Pret ramps up digital focus with shift away from ‘shops first’ mentality

The sandwich chain is on the hunt for a new global creative agency to aid its ongoing digital transformation and wider transition to a post-lockdown world.

PretCoffeePret A Manger is looking to accelerate its digital transformation and shift away from being a “shops first brand” through the appointment of a new global agency with digital creative expertise.

In the latest sign of Pret’s ambitions to significantly step up its move towards an end-to-end digital experience, the chain wants the new agency to support its “ongoing transformation programme” and lead on digital communications and multi-channel campaigning across Europe, Asia and the US.

The hunt for a new agency comes with the end of lockdown appearing on the horizon and changes in consumer behaviour, most notably working from home, expected to remain firmly in place in the post-pandemic landscape.

“Like a lot of businesses, we’ve got to rethink the way we reach and serve new customers, and that’s why we’ve launched this pitch process,” explains Pret’s chief customer and growth officer, Dan Burdett.

“Our new global creative partner will help us to change the way we communicate with customers, transforming us from a shops first brand to one which has a truly omnichannel approach, helping us to take Pret to more people in 2021 and beyond.”

Burdett joined Pret in January from his previous role as CMO at ticketing company Tiqets. He is tasked with overseeing the brand’s omnichannel approach and leading the strategic digital marketing transformation globally, including the partnership with the new agency.

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The fact Pret’s ongoing digital shift is continuing apace is all part of the brand’s desire to bring the brand to more people, rather than relying on customers flocking to its outlets during office lunch breaks.

The chain has certainly been keeping busy over the past 12 months, upping its social and digital presence since the start of lockdown. That’s included the launch of monthly coffee subscription service YourPret Barista, conceived and launched within just a couple of months of the onset of Covid-19.

Pret has also ramped up its coffee offerings for sale via Waitrose and Amazon, as well as investing in its partnerships with delivery services Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, trailing click-and-collect offerings and the soft launch of Dinners by Pret, a selection of casual evening meal offerings. In addition, the company has launched an app catering to the US market.

Pret is, however, one of the few high street restaurants yet to confirm whether it will reopen its branches on 12 April, when government restrictions will be lifted to allow outdoor dining.

The pitch process for Pret’s new global creative agency will begin early this month, with plans for the new agency to be in place by May.