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25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 2019  |  OLYMPIA

Why Retail needs to become truly customer centric

20 Aug 2018

Why Retail needs to become truly customer centric

Martin Newman, Founder and Chairman at Practicology

Martin Newman, Founder and Chairman at Practicology, writes on why he is excited to be involved with eCommerce Expo again this year with the over-arching theme of customer centricity, which is one very close to his heart…

eCommerce Expo 2018 will bring together the aspects of technology, marketing, ecommerce and digital and highlight how these are converging to deliver the seamless experience customers now expect across all channels and touchpoints.

One business that does this better than most is Domino’s. I’m looking forward to seeing David Wild, CEO of Domino's deliver a keynote presentation entitled 'The Dominos Journey'.

David will talk about digital disruption from the business models of brands such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats, and Domino’s response to this through its mobile and location services-enabled proposition.

The take-away/delivered food industry is setting benchmarks in terms of convenience, transparency around delivery slots and the use of mobile technology that is far ahead of the retail industry.

You will also get to hear David’s views on how customer expectations around service and delivery continue to increase, and Domino's strategy and service roadmap to meet this need.

Leadership Challenges

I will also be chairing a panel at the Director’s Club at eCommerce Expo with some key industry experts, to discuss the leadership qualities required to spearhead the change, inspire employee mindsets, and embrace decision making that puts the customer first.

One effective route to achieving this is to adopt an approach of recruiting for attitude and training for skills., the pureplay retailer of household appliances, has a focus on hiring people who are both humble and ambitious. Both are key components of the company's culture. They also empower their team. Their call centre colleagues are empowered to make product related decisions for customers up to £5,000. No need to go up the chain of command in order to get a decision.

"The CEO must be the one person obsessed more than anyone in the culture of their business"

As the great Peter Drucker said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast!" A strategy cannot be implemented successfully if the culture of the business is not appropriate.

Does your business spend more time thinking about its strategy or its culture? I’m fairly sure that in most cases, the focus is on strategy. The culture of the company is often forgotten about when it's one of the key building blocks for success.

Too often it's articulated as part of a vision or mission statement, but not something that is at the heart of the business. Being lived and breathed by all on a daily basis.

The CEO must be the one person obsessed more than anyone in the culture of their business, as it is they who are best placed to ensure that it permeates the whole organisation.

A customer centric culture has to come from the top, however, it also has to be bottom up and therefore all of an organisation's people need to be empowered to do the right thing for the customer. To achieve this, the culture of the business also has to be a key part of the induction programme of all new employees.

"Our core objective should be to deliver the products, content, marketing communications and overall experience the customers want, irrespective of their channel of engagement"

It’ll be great to hear David talk about how he is ensuring that the Domino's culture helps to drive customer centricity.

Most consumer sectors are facing strong headwinds. Retailers are having to contend with continued channel shift; the migration of customers to online who increasingly use click and collect. So yes, the cost to serve has increased. But if you don’t offer the convenience customers demand, they will buy from someone else who does.

Banks are seeing an increase in challengers into their space with the likes of Metro Bank and Monzo bank leveraging technology and service to deliver more relevant customer propositions. A search for my nearest RBS branch in Enfield shows their opening hours as being 09.15am to 4.15pm and closed weekends! These hours are not there to suit consumers.

What about car dealers?

Buying a car is the third biggest purchase you’ll make after buying a house and getting married. Why is it then that car dealers make no attempt to maintain a relationship with you and build your lifetime value?

There is a very clear customer lifecycle to manage. Most cars are bought on a contract, yet you’re lucky if you hear from the dealer a few weeks before the contract is up. If you’ve purchased a high-end car, then you might get a magazine sent through the post or an invite to a track day. They’re hardly pushing the boat out to ensure they’re front of mind.

Hence brands such as Tesla and Jaguar LandRover are disintermediating and going direct to consumer. Which also involves opening 'car stores' in more convenient locations.

In Retail, organisational structures will need to adapt. Why do we have siloed buying, merchandising, content and sometimes marketing teams, when we know that multichannel customers are the most profitable and therefore our core objective should be to deliver the products, content, marketing communications and overall experience the customers want, irrespective of their channel of engagement?

With all the disruption facing consumer-facing sectors, and the new innovative brands that are emerging, it’s never been more important to determine a plan to become truly customer centric in all that you do.

Having written a book about this called '100 Practical Ways to Improve Customer Experience', I will be doing a book signing at the event.

For more tips and insight on how to transform your business buy '100 practical ways to improve customer experience' now with 20% using code 100CX20.

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