The Retailer Spring Edition 2022




The Ukraine crisis advances global sustainability SUSTAINABILITY


Maintaining focus on the digital transformation journey

Is the UK better prepared for SCA than the rest of Europe?

The road to retail recovery: are we there yet?

Partnership Opportunities with BRC BRC brings together retail leaders, policymakers, influencers and industry partners to help members stay informed of key industry issues and developments

17k + 17k + 4k + 7k +

We are looking for partners to position alongside BRC as industry thought leaders to create and deliver engaging content. Our 2022 calendar offers virtual, hybrid and the return of face to face as we open our own event space at The Form Rooms in London.

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individual visits to our website for 2021

visits to the news page

BRC 2022 Focus Areas

Partner event & content opportunities include:

Change Programmes Climate Action Roadmap Diversity & Inclusion Charter Today Agenda Supporting Covid Recovery, Packaging & Waste, Digital Retailing, Business Taxation & Rates, International Trade, Violence & Crime Other hot topics we will cover: emerging retail technology, the changing consumer, driving loyalty, AI and the customer experience, cyber security, demand volatility plus many more as our agenda reacts to the ever-changing needs of the retail sector.

Forums & Seminars

Webinars & Roundtables

Radio Retail – BRC’s new Podcast

Member networking receptions

TO GET INVOLVED AND FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PARTNERING WITH BRC CONTACT: Susan Cameron, Partnerships Manager Diane Fievez, Head of Commercial Partnerships


Helen Dickinson OBE Chief Executive British Retail Consortium

We were all shocked by the news in late February that Russia had invaded Ukraine. Over a month on and our screens remain filled with the devastating realities of the conflict. Like many, my heart goes out to the millions of people being forced to flee their country. To the millions more still suffering in Ukraine. To people around theworldwho have loved ones in Ukraine. Naturally, people’s first thoughts are to their own. Retailers responded similarly, engaging in the herculean task of supporting colleagues and their families abroad. At home too, colleagues have needed reassurance and, in many cases, financial and wider sup port. Many have friends or family who are directly impacted by the conflict. HR teams across the industry have been busy assessing the impact and implementing necessary support. An external focus quickly followed. The industry response was heartening. The BRC has tracked over £20 million in retail humanitarian donations (and rising!) from our members to the people of Ukraine. This is before the huge volume of donations-in-kind, such as nappies, beds, clothing, food parcels and more – sent to refugee outposts in both Ukraine and neighbouring countries. As British households open their homes and their hearts to Ukrainian refugees, retailers are also looking to provide much-needed stability and security to as many people as possible. Many have committed to offering jobs to those who have fled here, in roles ranging from in-store to manufacturing and logistics operations. Public attention has since widened to the economic and cost-of-living impact of the conflict. Even before the war began, the Bank of England was predicting inflation to peak at 7% in 2022, owing in part to the massive cost pressures working their way through the supply chain. Commodity prices were already rising; shipping and transport costs had soared over the last 24 months, labour costs were ever-increasing, and oil prices were approaching $100 even before Russia’s invasion. The Bank of England now expects inflation to top 10% later this year. I still think they are under estimating the impacts of what we are seeing. Either way, the conflict, and the resulting sanctions on Russia, are impacting the global supply of oil and natural gas, wheat, sunflower oil, and more. This continues to push up costs throughout supply chains, and the cost of logistics impacts every single movement a good makes on its way to our homes. Energy prices are perhaps the biggest concern for consumers. Despite the energy price cap reaching a record high in October 2021, it rose 54% this month, and a similar increase is expected later this year. This is hammering households and hurting businesses. Government support for households, from the fuel duty cut, to changes in National Insurance Contribution (NIC) thresh olds, have done little to mitigate the Government’s own NIC rate hikes, let alone the massive rise in the cost-of living. Retailers have done their best to help struggling households, keeping down the price of essentials the best they can. Many retailers have expanded their value or entry level ranges, and they have continued to find cost savings where they can. This has been partially successful; our own Shop Price Index, which measures the costs of essential food and other goods, has seen consistently lower inflation than the broader ONS Consumer Price Index basket. At the start of 2022, staff vacancies in retail rose to over 100,000 for the first time since 2017. Retention is now business critical, and retailers will reap the rewards of the support they show their people. Doing the right thing has never been more important. Whether it’s supporting colleagues during these difficult times or protecting customers from the full shock of rising costs, building and retaining loyalty is vital. While the world around changes, some things never do!


Retailers have done their best to help struggling house holds, keeping down the price of essentials the best they can.”




