Here comes Percy

RoxStars

So, have you ordered your Percy Pigs yet? Today’s the day that the Ocado/M&S partnership begins and I haven’t see the middle classes so worked up about something since Oliver and Olivia were knocked off the top spot of popular names (don’t’ worry, they’re both back in pole position).

Leaving aside the ridiculousness of some Ocado shoppers treating the loss of access to Waitrose houmous as a human rights issue, the stakes are high for all parties.

On the surface, the timing is perfect for M&S. Their lack of online presence until now has been an anomaly, and this deal comes into play just as Covid has caused online supermarket shopping to spike. As their chief executive Steve Rowe admits, “customers might never shop the same way again”.

The trouble is, Ocado shoppers have grown used to picking up “bargains” from the Waitrose Essentials range, and one thing we all know is that M&S is really expensive, right?

Well, not necessarily, no. More than Tesco and Morrisons, for sure, but not their upmarket rival. I remember Rowe years ago saying – and my own experience supported him in this – that for the quality of products on offer, they were much more keenly priced than people gave them credit for.

Waitrose were just much quicker to see the way the wind was blowing and trumpeted their “value” Essentials range so effectively that they achieved the marketeer’s holy grail of positioning the supermarket as representing both quality and good value.

Can M+S now pull off the same trick? Initial price comparisons on Ocado suggest they are going to give it a go.

As ever, it’s not so much what you do as how you put the story across. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Hasn’t that always been the truth.