A three-year growth strategy for SPAR supermarkets.

Walk into any of the 13.000 Spar shops around the world and you immediately know that SPAR is not your average supermarket chain. What sets them apart from the competition? They are a network of independent entrepreneurs that are all dedicated to creating value for their local communities. And it's that devotion to their customers that puts the SPAR in sparkle.

Let's get digital.

How do you stay connected to your community in a world where online has become the default and your business is designed around a physical touch point? Right, you need to go digital.

And that's exactly what the newly appointed SPAR board wants to do. Their goal is to transform the organization by creating strong online value propositions for their entrepreneurs. So they can keep on delivering high quality, value for money shopping experience to their communities.

Here's how we partnered-up to go from ambition to real results.

First stop. A clear growth strategy.

Together with the board, we created a shared vision for impact and growth. We explored different scenarios all leading to a spot-on 3-year strategy with value-creation opportunities worth pursuing. With clear ambitious criteria for success, we started our search for future value.

Next-up. From idea to value.

We tagged along a bigger group. In co-creation with this bigger team, we identified new markets, ideated different business model options, and sketched various value propositions. 

The board selected different on-strategy growth projects, such as staff-free shopping experiences, and invested to further test and develop the initiatives.

In the six months after that, the teams took full ownership of their projects. They turned their ideas into kick-ass concepts and prototypes. They set-up experiments and validated their assumptions by running in-market experiments with SPAR entrepreneurs and consumers. After the pilot period, the teams presented their results back to the executive board. 

The projects that meet the growth criteria after the pilot are added to the strategy roadmap. They will be tested and developed further until they are ready for handover and full integration into daily SPAR operations.

From co-creation to continuous innovation.

Creating a strategy in co-creation with a bigger team was a completely new experience for SPAR. But both the board and the broader team were excited from the beginning. Throughout the process they learned new tools, skills and adopted an innovation mindset. After the first round of innovation and implementation, the board realized the value of organizing innovation differently than running their daily operations.

Now, once an innovation cycle is completed, the explorations teams go back to identifying opportunities and testing. With a strong handover approach SPAR has made business model innovation as an integral part of its business.

To sum it all up.

We are admist realizing our 3-year strategy plan together with SPAR. But here are some of the results so far:

  • The co-created vision brought clarity in the strategic direction of SPAR for the next years to come.

  • The co-creation exercise set the whole SPAR team on fire - figuratively, don't worry ;)

  • The teams took responsibility and ownership of the projects as they felt part of the strategy and growth ambition.

  • Innovation is now a part of SPAR's business planning. There are teams that continuously identify and start exploring new growth options that contribute to the vision.

“I have never experienced such energy around strategy and innovation from my people.”

John van der Ent, CEO SPAR Netherlands
John van der Ent, CEO SPAR Netherlands

Are you looking for a growth strategy with capital G?

Meet Patrick. He is your guy.

Patrick van der Pijl
Patrick van der Pijl