The Road To Retail Recovery: Are We There Yet? Sarah Abu-Amero // Local Data Company




Shift In Consumer Rights Landscape Increases Risks For Retailers Jeremy Drew, Lambros Kilaniotis, Jon Bartley // RPC




How The Global Supply Chain Crisis Will Affect Chargebacks Monica Eaton-Cardone // Chargebacks911




Keeping Your Cool: A Practical Guide To Comfort And Wellbeing For Retail James Harman // Mitsubishi Electric




Active Travel: Putting The Pedal Power Back Into Retail Stephanie Kyle // Burness Paull LLP


Do You Have The Right ‘Transformational’ Cx Partner? Mike Withey // WNS


Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 David Jones // Womble Bond Dickinson


Food Safety In A Digital World // Physical2Digital


Retail’s New Superpower Nicolas Hammer // Critizr


Retailers Need Strong And Robust Internal Controls In These Challenging Times Matt Dalton, Arlene Wewege // Mazars




The Ukraine Crisis Advances Global Sustainability Danny Bagge // IBM


Consumers Now Hold All The Power. Are Retailers Ready? Joel Bines, Matt Clark // AlixPartners


Reshaping Retail: How Ethics And Sustainability Are Changing Retail’s Ecosystem Karen Johnson // Barclays


Adapting To Change Dan Fox // Aon


Turn Paper Receipts Digital To Protect The Environment And The Bottom Line Natasha Abel // Flux


The Future Shape Of Retail And The Trends And Capabilities Which Will Determine Future Success Sophie Birshan // Google


Getting The S In Esg Transparency Right Daphne Guelker // UL




Trends In Digital Payments In 2022: What To Expect? Alessio Damonti // Axerve


If It’s Illegal Offline It Should Be Illegal Online – Age Verification Martin Wilson, Keith Mabbitt // OneID


Sca: Turning A Regulatory Requirement Into A Competitive Advantage Akil Downes //


Is The Uk Better Prepared For Sca Than The Rest Of Europe? Ed Whitehead // Signifyd


How Can We Protect Retail Workers Against A Torrent Of Abuse? Chris Brook-Carter //Retail Trust

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Cybersecurity Needs To Be Top Of Mind For Retailers Danielle Papadakis // Mimecast




Dhwani Swaminarayan Content Strategist StoreForce

A Single Solution for Speciality

1 Sales Intelligence Tool As per the Global state of sales 2021 report by LinkedIn, 74% of sellers say their organisation plans to spend more on sales intelligence tools in the next 12 months. It is the right time for specialty retailers too to invest in tools which can identify the right sales opportunities by analysing customer trends and by pinpointingwhere andwhen stores need to focus their resource. Analysing store-specific trends and forecasting monthly or weekly goals into achievable targets at the store and employee level will help them get the most out of their brick-and-mortar operations. Enabling retail leaders to manage stores with real-time KPI dashboards, statistics, and an advanced reporting component to communicate per formance to all levels within an organisation will allow them to drive the store’s business more effectively. 2 Labour Scheduling tool A Specialty Retailer does half of its business in its 20 peak open hours. It is critical that retailers meet the needs of these hours to achieve desired sales targets as you cannot achieve your weekly goals without success at peak. One important tool for specialty retailers to invest in is labour scheduling to achieve the highest result during peak hours. Specialty retailers need to invest in a customised labour scheduling tool that builds performance-optimised schedules based on projected traffic trends and continuous assessment of store and employee performance. If this tool can generate schedules that are designed to maximise performance in compliance with labour laws, company policies, and qualifications, brands can focus on delivering the best customer experience and labour costs will go down too.

Retailers to Run the Store Profitably

By looking at the history of changes and challenges, particularly when many challenges emerge together, a unified solution often emerges too. The invention of a Swiss Army knife happened in 1884 when the Swiss army needed a tool that could open canned food, aid in disassembling a rifle, provide a blade, and a screwdriver all in one pocket solution. Retail has alsowitnessed multiple changes and challenges throughout the years and retailers adopted various tools on this journey on a needed-basis. This adaptation has been evolving slowly over time until 2020, when consumer behaviour changed overnight, and technological adaptation accelerated. In such a rapid transition there was little time to strategise and think beyond survival. As per the 2021 retail industry analysis by Deloitte, only three in 10 executives rated their organisations as having mature digital capabilities to cope with these changes. The store of the future post pandemic is still in its early stages. Leaders should act now to prepare their organisation for a technology enabled revolution in customer experience and employee efficiency. As per one report of Mckinsey, the store of the future is likely to achieve EBIT margins twice those of today, with the added benefits of improved cus tomer experience, better employee engagement, and an easier-to run store. The technology necessary to achieve this is available now and is ROI positive. Let us take a look at the top 4 tools needed by Speciality retailers to run a profitable store.

