Collecting data is crucial but using it to focus on the fundamentals is key to success, according to Asda head of insight and pricing Alex Chruszcz.

Speaking on a panel at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Customer Insight conference this week, Chruszcz said: “You can be seduced by using data in really fancy ways but actually the real power, and area to focus on, is the fundamentals.”

Talking about the relevance of the single customer view and using data to communicate with the continuous shopper, Chruszcz explained that while supermarkets may not be able to compete wholly with the increasingly sophisticated and smart ways that consumers are using mobile now and in the future, the emphasis for them should be on interacting effectively with the ways that people are shopping and to use the data available to make sure the fundamentals such as price, quality and service are right. He said: “Making sure we deliver in the way the customer wants and to a high standard is crucial. If we get those things wrong people won’t come back and that’s where the data really is critical, it informs that.”

Chruszcz also emphasised the importance for retailers to build relationships with the other organisations that influence the consumer’s mobile shopping experience, such as browsers, banks and service providers. “There are other people curating the decisions people are making when they come into a store, so for us it’s about building relationships with those people. It’s an ecosystem out there in terms of mobile,” he said.

Also speaking on the panel, Waitrose ecommerce director Robin Phillips added that data in itself should not be seen as a business model but as a helpful tool for making a brand relevant to customers. He said: “We know that over a third of our customers are using tablets between 7pm and 9pm, browsing and looking for recipes and so on. They’re in bed booking their delivery slots at 11pm. You have to make sure you’re proving the right content for them and data helps do that.”

The conference also included a presentation from founder of market research agency BrainJuicer, John Kearon, who urged retailers to change their view of marketing from a persuasion-based model to a seduction-based model. He told the room of retailers that a more emotional approach to marketing can reap success. He said: “Don’t think of it as fluffy, it’s commercial – if you find it amusing and engaging it’s commercial, not trivial.”

Kearon explained that when it comes to marketing, pure emotion has the biggest impact and that attempting to engage a system that is rational and clever is a mistake and the marketing approach should instead be about instinct and emotion.