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Morrisons boss cements new direction in first ad lauding manned tills and customer service

Morrisons has rolled out its first advert under new boss David Potts, heralding its customer service and manned checkouts in a bid to distinguish itself amid the price-led marketing of its Big Four rivals.

The DLKW Lowe spot was delayed from release in March this year as Potts settled into his role following the swift exit of Dalton Philips amid dismal Christmas sales.

Among his first changes, Potts committed to reintroducing 1000 manned tills to stores after research found that 60 per cent of British shoppers would opt to use a staffed check out over self-service.

He said at the time: "If customers from time to time do smaller shops they want to get in and out of our stores quickly. We are responding by introducing Express Checkouts which shoppers with ten items or less can use.

"These checkouts - and our very helpful colleagues - will offer a quick and personal service, helping to keep queues low and improving thousands of shopping trips."

Playing out to the tune ‘Baby Come Back’, the advert shows customers engaging with staff as they rush though checkouts. A voiceover says: “At Morrisons, we’re bringing back express checkouts in every store”, before ending on the line “welcome back.”

It will run from tomorrow (20 May) among current ads from rivals Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, all of which continue to focus on price in a bid to stay competitive with the likes of Aldi and Lidl.

Asda’s offering highlights that it has “locked down” prices, while Tesco shows that it is lowering prices in everyday items. Similarly, Sainsbury’s is continuing to tell consumers that it’s “still hard at work lowering prices.”

Before his exit from the supermarket earlier this year, group marketing director Nick Collard told The Drum that the supermarket war “can’t be won on just price”.

“The market is never going to be won just on price and people, we have to have a very distinct brand,” he said.

A return to manned tills is among a number of initiatives the retailer has embarked on in a bid to differentiate and turnaround sales, such as the sponsorship of the Great North Run to strengthen its association with healthy living and fresh food.

Meanwhile, the improved customer experience in-store will continue to be an area of focus for the coming year. Potts recently announced that it will cut up to 720 head office jobs to supplement the hiring of 5,000 in-store staff.

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