experience across all channels.” ‘‘

Unified Solution The market has a multitude of solutions for the above-mentioned tools which can make our businesses easier and more profitable. A downside of these point solutions is that they are often independent and not easily accessible from a single system. Due to this, a comprehensive analysis of a business through a single platform becomes almost impossible. Also, they are typically homogeneous solutions that are designed to meet the needs of multiple industries instead of focusing on the particular needs of specialty retail. Considering these limitations, as well as keeping cost effectiveness in mind, a team of retail experts came together and designed a unified tool that can deliver sales intelligence, labour scheduling, retail execution, employee engagement, and other retail enablement tools through a single platform named StoreForce. StoreForce understands the specialty retail business, its goals, and its path to success very well and provides a unified solution for today’s omnified retail.

What is the topmost priority of a retailer when it comes to maintaining brand loyalty? It’s delivering a consistent brand

3 Retail Execution Tool What is the topmost priority of a retailer when it comes to maintaining brand loyalty? It’s delivering a consistent brand experience across all channels. Forbes says presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Specialty retailers need to ensure a consistent brand execution and customer experience by utilising a retail execution tool that helps them do task management, communications, generate customised store visit reports, audits, surveys, and action plans. Effective implementation of brand guidelines, promotions, events, and other elements required to provide the ideal customer experience can be achieved through an effective retail execution tool. 4 Employee Engagement tool Technology isn’t just re-shaping the customer experience, working in retail looks different too. Roles of employees have been upgraded with newer responsibilities and higher contributions to the business. Retaining and engaging associates are key factors in bringing the brand to life by providing the best customer experience. Specialty retailers need to invest in an employee engagement tool that provides their employees with schedule flexibility, as well as the abilitywork in multiple locations, work for more hours, communicate and get recognised among the stores, increase their knowledge, and get involved in healthy competition. Facilitating and engaging employees by putting the right tools in their hands can contribute positively to the business.

Dhwani Swaminarayan




David Perks Director of Retail Services Objectivity Ltd

H ow to adapt to an evolv ing digital transfor mation journey to stay ahead of the pace of change.

There are so many solution providers out there offering off-the-shelf products and, for some, this is an attractive offer. They bring expertise and experience in solving specific pain points, and there’s a level of comfort in being a ‘fast follower’ and doing what others have already done. “Steal with pride,” as they say, and that maywork for some. Nevertheless, off-the-shelf products aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. More businesses today are using partnerships to solve business issues or add new channels, whether that is bringing in complimentary offer ings or services using concessions or a delivery partner. This can carry its own challenges when it comes to system integration and the need to be efficient and keep costs under control to ensure the partnership is a win-win for both parties. This approach can also add complexity to an already complex business model. The retail, hospitality, and leisure industries have been particularly hard hit and have arguably had to adapt the quickest over the last two years. Balancing costs, customer experience, online/ offline trading, and keeping staff and customers safe have been forefront of their minds. In addition to finding new physical trading partners, service sector businesses are turning to bespoke software solution partners that can support part or all of their digital transformation journey. There aremany reasons to take such an approach. It may be that the business doesn’t have all of the capability to build its own or, indeed, the capacity to deliver it all internally and needs support for individual projects. A partnership approach can be extremely helpful as it may be tackling a broad set of operational challenges and having a thought partner that works on awin-win basis can be veryvaluable as they can provide consulting advice. The partner can also suggest ways to optimise your digital transformation strategy by sharing resources or expertise. They are often licensed providers with the like of Microsoft and Mendix and, therefore, can help choose what’s right for the business based on current relationships. They can also work alongside internal teams and be flexible enough towork with existing partners, as often they have their own partner networks.

Below, I have listed some of themost common challenges I see retail and brand organisations facing today: • Legacy systems replacement — updating payroll, forecasting and replenishment, intranets, supplier portals. • Legacy process optimisation — i.e., replacing Excel and paper-based activ ities; exploring low-code solutions, power applications and the optimum use of cloud services. • Online/offline (omnichannel) — quick fixes that were put in place during the pandemic that now need refining or improving. • Sustainability agendas — digital solu tions that can support service providers by providing tools to reduce waste and the use of packaging as well as track the product lifecycle. • Labour optimisation — tools and solu tions to support the right people, the right place, at the right time goal that can be built to suit and support team engagement and communication, or to organise tasks digitally. • Offer and product — i.e., store and ranging design, customer personalisa tion, loyalty programmes, pricing and promotions, right product, right location, right volume; tools that can be created to support any customer-facing need, including the use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality. • Data management and 24/7 support ser vices — these are becoming essential for businesses that now operate online and offline and across multiple time zones.

