This year’s Retailer Awards recognises Australian retailers that are delivering outstanding customer experience in every aspect of their business. Alongside hosts, Inside Retail, CommBank had the privilege of presenting sports retailer, Rebel, with the top award for customer experience of the year.
According to Wayne Tozer, Rebel’s acting Managing Director, the award is a testament to the way Rebel has changed its approach to engaging customers.
Wayne says that since becoming part of the Super Retail Group in 2011, Rebel has transitioned from being product-centric to focusing on a broader customer solution that transcends product.
At Rebel we are connecting with our customers around the solutions and experiences that inspire them to live their passion. “We are not about just selling our customers a cricket bat - we want them to score a century!”
“We no longer look at the product as the answer in isolation. In fact, we think about what the customer wants over the long term before we even start thinking about the product.”
Wayne says that to create an experience for Rebel customers that sufficiently aligns with their passion for sports, the business developed an initiative called ‘services’. According to Wayne, Rebel looked at this in two ways – direct interactions with customers and add-on support.
“People tend to equate service with the physical interaction with our team and that’s the first factor we focus on.”
“But if you come in for a pair of shoes and you want to run a marathon, we also want to provide you with a training program or connect you with a running club. We are now looking at integrating with podiatrists and personal trainers.”
The longer term, post-sales opportunities are also crucial to consider, Wayne says, invoking Rebel’s mantra of ‘we want you to start right’ and then evolve with the customer. “You might have a customer that wants to start with a 5km race and finish with a marathon. We want to support them with everything they need to succeed. It’s iterative and goes well beyond a single transaction.”
The in-store testing ground
Being iterative and adapting to customer behaviours sits at the heart of Rebel’s approach to enhancing its in-store experience. Wayne explains that while Rebel uses a range of data sources to understand customer behaviour, testing new ways to satisfy customer needs in-store delivers unique empirical insights.
“We use a test and learn model at our Macquarie store where we trial new initiatives in terms of our store layout. A simple example is our development of two trial ‘ecosystems’ - or an in-store product and service focus - around football and running. But when observing customers, we realised that they shopped for running apparel differently to shopping for football boots, and this led us to believe that our football ecosystem would work and running wouldn’t. The numbers won’t tell you that.”
To evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts, Rebel uses a number of measures. “Transactions naturally come into play, and we use post-sales metrics such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS),” Wayne says. “We also look at other things such as product returns, because if we get it right and the solution fits, returns should drop off.”
According to Wayne, if Rebel are performing against these measures then it has an amplifying effect – for customers and the Rebel team.
“We are starting to feel that the engagement of our team is growing, because if your customers are happy then the team is more likely to be engaged and satisfied. In this way, a good customer experience becomes a virtuous circle.”