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Elevating Traditional Trade Independents: Introducing The CPG Experience Council


Nigel Tordoff has met with every type of customer over his 30-year tenure in the industry.

Starting from his early career to his time as Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at brewery giant Molson Coors, Nigel discovered just how different owner-operated storefronts were compared to large grocery chains, often called “Modern Trade” in the industry.

From their efficient processes to organized structures, it was clear the scale of the bigger chains had a different approach.

Nigel found the multitude of hard workers in traditional trade running their own businesses didn’t have the same access to data and insights, making growth not impossible, just not as easy or insightful. However, these same people are those who are incredibly family- and community-oriented with a tremendous love for what they do.

Adam Dorrell, Founder and CEO of CustomerGauge, had the same revelation while working so closely with Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands. Both felt they were in a position to develop a solution that could instill modern strategies into the traditional trade.

And so for Nigel and Adam, it all came down to one question:

“How can we collectively, as a group of brand owners, put value back into the traditional channel?

The answer was establishing a “North Star” for the industry, The CPG Experience Council.

The Time for Change Is Now: Why?

The CPG Experience Council’s mission is to share and develop best practices and data to foster competitive customer experiences that help brand owners, customers and consumers win.

Since the first wave of our pandemic, supply chain challenges, inflationary issues, and digital transformations have followed close behind, affecting every single person with a hand in CPG.

Yet, it’s the traditional trade businesses that have had to adapt the most without a true sense of direction.

Today, there are about 23 million people around the globe that support the Beer sector alone.

That’s 1 in every 110 jobs in the Beer commerce value chain.

And if that’s just a single traditional trade category, imagine if we included others such as Salty Snacks, Soft Drinks, Confectionary, or Dairy. The math is clear — there is an overwhelming amount of people in CPG that could be facing obstacles with uncertainty.

Pair the unpredictability of these challenges with a market offering more product lines than ever before, and this may very well be the determining factor if a business keeps its lights on.

With such a challenging context, how can traditional trade retailers break through the noise of varying opinions and learn what it truly takes to stay at the forefront of the ever-changing industry?

It all starts with a shift in focus toward customer experience (CX).

How We’re Going to Make A Difference

Customer experience has become the CPG industry’s new area of advantage, and both Nigel and Adam have seen companies of all sizes find great success with strong CX.

It’s apparent that tech-led, customer-centric businesses are staying ahead of competitors.

So, when it came down to constructing what would hold the most value for everyone in traditional trade, having industry leaders set the minimum standards on what good customer experiences should look like was the solution.

The CPG Experience Council is preparing to set the CX standard for both frontline workers as well as brand owners by:

  • Pooling resources to find and set new benchmarks for great CX

  • Offering a space to build on others’ ideas with honest feedback

  • Sharing educational resources for CPG workers

  • And above all, holding members accountable for our minimum standards when applying the Trust Mark certification

With 30 years of CPG experience behind him, Nigel is now serving as Council Chair, leading this mission to excite, motivate, and educate those with similar backgrounds as himself to join.

Inviting Perspectives From Every Channel

There’s no better way to craft well-rounded best practices for the CPG industry than by hearing from every channel that comprises it.

The Council has already begun working with founding members from Heineken, Coca-Cola HBC, and ABI. They’re looking to expand into Alcohol, Soft Drinks, Salty Snacks, Dairy, Bakery, and more.

But why is it important that the Council represents as many categories and subcategories as possible?

Nigel believes that there are fundamentals of running a traditional outlet that members can align on, however, at its core, elevating the traditional trade will spring from council members’ distinctive personal and corporate backgrounds.

The goal? To pull expert resources together to advance beyond today’s capabilities.

Raising Experience Standards For The Traditional Trade

Making a difference begins with not only the right people but the right technology.

To ensure that, founding members will have access to benchmarking data to continuously establish what good really looks like.

This data is critical to driving true change as it will nudge every member to say to themselves, “Are we doing the best we can?” because aside from positively impacting millions of hard-working people, members will continue learning in their own right, too.

The traditional trade is the most loyal but fragmented channel we trade in, and the time is now for passionate industry leaders to help fill those gaps.

It’s difficult to influence change individually, but imagine what could be accomplished together.

If you believe you’re a great fit to join Nigel, Adam, and their mission to elevate traditional trade independents, apply today!

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