Digital transformation can be complex and chal lenging. Many consider it a strategic imperative, but interpreting its execution varies widely. For some, this has meant updating old legacy systems, removing reliance on Excel spread sheets, or buying off-the-shelf solutions to replace manual, paper-based processes. It may be that the definition of a successful digital transformation will evolve as the industry landscape changes. I haveworked for a number of different retailers and, rightly so, they have all had digital as a key strategic component next to, often: range and offer, customer experience, team engagement, leadership development, and cost optimisa tion. Sound familiar? The digital transformation journey varies, depending on an organisation’s specific needs, leading to retailers sometimes onboarding this strategywithout having a clear goal in mind. Instead, digital transformation becomes more of an intent, which often lacks a clear roadmap with milestones and a good understanding of the destination. The pace of digitally enabled change is only ever-increasing, spawning new tech solutions and developments. But, coupled with rapidly changing consumer demands following Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, cost pressures due to inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine, it’s all the more important to be clear about where you’re going. Yet, it’s equally crucial to remain agile in order to stay ahead of customer expectations and the competition. Many businesses now view digital transfor mation in much the same way as they should approach people development: as an enabler for the business to operate more efficiently and improve the customer experience over time. What this should look like will not always be clear and this, to some extent, is right and will varyvastly depending on the type of sector and a business’s level of digital maturity.

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consideration.” ‘‘

If you have a broad digital transformation strategy, deciding whether to partner or buy off-the-shelf solutions will need careful

competition.” ‘‘

Yet, it’s equally crucial to remain agile in order to stay ahead of customer expectations and the

If you have a broad digital transformation strategy, deciding whether to partner or buy several off-the-shelf solutions will need careful consideration. Either way, having a trusted credible partner or multiple partners with the experience and expertise to support you along your journeywill be invaluable in helping your business thrive in the future. Such a partnership can also enable you to get a clear view of your digital transformation strategy, helping you to stay on track to meet your goals. For more information on how the smart use of technology can accelerate your digital trans formation journey, visit Objectivity’s retail services page.

David Perks 07513722192


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Ali Rezvan Retail Director Microsoft UK

T echnology is the key to From the impact of ongoing bottlenecks caused by Covid-19 and the raft of changes to EU/UK trading regulations as a result of Brexit, to the energy crisis and inflation, never before have retailers faced such a huge level of disruption to their supply chains as they have during the last two years. These challenges have affected all corners of the retail industry, from initial stages and materials sourcing to partnerships and final mile delivery. The challenges of the last few years have also put a spotlight on retailers’ reliance on single suppliers and single country supply routes for many organisations, which has forced many retail sector companies to rethink their net works and consider supplier diversification to ensure continuity in their supply chain. Alongside this, it’s also vital that businesses innovate their supply chain processes and look for ways to utilise data technologies to gather invaluable insights, which they can use to pre pare for a more sustainable future. Retailers must innovate, seeking advanced technologies to transform their supply chain from purely that of an operations hub, into the epicentre of business. Technologies including AI, machine learning and cloud offer retailers the insight they need to build resiliency into their supply chains – one that bakes in busi ness continuity and streamlines operations, to prepare them for the challenges of the future. Anticipating shifting demands and trends with precision is one of the best ways to succeed in a challenging, fast-moving retail landscape. That said, in the new world of hybrid work and e-commerce, retailers must almost move away from everything they used to knowabout historic patterns of consumer behaviour and towards an informed, investigative model, where data drives decisions and promotes agility. creating a fully agile and future-proof supply chain Innovation provides invaluable insight

Advanced analytics and real-time data led insights can ensure that a retail business is making informed decisions at any moment. There are hidden insights buried in supply chain operations that have enormous power to drive new standards in efficiency and sustainability, as well as aid with scenario planning. Visibility is crucial, and the only way to achieve true agility, by enabling businesses to spot problems before they occur, coupled with end-to-end transparency. The real-time insights and operational over views that cloud-based systems can offer can be transformational to the running of a retail business. Rather than continuing to simply react to change, businesses can proactively arm themselves with the tools to unify data and receive predictive insights fromAI and IoT across their operations. From planning and procurement, order fulfilment, production and stock to warehousing and transportation, operational efficiency, product quality and profitability can be boosted with the use of the right technology. Alongside the ongoing impact of the pandemic, there is an additional challenge facing retail ers that they cannot afford to ignore. Climate change and the pressing need for supply chains to become more sustainable is an important factor that all retail businesses must address. Consumers are increasingly demanding cli mate-conscious goods and are engaged farmore than ever beforewith the subject ofwhere their purchases originate from. Alongside the post Brexit transition period during which trade is less frictionless than it once was with Europe, many organisations are looking at ways to simplify and even shrink their supply chains in an effort to move towards a more adaptable business model. Retailers are more aware than ever of how important sustainability is to their customer, but despite this, only 40 per cent of UK retailers are yet to apply environmental standards in their supply chain. Gaining a greater under standing of a business’ in-motion operations can allow retailers to spot opportunities to Driving up environmental standards

