Appliances Online took top honours at Australia Post’s Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) recently, an achievement CEO John Winning credits to the company’s dedicated focus on customer service.
“Customer service is at the heart of our business,” Winning says. “Many businesses say this, but we literally put our customers first in each decision we make as a company, to achieve our mission to create the best experiences in the world, for the world. We view customer satisfaction as being just as important as the financials.”
The strategy is proving immensely fruitful for the company. In addition to successfully defending its title, Appliances Online walked away with wins in three other categories:
- Customer Service Excellence
- Best Pureplay Retailer
- Best Multichannel Retailer
The company was also named Best Online Shop for Electronics in a survey of 5,000 customers conducted by consumer comparison site CHOICE. These successes come at a time of heightened online retail activity following the pandemic. In August alone, 5.5 million households made purchases online and data from Australia Post points to steady ecommerce sales in coming months.1 IBISWorld says the online shopping market in Australia in 2022 is worth $52.7 billion.2
Sustainability new focus for Winning Group
Not content to rest on his laurels, Winning has firmly set his sights on continued improvements. Central to these plans is the business’ new company mission, launched last year, which adds tackling sustainability across the Group’s businesses its focus.
These initiatives are already proving popular with customers, with reviews for Appliances Online highlighting both the customer service experience and positive contribution to the environment.
Appliances Online and Winning Group’s Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – which measure how likely customers are to recommend a business to friends and family – appear to have benefitted already.
In June, Appliances Online’s NPS sat at 82 out of a possible 100 with Winning Group not far behind at 71. Both scores sit well above the average retailer NPS of 41.3
The company is only at the start of its sustainability journey, says Winning, and will continue to make improvements.
“Winning Group’s mission is to provide the best experiences in the world, for the world – for our customers, our people, our communities and the planet,” he says.
“Over the next 10 years we will transform the way we operate with, and within, our ecosystem to create a positive impact on people and the planet. We acknowledge that we are at the start of a long journey, however we are committed to continuous improvement to work in partnership with our ecosystem to achieve our goals.”
As part of this, the company has set itself several ambitious targets for 2025, including:
- Achieving net zero operational emissions (scope 1 and 2).
- Ensuring 100% of packaging used by the business is recyclable.
- Diverting waste from landfill.
- Embedding indigenous reconciliation, inclusion and diversity principles into business processes.
A bankable partnership
Winning said the Group’s partnership with CommBank has been a key driver of its recent success.
“The Commonwealth Bank are our true partners in our business. They are integral to us achieving our company mission and helping us to grow,” he said.
“They provide us with market guidance at a macro level and are aware of our plans for the future. Through their support and understanding of our vision, we continue to be agile and to innovate, to create the best experiences in the world - for the world.”
Brynie Hall, Relationship Executive for CommBank’s Major Client Group, described Winning Group as a standout online organisation. The partnership between the two businesses began during the pandemic, when Winning Group switched banking providers for the first time in 115 years.
“Online sales really skyrocketed through 2019 and onwards. People were forced to buy online and they really embraced that,” Hall says. “We were able to give Winning Group a lot of head room in their working capital facilities to help manage that growth, enabling them to continue buying more stock to meet the demand in their sales.”
Hall says CommBank is working with several other business clients on similar strategies as a way to hedge against inflation and supply chain complications which have emerged over the past year.
The Winning Formula
Winning Group’s John Winning shares his three steps to success:
- A good retailer is not only defined when things go right, but also how they handle things when they go wrong.
- Place customer service at the heart of every decision you make.
- Consider the customer’s whole journey from the minute they land on your website and step foot inside your store, until well after they receive their product.
CommBank is dedicated to supporting Australian retailers to achieve their vision. For more information on how we can help your business visit www.commbank.com.au/retailers