Welcome back to one of our favorite blog series In the Greenlight, where you can get an inside glimpse into the Koupon team! We’ve never been much to brag, but we think our team is pretty incredible and they deserve their time in the spotlight. This week we sat down with Greg Crow, our Executive Vice President of Product.
Meet Greg! With nearly 30 years of experience in business intelligence, this dedicated leader guides a talented team of Kouponeers in using valuable data insights to create transformative solutions for the convenience industry. While you may recognize him as the host of our How Convenient podcast, we're so excited to help you really get to know this amazing Kouponeer!
Executive Vice President is an important leadership role at Koupon, can you walk us through your day-to-day work routine?
I’m truly honored to be a leader at Koupon – we have a powerful solution that is catching fire in the c-store industry and we partner with amazing retail and brand clients. Part of what I enjoy the most of my job is no two days are alike at Koupon:
- analyzing industry and promotion and consumer trends
- brainstorming on product strategy and enhancements
- learning from client and team member feedback
- coaching early career professionals
I’ve been in software and business intelligence for nearly 30 years but I’m deeply thankful that we have so many leaders at Koupon – both managers and individual contributors – who bring innovative thinking to help our clients win.
What is the most exciting part about leading Koupon in creating transformative products for our industry?
Innovation requires two things: a large opportunity and the ability to capture it.
The c-store industry has incredible advantages: its massive consumer reach, its ability to reach consumers’ immediate consumption needs, its dominant share in key product categories. At the same time in order to win brands must continue to optimize promotion budgets to win at trial and build lasting loyalty. Both stakeholders are still in the early days of connecting with consumers as individuals and digital engagement.
In terms of realizing the opportunity, the entire Koupon team has one focus: elevating the digital promotions experience for our clients and their consumers. The level of collaboration both internally and with our clients and partners is unique and the momentum in the marketplace continues to build.
Can you give us a preview of new product updates coming down the pipeline this year?
We have a lot of talent internally but we don’t bring any new product to market without engaging clients in the full product lifecycle. I’ll share a couple of recent examples.
Alcohol is a category that has been on fire recently but has been challenging for all stakeholders in terms of the promotion experience. Most US states ban alcohol coupons which has led CPG’s to run rebate programs to promote products. Rebates offer the advantage of being retailer agnostic but compared to coupons they create friction for consumers and are a huge missed opportunity for c-store retailers.
Koupon innovated years ago by providing consumers ways of redeeming rebates by uploading receipts using their smartphone but we decided we needed to do more. We are bringing digital rebates directly to Koupon c-store retailers and their loyalty members. Koupon’s integrations with retailers allows consumers to skip the receipts while providing both manufacturers and retailers with richer insights and engagement. We are in market today with this and we are seeing much higher levels of consumer engagement with these programs than traditional rebates.
Manufacturers and retailers across all channels are focused on creating delight in the moment of truth of consumers – across digital and physical interactions. There are 200 million Americans following a specialty diet – whether it is diet related (e.g. sugar free) or allergy (e.g. peanut free). Manufacturers are responding by developing new products to meet these requirements and c-store is the channel of choice for product trial. The question becomes how to inform consumers so they can make choices that fit their unique needs. To help both manufacturers and retailers realize this growth opportunity, Koupon has recently partnered with Label Insights, now part of NielsenIQ. This exclusive relationship will benefit our clients through richer measurement, promotion targeting and understanding of consumer-level outcomes.
Data insights are a major component of our product offerings at Koupon, can you share a convenience industry forecast for summer 2021?
Our relationships with leading retailers and brands provides a deep view into consumer behavior trends. Each of our incredible insights team members have masters degrees in statistics and they help us ensure we are unearthing insights hiding in the billions of transactions we are seeing at the register and in digital offer engagement. We are also constantly engaging with our Sales and Customer Success partners to ensure we are calibrating the data against the client experience.
The c-store industry has been so resilient over the last 15 months – proving that consumers continue to see the essential value of the convenience our channel provides. Alcohol and tobacco drove instore sales growth in 2020, led by hard seltzer and modern oral nicotine.
This summer will be a strong one with sales growth for alcohol, tobacco, packaged beverages and candy vs 2019 levels. Energy drinks and gummies will continue to drive growth in their respective categories. We expect a continued focus on functional beverages and more balance between indulgent and better for you options across categories as consumers seek more intentional and sustainable relationships with food and drink. We believe food and snacks sales will fully recover but not to the 2019 waterline until the fall when morning trips return to historical levels.
Promotion depth and engagement will increase across all categories as loyalty programs drive an increasingly larger share of sales at mid-to-large retailers. 2021 is going to be another year of growth for instore sales.
Since joining Koupon, you've become an amazing host of our five-star podcast How Convenient. What has surprised you most about podcasting?
We’ve recorded about 20 How Convenient episodes so far and the biggest surprise has been how much fun we’ve had doing it – it has been an opportunity to explore the trends that that’s driving our industry and learn from so many smart people. I joined Koupon in March 2020 and there wasn’t a single week where working with clients we didn’t discover something new about consumer behavior. There is so much expertise at Koupon and I am thankful for all the team members that have hosted and co-hosted as well as the support of Julia, Caroline and the marketing team.
We hear you're an avid outdoorsman. Are there any exciting trips or outdoor adventures on your calendar?
My wife and I both love to travel and visiting national parks in particular – taking in the beauty of nature is a great opportunity for hiking, perspective and reflection. Our last national park visit was Big Bend in far west Texas – it is breathtaking. We live near a state park on a lake and that has been our proxy for larger trips during the pandemic. Our next trip will be to the Four Corners region.
Besides travel, what keeps you busy outside of the office?
Mostly family and friends. We have two adult children living nearby – a son and a daughter and we just gained a daughter-in-law in the fall. When we do travel, we are nearly always doing so with a group of friends that we have known for 30 years. I love animals of all kinds, but especially dogs. We have a 12-year-old mix that has managed to train us quite well. She has been quite happy with my working from home over the last year. I’m a leader in my local church. When I need solitude I love cycling or yardwork and while I’m doing that I’m listening to podcasts – I’m always hungry for anything that uses data to explain consumer behavior trends.
Check back next month for another glimpse into the Koupon team!