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5 Minutes With Gilad Simhony, CEO of mySupermarket

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Established in 2006, mySupermarket is an independent shopping and comparison website for groceries in the UK, allowing consumers to compare prices across 14 supermarket retailers. 

It has grown to over 200,000 regular users and millions of visitors each month, with 49.5 per cent of those visitors using it as a research point before visiting the bricks-and-mortar stores of the supermarkets to purchase their products.

In the latest 5 Minutes With... segment, the Retail Gazette chats to current chief executive Gilad Simhony.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before mySupermarket.

Prior to joining mySupermarket my career was largely based in the finance and insurance industry, where I worked my way up from sales manager through to the CEO, undertaking roles including the VP of distribution channels, and the VP of marketing, business development and strategy. In 2011 I started mySupermarket Israel and served as its CEO until the end of 2014 when I moved to manage the global activity of mySupermarket.

What got you into the retail sector in the first place and why do you enjoy it?

Initially it was the offering mySupermarket had that drew me into the retail sector. To provide transparency to shoppers and help them save money at the checkout was something I knew I could truly believe in and get behind. The ever-changing retail environment together with the dynamic and growing ecommerce sector are the two major reasons for my joy.

How did you get to your current as role CEO of mySupermarket?

I came to run mySupermarket’s global activity in 2014 after a successful launch of the activity in the Israeli market and took the reins from the outgoing CEO. I work very closely with founder and president Amir Ofer who is still heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

How has your previous experience aided your current job / business?

A great team is so important. If you work with the best team, you can grow their skill set and help them work collaboratively for the sake of the company. I've also learned the importance of listening to clients, understanding their needs and then arriving at a sustainable solution. 

Lastly, execution is key. You can come up with amazing breakthrough initiatives or innovative ideas but without proper execution there is no point. 

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Explain mySupermarket. What do you offer from a retail perspective?

There are two components to mySupermarket. From a retail perspective we have a consumer-facing site, mySupermarket.co.uk, with 14 different retailers for consumers to compare prices from. We are independent of these retailers and our aim is to provide shoppers with clear pricing and promotion information to help them save money.

We also have a B2B component to the business, in which we work with brands and retailers to help them win the digital shelf. From fixing the basics, so online auditing, right through to testing and optimising sales performance, we have a 360-degree, real-time solution to helping brands shine online.

Who are your main competitors in the industry?

We currently, fortunately, don't have any direct competitors to our consumer site as our comparison technology is unique. We have also been established for some time - 10 years this October - so we feel confident in our product.

From the B2B perspective our main competitors are Business intelligence companies.

Who are you working with currently?

Among our clients are all the big names in the FMCG industry, both manufacturers and retailers. We work with a number of different brands and retailers in the UK in various capacities. One project we've been working on in recent times is a new report to our category management tool. We have the ability to track pricing and promotional data going back several years which is very useful for brand managers. Recently we've been able to add to this capability with a Favourites analysis report, which shows brand managers where their product falls within shoppers' favourites lists.

More than 50 per cent of shoppers made product selections online using Favourites and our new tool provides real-time analytics to discover brand performance.

We're also looking to expand our company's reach beyond UK borders and further into Europe and Asia.

What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking in retail?

Like any job - passion is a must. Another key trait has to be the ability to accept change. The digital landscape is changing our industry each day and if you can't embrace change and move forward with it you will quickly fall behind.

Specifically for retailers, the ability to listen to the client and understand the need is a must.

What would you say is the biggest risk for your sector, given the current climate?

From the consumers' perspective it’s an opportunity for us as once prices will go up, the motivation to check prices before shopping will be higher. That's why it's so important we exist, in uncertain times, shoppers should be using independent comparison websites more than ever to ensure they aren't overpaying.

From the business perspective the risk is that our clients will struggle and budgets will be diminished.

We are watching the post-Brexit climate closely as it will have an impact on everything we do.

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Published on Tuesday 09 August by Elias Jahshan

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