What percentage of people use contactless payments in our Food stores?

We believe contactless payments make shopping quicker and easier, but it’s hard to know just how popular or important they are, because not many retailers publish their usage stats.

We finished making it available in all our Food stores in 2014 and in 2015 Chris Whitfield, Paul Wilkins and team promoted it in store and with our colleagues. Chris recently looked at our stats and because we believe in being open here they are: nationally 32.12% of transactions are now contactless. That’s up from 7% in 2014.



It’s lower in our fuel stores at 20.21% as the contactless limit is £30.

Hopefully other people will share too and we’ll be able, together, to make shopping quicker and easier for everyone.

Digital Exclusion – and why there’s a “hive” of activity at the Co-op’s Academy

I’m Russell Gill,  Head of Membership & Co-operative Relations at the Co-op. I also Chair the Co-operative Academies Trust which runs eight primary and secondary schools in some of the most challenging areas of Manchester, Leeds and Stoke-on-Trent.

Last week I was delighted to attend the opening of The Hive – a joint venture between the Co-operative Academy of Manchester, based in Blackley, and YES– a social enterprise helping match the people of North Manchester with jobs, training and volunteering opportunities.

Digital exclusion is a growing problem in communities like Blackley. That’s why the Co-op Academy is so keen to develop the right skills and know-how for its students to thrive in a digital world. So there’s a real opportunity for the Co-op to share our fantastic digital expertise, alongside many other rich sources of learning represented by the Co-op way, to give our students a real head start.

But what about their families and the community more broadly? The Co-op Academy’s vision has always placed the needs of the whole community at its centre. Now, with the opening of The Hive, people in Blackley can learn new skills and look for opportunities to be work-ready. And that’s not all – The Hive also provides low-cost enterprise pods for new business start-ups, freelancers and small businesses, targeted at the burgeoning digital community. We hope that The Hive will provide a strong connection between the Co-op Academy’s students, members of the community who are keen to learn, and the area’s budding entrepreneurs.

A great example of co-operation in action.

To find out more about the Co-op’s Academies, visit us at www.co-operative.academy. And for more information about The Hive, go to www.hive.coop.


Russell Gill, Head of Membership & Co-operative Relations, @RussellMGill

Why digital made me feel old then quickly young (middle-aged!!) again…

I started my working career in 1992 and in the 23 years that have followed I’ve seen a huge amount of change. None has been more profound or significant than the emergence of the internet and subsequent digital capabilities in how we work.

I’m enormously proud of what we’ve achieved in the Co-op over the last 18 months. We’ve taken a business from near collapse to one that with hard work and a focus on doing the right things will become once again one of the UK’s most treasured things. I can’t wait.

To make this dream a reality we’ve recognised the need to embrace the “digital  revolution” not just in terms of the services and products we offer our customers, but in changing our ways of working. Excitingly we’ve managed to recruit some of the very best people in the world to lead our thinking in this area and help us not just catch up, but get miles ahead of the competition. From “Slack” to “Bimodal Agile”,  our lexicon has changed.

Whilst very exciting, I’ve got to be honest and say it’s also filled me with fear. At 45 years of age was I about to become one of those outdated Execs who lived in a past world that I’d seen and observed in my earlier career? Good for a few words of advice here and there but basically living in an outdated world. For the first time ever I started to feel old.

Six months on and I feel young again…….

Throughout my career I’ve always believed that if you do the right thing for the customer and make the business vision/ strategy/ objectives simple for colleagues to understand then you’ll not go far wrong. I’ve also always said that a great business “creates value for the customers that they’re able to share in”. I’ve realised that the “digital revolution” simply makes this easier to do and puts the customer at the heart of the business even more than before. In that context it makes customer centricity even more important and people who think that way even more valuable.

So yes, the lexicon has changed (a sprint has nothing to do with Linford Christie but is a quick piece of work with an outcome, a “slacker” isn’t someone who is lazy but someone who communicates via a more effective tool – the list could go on) but what matters has become even more important and makes it more difficult to succeed if you don’t get it right.

So as we leave 2015 and look forward to the new year, I’m excited. Not just by the new digital team, but by the realisation that I’m not old and out of date just yet and my views, principles and ways of working are more important than they’ve ever been.

Enjoy Christmas with your wearable technology. I’ll be catching up with re-runs of Tomorrow’s World!

Rod Bulmer, CEO of Consumer Services.

Our First Ever Social Media Clinic

This week we hosted our first ever Social Media Clinic at our Support Centre, 1 Angel Square, for colleagues in the building to drop-in for a brew and talk social.

As a team, we’ve been hosting The Co-op Social Media Forum three times a year for a while now, where we speak about the latest innovations in social and the work we’ve been doing, but it was brilliant to get some one-on-one time with colleagues interested in social.

Just to have a natter, really.

I managed to help a colleague from HR understand more about hashtags and Twitter, helping her send her first tweet about a local baking competition she’s entering (good luck Sophie!) and also helped another colleague download WhatsApp onto her phone and send a message to her son who is away serving with the Royal Navy.

We spoke to colleagues about better integrating social intelligence data into the work of our sustainability and policy teams, and even our product development teams. We chatted about Facebook privacy and showcased social intelligence via our Brandwatch Vizia visualisations too.

We’re all looking forward to the next incarnation of the Social Media Clinic, and for the next Social Media Forum on Thursday 26th November!

Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

Or contact me by email