make improvements. For example, they could look at how to introduce recycling, repair or refurbishment into their supply chain and low carbon transport and logistics options, aswell as collaboratingwith other suppliers and retailers to promote greener attitudes towards purchas ing and waste among their consumers. Furthermore, retailers can also utilise technol ogies to digitise their value chain and build a connected data strategy for monitoring their emissions, waste and energy usage throughout their operations. This is particularly poignant as energy prices increase and pressure is added to profit margins, meaning any steps taken now to reduce emissions and boost sustainabilitywill likely be considered a wise business decision. Reacting quickly to any scenario There were many examples during the pan demic of certain goods surging in popularity, for example bicycles and desk chairs as the workforce began working remotely and travel ling in confined spaces came became high-risk. Those businesses that were able to react to these consumer trends quickly, saw their profits jump as a result. Supply chain management tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 arms organisations with the insights they need to make rapid, intelligent and data-backed decisions in a challenging market. Whether retailers need to shift their stock around, make changes to where it’s held and scale up with any growth patterns they experience, delivering stock to the right place at the right time to keep upwith customer demand is still the number one goal. Becoming a truly agile and streamlined business is only possible bymaking use of the advanced analytics and real-time data-led insights that technology can provide.

Ali Rezvan

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It is vital that businesses innovate their supply chain processes and look for ways to utilise technology to gather invaluable insights.”

market at large.” ‘‘

The 2021 data strongly suggests that… the worst effects of the pandemic are over for the retail


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Romulus Grigoras CEO OneStock

I mplementing a strategy to sell pre-owned items can be a real challenge, but omnichan nel solutions are once again the key. With the rise of platforms like Gumtree, Depop and FacebookMarketplace, consumers’ interest in pre-owned items has become clear. However, for retailers that would like to integrate pre-loved items into their product offering, there are quite a few logistical challenges. Let’s take a look at the key steps of implementing a pre-owned items strategy and go over how omnichannel solutions can help.

What are the benefits of pre-owned goods for customers and omnichannel brands? Including pre-owned items into your business strategy has many advan tages, both for your customers and your brands. The benefits for the omnichannel customer - Savings on items purchased: access to quality items at an affordable price compared to new collections. - Shopping with confidence: In the fashion and leather goods sectors in particular, customers can refresh their wardrobes with confidence as the items resold are checked and authenticated. In the electronics and household appliances sector, buyers of reconditioned goods are reassured as they know they are purchasing an item that has been thoroughly inspected, repaired and is in good working order. - Respect for environmental concerns: customers who are sensitive to sustainability issues find that the used goods market is a new way to shop which is more in line with their values.

Pre-owned items, a promising trend for retailers

The used goods market is estimated to grow by 84 billion dollars between now and 2030 (GlobalData Consumer Survey).” ‘‘ that list!” ‘‘ The used goods market has clearly emerged as a key strategic axis for retailers. This trend that consumers are loving, allows retailers, regardless of industry, to take a step towards socially responsible retailing while significantly reducing their carbon footprint. It is also strategic because it generates sustainable practices by encouraging the use of items for as long as possible and so extending the life cycle of a product.

Consumers are turning to more ethical and sustainable brands, so make sure you’re on

The benefits for omnichannel brands Engaging in the used goods market can help you generate new sales. Vouchers that you hand out in exchange for used items will be reinvested in new items for a 100% circular economy! - Improved loyalty: by creating circularity, brands encourage their cus tomers, via vouchers, to reinvest in new items - Winning over new customers: the circular economy enables brands to win over a new, younger audience, who are fans of used goods and second-hand stores. 45% of millennials and generation Z now refuse to buy from non-eco-friendly brands (Source: GlobalData Consumer Survey) - Optimisation of margins: selling the same items several times will help retailers optimise margins and generate new revenue. - Enhanced brand image: the brand, and by extension its products, will gain a more eco-friendly and sustainable image, which is reassuring for customers

For retailers that wish to implement the resale of pre-loved items, there are many logistical elements to coordinate but the collection process is relatively simple: 1. The customer brings the branded items to their local store. 2. Pre-trained store staff identify and sort the items according to their condition: Excellent (new with label), Very Good, Good, Poor. Any items that are determined to be in poor condition will not be put back on sale but will be recycled. 3. The store can then give the customer a voucher in exchange for the deposited items. This voucher can be used both in-store and on the e-commerce site, for both new and used products. 4. The items are then inspected further. If no issues are detected, the used products will be steam cleaned, relabelled, and resold either exclusively online or in the stores’ pre-owned section.

