Managing Director and ecommerce fanatic Rob Smith, discusses three retailers that he feels excel when it comes to putting their customers first.  Rob shares what they do and why it's so effective. 

Over to Rob...

One of the ecommerce professionals' favourite examples for all sorts of reasons, they’ve done a great job of putting their customers first. We’ll explore how they’ve accomplished this with a few examples.

One of the first major reasons they can put customers first? Their logistics is owned by them. It makes a huge difference to how well they can control the customer experience at that crucial last mile stage. Many will remember the classic Yodel package delivered to the roof of one customer. AO wouldn’t have that problem (not easy with a fridge anyway).

It goes further though. As an AO customer, you can rate your delivery driver. That in itself is pretty good versus most customers. It goes even further. They send a monthly magazine to the driver’s houses with the great reviews and bad reviews - naming drivers for praise or not. As the story goes, often these posted magazines are picked up by driver’s partners or kids and no one wants their family to read about their bad behaviour. Good stuff is reinforced. Serious customer focus!

As another example, we need to look to their Facebook presence. Their engagement levels are very high due to the very straightforward ways of bringing their products to life via competitions and simple ways to get involved on the platform. They’re not just broadcasting ‘content’, they’ve asked what their customers want from their presence and that’s product highlighting, competitions and simple ways to get involved.

Sweaty Betty

We’re more than a little in love with this brand at Blueleaf. Their overall brand experience is fantastic and for good reason - it’s very much about putting customers first.

My favourite is the fact that their stores generally have an area to have fitness classes in above them - for free. It couldn’t be more in line with the brand and their customers - to not only be selling them the gear to help get fit, but executing classes to do the same. Excellent customer focus.

Secondly, their blog and content strategy is jam-packed with advice and tips and high quality video content including full workout videos. This kind of cost of production added onto the classes throughout the country (and the US) is a lot of investment, but it sure pays off by looking at their continual growth.

They’ve even worked into their reviews to make them very specific to their products. This includes Snug or Loose Fitting, size, height, etc to match yourself. A big well done to Sweaty Betty and keep up the customer centricity.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser have less external markers of their customer centricity than the other two examples, but they’re included here because they're living customer centricity from the very heart of the organisation.

Like many organisations, they recently had a large multi channel team and a large retail team. Often those teams were doing similar jobs with similar skills, like merchandisers, buyers, customer service and so on. As a result, the structure had become unwieldy and was just reinforcing retail vs other channel differences.

Through a significant restructure they now have a small customer team whose only job is to work for the customer and make things better across the board. Then all the other roles have been combined so merchandising teams look across retail and other channels as one whole, instead of disparate thinking.

This is finally topped off with a change at board level with Andy Harding now Chief Customer Officer - one of the first for a major UK brand and a direct signal of how seriously they’re taking the customer being first.