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Page Executive Presents a Retail Leaders Dinner
Page Executive held their Executive Retail Event for 2016 in the stunning location of The Shard. The theme for the evening was ‘Future Proofing Your Board – What are the top UK retailers doing to ensure success in 2016 and beyond?’. The way in which customers engage with brands and retailers have created a change of the structure in many boards. Rather than working in traditional channels, retailers are now recruiting roles such as Chief Customer Officer. Achim Berg from McKinsey, Nigel Oddy from House of Fraser and Nicola Wensley & Laura Walker from Page Executive provided their insight into how and why retailers need to implement these new structures, what they need to be looking for in new hires and what success looks like.
The sun was shining over London as guests arrived down the sweeping staircase to a Champagne Reception, overlooking the breath-taking view of the city. Guests enjoyed some time networking and catching up with old friends before moving across to the Ren Room for dinner. Once everyone had opened up their Goodie Bags and taken their seats the evening officially began.
Nicola Wensley and Laura Walker set the scene for the evening. Nicola explained how the divide between online and bricks and mortar desperately needs to be addressed and how this merge needs to be reflected on company boards. Laura discussed the challenges and ways to overcome in recruiting for these type of board roles.
Dinner began and the guests enjoyed some food for thought around the customer journey in the form of a charity quiz provided on the tables. The food was exceptional, surpassed only by the backdrop across the glass wall of the room; Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and the skyline began to illuminate as evening fell across the city.
Achim Berg, Partner at McKinsey, took the stage to discuss the macro reasons behind the need for change, examples of companies where this has worked and which structures work for which businesses. When talking about the consumer Achim stated “Consumers are more demanding, and expect a consistent brand experience across all the different touchpoints, and there’s more of those touchpoints… even 75% of luxury consumers research online before going into a store.” Achim illustrated a number of different structures in European retailers but then stated “We don’t believe there is a right or wrong structure, it depends on your strategy around digital… however a fully integrated structure allows you to deal with all challenges that you have between online and offline, you have one responsibility and one head that can truly deal with challenges that arise as one responsibility and to control the experience you deliver to consumers.”
Achim was able to offer tips on what the top performers are currently doing:
Ensure senior leadership has adequate "DQ"
Hire "digital native" talent from pure plays
Rotate buyers/planners through digital roles in addition to the classic/bricks and mortar roles
Metrics and incentives
Ensure clear ownership of omnichannel P&L (who is the one on the hook?)
Report on, and incent on, key digital growth metrics in addition to overall business performance
Enable omnichannel visibility into performance, inventory, etc.
Having raced across London after speaking at the BAFTAs, Nigel Oddy, CEO of House of Fraser was next to address the room. He spoke about what good looks like or, in his words, what good is beginning to look like at House of Fraser. Topically, just this week, Nigel announced that his CCO Andy Harding is leaving the business after five years and how difficult they have found finding a successor, as the role varies from business to business plus the CCO is such a new role. Nigel talked about:
- How last year they restructured a business that has the history and heritage of House of Fraser that is 150 years old.
- How they reinvented the business’ core changing shopper demands
- How they are preparing themselves for the future
- Insight into the initial results of the work that has been put into the business around the restructure
House of Fraser launched their website nine years ago as a separate category internally. This year they achieved £500,000,000 which is 1/5 of their turnover and they expect the next few years to grow their turnover to £1bn. It took them 120 years to get this turnover in their stores.
Nigel touched on their Project Gold in which they “Put the customer at the forefront of all we do, we wanted to put the focus onto customer profitability, revenue per customer and not revenue per channel…. We are now customer rather than channel centric.”
The House of Fraser Christmas campaign was called ‘Your Christmas, Your Rules’. Nigel showed their well-known Christmas Advert to the chart topping single ‘You Don’t Own Me’ which perfectly reflected the topic of owning the customer and their shopping journey. “It was a truly multi-channel campaign, it was the first time we have taken the same advert, same theme to all those channels. It was all about having one team, working with one message across all channels…. We had a record Christmas delivering nearly 6% on the year, and 14% on two years. With stores and web making like for like progress…. I wouldn’t say it was all down to the creation of the CCO position but I do think it demonstrates just how important having one consistent approach is.”
Throughout the night our Twitter handle #ExecutiveRetailEvent2016 was updated with photos and snippets of the event as it unfolded.
Our CEO Steve Ingham drew the dinner to a close and announced the charity quiz winner who was awarded a voucher for two guests for a Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Shard. The winner kindly donated the prize back to charity thus starting an impromptu auction which raised a further £120 on top of the £880 already raised throughout the evening. All the donations went directly to supporting Page Executives chosen charity, Teenage Cancer Trust.
Guests were invited to continue the evening’s discussions with drinks in the bar area overlooking the River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral. The buzz of the city at night could be seen in the distance as the guests enjoyed further thoughts around the evening’s topics.
“The Page Executive Retail Leaders Dinner at the Shard proved to be a great success. A melting pot of retail talent all swapping notes and sharing advice over bubbles with a view. I met some inspiring founders and directors. With lots in common, we are bound to keep in touch.”- Laura Tenison MBE, Founder & CEO, JoJo Maman Bébé – the UK’s leading independent mother & baby brand.
If you’d like to attend one of the future Page Executive events or would like to work with a partner who has an in-depth understanding in this area and can offer you consultative advice, feel free to contact Nicola Wensley on +44 1932264059 or at email@example.com or Laura Walker on +44 207 269 2592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.