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So, to summarise, the role of the OMS plays when integrating pre owned items to a retailer’s product offering is as follows: 1. Establishing a unified stock taking into account both new and pre-owned items. 2. Organising orders, regardless of the type of basket, according to the same business rules. 3. Using the same omnichannel solutions already used by the retailer to process orders: Ship From Store, Order in Store, etc. 4. Offering the same delivery methods as those offered by the retailer for baskets of new items: Click & Collect, Reserve & Collect, home delivery, etc. 5. 5. Processing self-service returns for pre-owned items If you’d like to read more about how retailers can adapt to the growth of the circular economy model, download our white paper: https://bit. ly/3rtR2P0

Re-marketing pre-owned items in an omnichannel environment The OMS will account for used items within the unified stock and organise them, in the same way it would for new items. Customers will be able to create baskets of different types: new items only, pre-owned items only, mixed baskets (new items + pre-owned items). Whatever the combination, the order will be managed by the OMS, which will select the stock point best able to fulfil the order, whilst at the same time respecting the business requirements. The OMS will allow retailers to implement the same omnichannel solu tions for pre-loved items as for new items: ordering references in-store, shipping items from the stores (Ship From Store), etc. For these purchases, the Delivery Promise can also be implemented and will offer delivery methods similar to those normally offered by the retailer: home delivery, delivery to a pick-up point, Click & Collect, Reserve & Collect etc. Finally, returning used items could also be made possible in the same way it is for new items, such as returning the items by post or to the store. The items must be labelled and in the same condition to that in which they were delivered.

Romulus Grigoras


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Mike Withey Corporate Senior Vice President WNS

I n a world of rapidly rising customer expectations, the time to adopt next-gen CX operating models is now. Most retailers have strong partner ecosystems to deliver CX services. However, there is a growing consensus that CX operating models have not kept pace with the acceleration into digital and omni-channel dimensions. In our connected, ‘on demand’ world, where customers can share their experiences in seconds, the resulting impact (good or bad) can influence everything from loyalty and advocacy to attrition and reputational damage. Traditional CX supplier relationships are nowunder strain as retailers set much higher expectations for hyper-personalised, contextualised and seamless customer experiences. This begs the question, what constitutes an ideal next-gen CX partner? Four Essential Attributes of a Transformational CX Partner Outstanding, integrated and agile capabilities in four major areas are the hallmarks of the new-age CX partner. 1. Outcome Based Services Transformational CX partners know the difference between delivering ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes ’. They contract for delivery of defined business outcomes (such as identified business priorities and customer experiences), as against delivery of outputs (restricted to completed transactions). The traditional CX supplier, on the other hand, aims for defined services at defined costs – measured by clear service level agreements (SLAs) at the sub-process level. Cost of service depends on the input resources deployed, predominantly people. The underlying pricing formula of this model is driven bymultiple variants of FTEs (i.e. of transaction or effort). We term this ‘FTEs in disguise’. Digital transformation and automation have today created a tipping point where the delivery of CX services is no longer FTE-dependent. New transformational models, based on digital delivery and outcomes, nowallow retailers to see opportunities beyond their existing supplier operating models. These include: • Assuming end-to-end responsibility • Funding digital transformation • Providing value-added services, e.g. cognitive analytics • Evolving the services with ongoing innovation, in line with market requirements • Guaranteeing both outputs and outcomes, including cost reduction

2. A versatile digital experience toolkit What technology enablement does your CX partner bring to the table? Can their services be easily scaled (up or down) depending on demand so that you only pay for what you use? A transformational partner provides customisable and integrated dig ital CX models, tools and platforms that remain relevant to evolving business needs without straining budgets. Their versatile repository holds automated customer journey discovery tools, machine learning, cognitive and AI capabilities, robotics and chatbots, self-serve systems, community-based issue resolution, knowledge management, and secure omni-channel capabilities. In particular, they demonstrate two stand-out capabilities: effective change management to ensure pragmatic and successful implementation of digital technology; and the ability to cleanse, manage and extract data to create insights and value. This leads us to the next key attribute. 3. A data-driven Centre of Excellence (CoE) When customer data is trapped in siloed departments, driving hyper-per sonalised conversations and improved loyalty can be challenging. Now, layer this with multiple legacy IT systems and it becomes really hard to ‘KYC’ (know your customer). This is where AI-led analytics and intelligent automation can provide richer insights into what really matters to customers. The right CX partner invests in advanced analytics CoEs to provide access to the latest in industry expertise, technologies and innovations. Examples of analytics areas include: • Customer analytics: This delivers customer segmentation and profiling to enable personalised messaging and journey mapping; • Revenue enhancement: The analytics here is used to understand market baskets, next-best recommendations and re-set targets for sales conversion; • Customer retention: This gives insight into loyalty schemes and the propensity to churn; • Page optimization: This includes website analytics, purchase conversion and advanced search.

