Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket, last week announced it had struck a deal with online grocery retailer Ocado, which will enable it to provide an online shopping service.
The move means that all of the UK’s major supermarkets will now offer an online service, and means that Morrisons will now be in a position to take advantage of changing consumer behaviour.
The partnership is also intriguing because of Ocado’s existing relationship with rival brand Waitrose.
Using YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, we can see that the announcement of the deal had a significant impact on Twitter. On 17 May, 24 per cent of the UK Twitter population heard about Morrisons – this compares to just one per cent the day before the announcement. Over two-thirds of tweets about Morrisons that day also included the word “Ocado”.
But while the deal is obviously attracting attention, what impact will it have on both of the so-called big four supermarket brands?
It is when we look at the YouGov brand index scores (the index score is a composite of six key image measures: general impression, value, quality, satisfaction, recommendation and corporate reputation) for Morrisons and Waitrose – and then break them down along regional lines – that an interesting picture emerges.
Among consumers living in the south, we can see that Waitrose scores much better than Morrisons, with an index score of plus 45 compared to plus 20.
Yet when we focus on consumers from the north, Morrisons is well ahead of Waitrose, with a score of plus 33 compared to plus 23.
So it is clear that Ocado’s supermarket partners have different regional strengths. By partnering with one supermarket chain that performs well in the south, and another one that is more dominant in the north, Ocado has certainly opened the door to spread its brand across the whole country. It will be interesting to monitor perceptions of all three brands as the deal becomes reality.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov