Spotlight: Susan Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies on the Financial Power of Women

Spotlight: Susan Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies on the Financial Power of Women

Susan Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer

Susan Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer

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.@Albertsons Susan Morris, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, on the financial power of women #WomensDay #PressforProgress
Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 12:40pm

CAMPAIGN: Supporting Local Communities


I’d like to believe that future editions of history books will herald each International Women’s Day as an increasingly powerful and impactful day of change. I hope that, each year, the day yields an idea, a hashtag or a movement of historical and monumental proportions. I hope that, each year, the day is one we’ll never forget.

International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements – from economic to political to social – while calling for gender equality. The day dates back to 1908, when 15,000 women took to the streets of New York City to demand pay equity, voting rights and a shorter work day. While the movement has grown in the 110 years since, the day still focuses on improving economic, political and social conditions for women around the world.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 was “A Day Without Women,” during which women were asked to stay home from work and avoid shopping to highlight the influence that women have on the socio-economic system. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress, a rally cry to gender parity.

We in the supermarket industry have always been intimately aware of the economic and political power that women wield. We know that women make most of the spending decisions for families and control or have significant influence over most major consumer purchases, including homes and cars. We know that political candidates, from local councils to presidential candidates, spend countless hours and dollars jockeying for the female vote, often meeting with our shoppers — their potential voters and/or constituents — in front of our stores.

According to Nielsen data, estimates of the spending power of women range from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually. That sway will grow even stronger because women are attaining more college degrees than men, and earning power increases with education.

What does this significant control and transference of wealth mean for grocers, insurance companies and every other business that markets to women and campaigns for their hard-earned dollars?

First, we can’t assume that history will repeat itself. We must stay in lockstep with the evolving and dynamic needs and buying trends of these power spenders to maintain their loyalty.  Money is mobile, which means spending patterns and consumer demands evolve, often making meaningful changes seemingly overnight. Keep your products and your ideas fresh.

Next, we must recognize the power of the female voice. Women aren’t just influencers; they’re architects of change. Businesses should assume every customer, especially the very influential female customer, can elevate or reduce your reputation with just one tweet. Thus, when your core customer tells you your product mix is insufficient, change it. If she says your advertising campaign was insulting, pull it and pledge to do better. If your company’s board of directors, managers and every other person in a leadership role is male, be prepared for your core customer to #PressforProgress and spend her money elsewhere.

Lastly, give back. Support the causes that are important to your core customer. For many years we’ve known that consumers are more likely to engage with businesses that have a strong and visible Corporate Social Responsibility platform. Yet, women, more often than men, regularly patronize businesses that reflect their own social values.

At Albertsons Companies, we continually invest time and resources to determine which causes are most important to our core customer. It is more than a simple exercise of asking and listening. We looked at years of fundraising data to identify the campaigns that resonated with customers companywide, and we also gave stores the freedom and autonomy to support charities and causes that their local customers deemed important. It’s an ongoing conversation.

I like to believe that, along with detailed chapters about the impact of each International Women’s Day, history books will also chronicle the evolution of the financial power of women and the change that this power produced.  Actually, I’m confident that they will. All significant historical events are recorded, studied and, when good and beneficial to humanity, repeated.

Susan Morris is Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Albertsons Companies