and outcomes.” ‘‘

Transformational CX partners know the difference between delivering outputs

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and innovations.” ‘‘

The right CX partner invests in advanced analytics CoEs to provide access to the latest in industry expertise, technologies

Market mix modelling and pricing optimisation are other indispensable services offered by analytics CoEs. The CoE functions as a test bed for adopting new trends, technologies and priorities. It can effectively assess new revenue streams such a programmatic ad serve, augmented reality and the metaverse. Additionally, it can drive strategic initiatives such as sustainability and evaluation of new markets. 4. The power of a digital talent force The transformational CX partner holds a new breed of talent whose forte comprises problem solving, speed of resolution, innovation and tech-savviness. These ‘Digital Associates’ are experienced engineers and orchestrators who can manage high-complexity conversations in a tone that resonates with customers. The recruitment of Digital Associates is a multi-layered process. It is fortified with continuous and engaging training to build future-relevant knowledge, skills and confidence. Learning academies provide a wide range of blended and self-paced learning journeys, which are easily accessible on digital platforms. Above all, transformational CX partners pay close heed to align their culture and values with their client’s. Such an approach inculcates in their workforce a deep understanding of, and passion for, the client’s brand and customers. Summary The above attributes are important, but one thing to remember is that culture trumps everything! Your CX partner simply must be a true reflection of your brand and values and must be easy to do business with. The world has seen a remarkable shift in customer experience, driven solely by customer outcomes and needs. So, ask yourself, do I have the right transformational CX partner? If you do, you are blessed. If not, move on to a different relationship – and do so rapidly.

Mike Withey 07880-656-326


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P rotecting the safety of British goods

However, the burden of prevention does not only fall to businesses themselves, with repercussions having the potential to affect the entire economy the British Government have implemented their own processes to help protect the safety of our food. 2021 saw the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) record ‘190 disruptions (food crime interven tions) to food crimewith 52 Pursue disruptions and 138 Prepare, Prevent or Protect disruptions being delivered’. As well as dedicated crime units, new regulations are scheduled for late 2023whichwill increase the number of checks to Products of Animal Origin (POAO) being imported from the EU into the UK. Originally due to come into play in July 2022, they have now been pushed back due to the Russia Ukraine war and to allow the UK to adapt to the rising cost of living. When the regulations are in effect, products will: • Need to pass through a ‘designated Border Control Post that is able to handle POAO.’ • Need to be accompanied by an Environmental Health Certificate (EHC) to prove that it meets UK standards and; • Be subject to physical and identity checks for the following: 1. All remaining regulated animal by-products. 2. All regulated plants and plant products. 3. All meat and meat products. 4. All remaining high-risk food not of animal origin. 71% of the small to medium businesses they surveyed stated that dig italisation helped them to survive the pandemic.” ‘‘

This is in addition to the existing import controls that affect products of this nature which will remain in place. While additional checks could assist in resolving food crime concerns, the added labour and costs associated with ensur ing compliance could strain a sector already functioning in a ‘new normal’. It appears that a solution is needed that will support the industry in providing assurance of the integrity of imported goods, ensuring secure documentation and managing new regulations without detriment to their current operations. The agri-food sector, which is suffering from a shortage of labour, would be able to perform fewer checks should they have evidence of that goods have not been tampered with. The onward march to digitalisation may hold the answer to many of these concerns, not only for the businesses involved but for the UK Government itself which is currently working on the 2025 Future Borders project, to which it has dedicated £180m. In a recent report by Salesforce, 71% of the small to medium busi nesses surveyed stated digitalisation helped them to survive the pandemic, reinforcing the argument that digital processes provide the agility to contend with change. Physical2Digital’s innovative ‘Traces’ platform has been developed to specifically optimise the way that Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods are moved, while also enabling businesses to be agile in a changing regulatory environment. It allows both importing and exporting countries to track their products from supplier, through out the supply chain to its final destination, with a full audit trail and digital documents, protecting importing nations against document fraud and allowing them to see exactly where their product has been. Physical seals have also been developed that are connected to the digital world through the Internet of Things; these are not only linked to all relevant documentation for a load, but also provide physical evidence if there has been an attempt to tamper with goods, providing reassurance to importers that the load has remained secure.

