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Why our omnichannel strategy means the Coles Digital team is better placed to create sustainable change

By Suj Rana, GM Customer Experience & Technology at Coles


Suj Rana, GM Customer Experience

Accelerating Coles eCommerce mission and investing in an omnichannel approach with the customer experience at the heart of what we do, is key to staying relevant and connected to our customers in a rapidly evolving industry.

Now more than ever, retail companies need to adapt and reinvent themselves and Coles is no exception. Being more than just a supermarket, Coles is driving sustainability and has fast-tracked its eCommerce aspirations to meet the continued growing demand for online shopping.

For Coles eCommerce, our vision is to become Australia’s preferred omnichannel grocery option. Adopting an omnichannel lens to customer experience ensures that we can be there for our customers in the way they need us to be.

Our customers’ expectations are continually increasing, and their shopping habits are shifting. Gone are the days of the one weekly ‘in-store’ shop. Our customers interact with the brand based on what makes sense to them in a way that fits around their lifestyle. They want inspiring recipe ideas, greater delivery options and personalised offers.

Omnichannel customers are twice as valuable to us then customers who purchase either just online, or just in-store. The simpler we make it for these customers during their interactions, the happier they are and the more likely they are to continue shopping with us.

One great success story is our Coles App shopping list, which allows our customers to see the aisle order of items they’ve bought previously in their local store, to help them more easily navigate and speed up their shop. Another is our new Coles Plus membership that allows customers to earn benefits on products across multiple channels both physical and digital, whilst providing a compelling offer that provides value for money.

To deliver a seamless omnichannel and unified experience for our customers, Coles eCommerce is curating a team of highly talented digital professionals to create the best digital team in retail by the end of 2023. This team will be responsible for highly visible initiatives that have the potential to impact millions of Australians across our communities.

We’re recruiting passionate and skilled individuals across the country within software engineering, UX and UI design, analytics, product management and delivery, whilst simultaneously investing in world-leading technology and fulfilment solutions that will see our teams working across many ‘firsts’ for retail and eCommerce in Australia.

As we evolve, we’re also shifting our ways of working to be product focussed and customer obsessed. Too often, internal organisational structures unintentionally impact how we create experiences for our customers. Coles eCommerce has already transitioned our teams to work in an agile fashion through a business led digital transformation. This resulted in the creation of squads (cross functional teams focused around a key product) and crews (a collection of squads focused around a customer mission) that are driven to a performance based culture around objectives and key results (OKR’s).

By breaking down functional silos, we ensure that each squad has the right team member capabilities to create experiences end-to-end. Whether they be developers, operations, marketing or accessibility, our ambition is to ensure that omnichannel thinking is built into the process itself, not an afterthought.

Our shift to this model has shown tremendous results demonstrated by a faster speed to market, better team member engagement and awareness of key customer pain points, and a broader perspective to solving problems. We are now enabling our team to create sustainable change that adapts to the current challenges around multiple touchpoints, while also creating a strong foundation that will help us adapt to future trends.

It’s an exciting time for Coles eCommerce as we expand our digital team and re-shape our ways of working to put our customers first. Our transformation is gaining momentum and we’re seeing wins for our customers and organisation. I am thrilled to be part of brand that is focussed on evolving its digital strategy for future growth. We have a strong leadership group who support a culture of learning and innovation, and we’re fostering an environment that allows amazing people the ability to contribute to meaningful work deliver on our purpose to sustainably feed all Australians and help them lead healthier, happier lives.

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