Contagious Insight /
Price and convenience / Big convenience store chains like Alepa typically stay profitable by charging a premium price for goods that consumers could find at larger stores for much cheaper. For example, the BBC reported in November 2018 that supermarkets in the UK increase prices in their smaller branches, with one chain charging £10 more for a trolley of groceries in a smaller shop than in its superstore. In a Tesco Superstore, continues the article, you’ll be charged 9p ($0.12) for a banana, while the brand’s smaller stores, Tesco Express, will charge you 25p ($0.32). This extra cost is typically attributed to the convenience that the local stores offer consumers, but when a person can’t find the items they want on a regular basis, the convenience store stops being all that ‘convenient’.
Alepa’s Block Wish campaign is a solution to this problem, as through Facebook Messenger, consumers can ensure that the products they want are available at their most convenient store. They may take 48 hours to arrive, but data from the 2015 Deloitte Consumer Review on Made-to-order: The rise of mass personalisation, discovered that 48% of people are willing to wait longer for a personalised product or service. Equally the same report details that 20% of consumers are willing to pay a 20% premium for personalised products or services. Therefore, through Block Wish, Alepa has positioned itself both as a co-operative that cares about the communities it services and as a high-value service that consumers might be more willing to pay a premium for.
Working Cooperatively / Scandinavian countries such as Finland are famous for implementing co-operative business models, these being organisations that are jointly run by its members, who equally share in the profits or benefits: Finland is considered the most co-operative country in the world, with 84% of people being subscribed to at least one, while 56% have joined at least two, according to the Coop Exchange. Alepa’s parent company is HOK-Elanto, which claims to be the largest private employer in the country, with 40,700 employees across 1,841 outlets, including grocery stores, coffee shops, gas stations and hotels. According to the 2018 financial statement of the S Group, business is booming, with retail sales growing 2.7% and sales volumes increasing 2.2% in 2018.
The success of co-operatives is down to the people who support them; co-operative shoppers believe that if they choose to spend their money there, the business will give back to their local community. Block Wish brings greater value and choice to neighbourhoods, but also highlights the unique effectiveness of a co-operative network, with the brand being able to use HOK-Elanto’s network of businesses to deliver on the tight 48-hour deadline. But this model isn’t exclusive to Scandinavia. In the Q3 2019 issue of Contagious magazine, we featured a brand spotlight on the UK-based Co-operative (Co-Op), shining a light on how the cooperative model is improving local communities, delivering value to consumers and turning a profit that its members receive as dividends. Magazine subscribers can read our Co-Op brand spotlight here.