‘There are so many chances to let people down’ in-store, says The Warehouse Group CMO

Jonathan Waecker, CMO of The Warehouse Group NZ, has told an audience of retail marketers that although there are “so many chances to let people down”, the group will never give up on its retail stores.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Retail Marketing Summit, Waecker said that the company made a choice to focus on physical stores because that’s where the majority of their sales come from, but in doing so realised they were facing more challenges in providing good customer experience.

“We made a choice and our fundamental premise is that we believe in stores,” said Waecker. “Now that we’re building our store experience its very clear that there are so many chances to let people down.

“That’s the scariest thing, you build these promises, you build these great ad campaigns, but then people come to the store and the toilets are dirty and the whole thing just falls apart. It’s amazing how all these little pieces enable the customer to have a different experience.”

However, Waecker said this gave the company a chance to improve their business through small changes.

“The first thing is to step back and say what are the most important small choices you could make that will have the biggest impact,” he said. “Had we not fixed all the holes in our bucket we would have been inviting people into terrible experiences.”

The other challenge The Warehouse Group NZ faced was convincing their bricks and mortar businesses that working alongside online was not going to hurt them.

Waecker said that there’s a trend towards customers moving from digital browsing to in-store purchasing, especially in Australia and New Zealand, giving stores a chance to capitalise on consumers who are ready to buy.

Especially against direct to consumer models like Amazon, he said that in countries where immediate delivery was not an option, stores were likely to see a rise in store pick-ups being a popular choice.

“It was really important to get stores onboard with the fact that online is not a competitor, they’re not stealing your share, they’re there to make your stores better.”


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