Thomas Oakley Newell from C&I sat down with this year’s winner Andrew Olsen, Key Account Manager P&C, Frucor Suntory.

C&I: What did it mean to you to win the Peter Jowett Scholarship?

Olsen: Winning the Peter Jowett Scholarship to me meant a great deal. To have the opportunity to present my idea to so many industry leaders was an honour, but to know that they believed that my idea, and the way in which it was constructed and presented, was the best of the bunch is special.

However, at the end of the day the experience alone contributed to a large amount of personal development for me. Many thanks to the senior leaders within Frucor Suntory who I was able to connect with and learn from through conceptualizing the idea.

C&I: Can you tell us a bit about your submission?

Olsen: My submission was all about the current challenges our retail partners face in the Covid environment and how we must look to set ourselves up for future success through adopting new ways of working.

Specifically, my presentation was focused on the changing behaviours of our consumers first and foremost, but also trends that we see accelerating year-on-year as they will play a large role in the future of the industry.

My solution was an app that focused on not only the evolving digital world but more specifically on how information from an advanced digital platform can redefine our physical network (stores) by providing us with more accurate information on consumer behaviour to efficiently cater to their needs, providing a convenient experience. With the aim of increasing sales and reducing cost of operating.

C&I: Why is the Peter Jowlett Scholarship so important to the sector?

Olsen: The Peter Jowett Scholarship sets a platform in which young people in our industry are given the best chance to really challenge themselves and their ideas on a stage that continues to set a great standard.

I believe the Scholarship is such a great way to connect young, emerging talent with experienced industry leaders, which results in amazing learning and development opportunities for those competing. Just being part of the experience alone forces contestants to push themselves and expand their skillset in a new direction vs what they can in their day-to-day role.

C&I: What was the most inspiring or pivotal moment you observed in 2021?

Olsen: I like this question, it’s so easy to see so much doom and gloom at present. I’m a sports fanatic and a very competitive person, but I still believe that health and wellbeing is the most important thing in life.

For me, when Simone Biles made the brave decision to put her mental health first during the 2021 Olympics amongst all the external and internal pressure that surrounded her at the time is nothing short of amazing. It’s great that mental health is continuing to become a bigger part of the conversation, and it takes situations like this to make a difference.   

C&I: How do you see the convenience landscape evolving in 2022?

Olsen: The pandemic no doubt has played a huge role in what 2022 will look like. I see the continual emergence of trends such as Omni-shopping behaviour becoming the forefront of the sector. Consumers will continue to use digital devices not only to purchase product online but to influence the product they purchase in a physical store. Therefore, it is important that we have infrastructure in place such as ‘click and collect’ along with the necessary information online such as product availability and product reviews/information as these will become powerful tools in the success of physical stores.

I strongly believe that those that don’t adapt will be left behind.

C&I: What is your key message to the convenience category in 2022?

Olsen: To master the basics. Too often we walk into a store and the shelves are empty. Something as simple as understanding your consumers and what product they are looking for will ultimately be the key to success through these tough times.

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