these latest moves may not be enough, with the supermarket chain needing to rethink its whole brand, particularly its focus on fresh food.

“We are of the view that Morrison’s is under-performing because of the fundamental issues with its brand, stores and offer and not these other matters, to think otherwise is dangerous to our minds. Indeed, we believe that the Fresh Formats approach did much to ostracise core customers of Morrison’s but not attract new ones.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here