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Insight: Waitrose price cuts across its Essentials range proves that the times are a changin'

11 October 2017 13:48pm

It’s eight years since Waitrose introduced their Essential range, which has since become the mainstay of many a shopping trolley in middle England and has done well to shift the high price tag perception of the brand.

But 2017 is not the same as 2009, and in a world where halloumi, artichokes and ironing water are now (apparently) considered ‘essential’ by many consumers, and the German discounters continue to spring up in every town, Waitrose has refreshed the range with a two-pronged strategy.

Firstly, they’ve introduced around 300 new products to take account of our changing tastes, and secondly, they’ve dropped the price on hundreds of existing Essential products. They’re campaigning the refreshed range heavily (more on that shortly)… but it got us wondering, who exactly is this move aimed at?

Is it to reassure the hardcore Waitrose shopper (who is no doubt flirting heavily with Lidl and Aldi, probably somewhere in the Luxury aisles) that there’s no need to go elsewhere? Certainly it seems that way when you you dig a little deeper into the new campaign messaging: ‘at the heart of our essential range is the belief you shouldn’t have to compromise your standards’. Ouch.

The ‘new lower prices’ part of Waitrose’s strategy certainly back this up… because when you’re buying halloumi every week, you’d surely welcome a permanent 30p price drop…

Or is the campaign trying to attract the steadfast Lidl and Aldi customers who have so far never shopped at Waitrose? And if so, how likely are these customers – loyal to the discounters for price over quality – to give Waitrose a try? Particularly when the halo perception of the brand remains undoubtedly ‘posh’?

The answer is probably, both. And as such, it’s a canny move from Waitrose. Plus we do commend their brilliantly simple campaign creative. A clean white background with single hero products, and a simple rectangular device for messaging and price all cleverly matches the pared back nature of the products in the range. Nice work Waitrose.

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marketing
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grocery
Supermarkets
retail
marketing
Value
grocery
Supermarkets
retail
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