The agri-food industry has had to advance and adapt at a rapid pace throughout the Brexit transition period. With processes and opera tions having to undergo drastic change to keep product moving, it has been a turbulent time for the sector, however the era of change is not yet over. Q4 of 2023 is scheduled to bring a host of new regulations for the safety of food being imported into the UK, the question is will these changes help or hinder businesses in their current battle to keep their product safe for consumers. Moving products intended for human and animal consumption has always come with its own challenges; ensuring the safety of the product, the integrity of the load and that it arrives with minimal impact on shelf life all have a substantial effect on shipment planning and cost. Many of these processes have already felt the impact of both post-Brexit regulations and the Covid-19 pandemic, with Just-In-Time operations being severely affected meaning shipments were reaching warehouses 6 days after they were dispatched, with previous timescales being at 2.5 days. With supply chains being disrupted in this way the risk of food crime has increased; a 2021 report fromThe Food Standards Agency mentions that the pandemic has increased the level of vulnerability to food fraud and businesses have to put an even greater focus on its prevention. Assuring food against the adulteration of products and document fraud not only protects the British public, 93% of which are confident that the food they pur chase is safe to consume, but also reduces the potential risk of ‘economic and social burdens of foodborne disease and food hypersensitivity.’ It builds trust in the UK supply chain, which if undermined could impact the overall economy as well as the growth of the sector itself. This pressure for greater vigilance on an industry that is already stretched may add further strain on resources.

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Both importing and exporting businesses are still looking at a future of change and some uncertainty, but with the right digital tools and expert support they will be able to not only survive but thrive in the days to come whilst also ensuring that the product they provide to the British public remains at the current level of excellence. SOURCES 1 media/document/FSA%2021-12-13%20-%20 National%20Food%20Crime%20Unit%20 Annual%20Update.pdf 2 united-kingdom-food-security-report-2021/ united-kingdom-food-security-report-2021 theme-5-food-safety-and-consumer-confidence


A solution is needed that can support the indus try in managing new regulations and provide assurance of the integrity of goods.”


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Matt Dalton Partner Mazars

Arlene Wewege Associate Director Mazars

R etailers rapidly responded to the pandemic by digitally transforming and need to make sure internal control environments have evolved at the same pace. Retailers are facing steep energy prices, supply chain issues and rising inflation, alongside the three significant events that have turned the world on its head: Brexit, the pandemic and now the Russianwar against Ukraine. These significant challenges and events require retailers to re-think their processes and strategies on how they do business. Retailers could be forgiven for thinking that things were looking up again. After a rocky two years, January saw sales improve and retail seemed to be making a comeback as the pandemic pressures eased. But the cost-of-living crisis andwar in Ukraine has rocked consumer confidence and cast a shadow over the sector. With new uncertainties mounting, organisations need to continually review their strategies once again. This follows the massive transfor mation to business processes and practices made to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Experience shows us that emerging risks need to be discussed and brought into the boardroom on an ongoing basis. This is no longer a formal annual exercise – it requires constant horizon scanning. The retail industry has responded quickly, and now is the right time for organisations to make sure they have designed and embedded effective internal controls in their newprocesses to ensure resilience and efficiencywhilst mitigating future risks to their strategies. Ultimately, having an effective internal control environment leads to fewer surprises (earlywarning systems), better decisions and enhanced trust and confidence for investors and stakeholders. The stronger reliable controls are designed and embedded, the easier it is to shift focus to new risk areas. A well-controlled business allows for focus on strategy, achieving goals and increasing profitability. Why talk about controls now? Since the start of the pandemic, change in the retail sector has been nothing short of epic. Responding to public health measures, retailers accelerated their digitalisation programmes to move business online and continue serving consumers stuck at home in lockdowns. Online retail sales have grown substantially. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 27%1 of sales are now online compared to 19% in February 2020 shortly before Covid-19 hit the UK. In fact, online sales peaked at almost 38% in January 2021 and show little sign of falling back to pre-pandemic levels.

benefits of a strong internal controls environment


Improves quality An effective control framework raises your brand though improved process execution and reduced costs

Promotes agility Provides your operational teams a practical and efficient way to support your transformation agenda

Increases confidence

Robust controls lead to fewer surprises and enables stronger financial performance

Leads to better decisions and creates confidence for stakeholders and investors

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