Beating Amazon with Bricks and Mortar: Making Stores Work Harder

Ever wonder how bricks & mortar stores will survive the Amazon shake-up? With the retail giant recently saying it will, “destroy the retail environment in Australia”, optimising fulfilment from stores will be the true key to success.

Learn from PetStock’s General Manager, Andrew Gibbs and MyHouse’s former eCommerce Project Manager, Nathalie Reiter as they discuss how they’ve leveraged the physical store network as a distributed warehousing network.

What follows is transcript of the webinar. If you’re short for time, read on for five key take-aways.

  • Amazon’s Entry: The five things customers expect from Amazon’s entrance are cheap prices, free delivery, quick delivery, a wide range of products and brands (from household staples to hard-to-finds).
  • Benefits of Ship-From-Store: Key benefits include an increase of delivery speed, greater flexibility in delivery options, reduction in shipping costs and fulfilment times, as well as improvements in the customer experience.
  • The Case For Distributed Warehousing: It’s not a question of whether you can do it or not, it’s the question of capability and process.” GAP puts it simply as, “some people talk about Amazon with their 71 distribution centres, God bless them, we’ve got 2,600 distribution centres throughout the nation.”
  • Barriers & Operational Challenges: As well as having the right enabling technology, the core challenges of shipping from store is around staff motivation, training and impact assessment. It is about aligning everybody in the organisation behind the view of the customer, and giving the customer ultimate flexibility with delivery.
  • Tips On Getting It Right: It’s important to develop strategy around specific goals for your business, maintaining consistency in approach, playing to strengths, executing well, and keeping communication open between stores and the head office.

Read the full transcript below.

Introduction

Rob Hango-Zada: Welcome everybody to Shippit HQ, and joining via satellite is Andrew down in PETstock HQ in south Melbourne. Basically we’re going to talk a little bit about how to leverage your store network to compete with Amazon, or in short, how to beat them with brick and mortar.

Webinar Structure

So there are four things that we want you to take away from today. First of all is why stores matter when it comes to Amazon entry. It doesn’t sound like a logical fit, but if you’ve done any reading or research around the topic, it is quite a smart fit. So we’re giving some reasons why they matter.

Secondly, what the benefits of using brick and mortar stores and distributing houses. Also, how to overcome challenges associated with using your store’s fulfillment, but obviously challenging piece of work, so let’s get into the guts of that.

And finally, how to guide potential change management for retail ops, so I imagine most retail operations managers out there are kind of shrieking in despair at the sheer context of leveraging your stores as a distributed. warehousing network, so let’s get into that.

So breaking the session up into four modules. First module is talking about Physical Versus Online Retailing, the role of the store. Second module is about The Case for Distributed Warehousing. And the third is Learning from retail greats PETstock and MyHouse, on how they run about. And then we’ll save up most of the questions towards the end, but if you do have something in the meantime you’d like to ask, please do not hesitate to ask, and we’ll try and get back to you. So I’ve just been told that there’s bit of an echo, so hopefully you can hear me a little bit better now, so off we go.

Module 1: Physical Versus Online Retailing

What Australian Shoppers Are Expecting From Amazon

RHZ: Amazon has been widely talked about, I think publicised, if you… Paul Greenberg one more time, I think he might explode, but there are really five things that customers are looking for, and they’re kind of expecting from Amazon. A survey recently conducted by Nielsen was released towards the end of February, and what I really found is some quite interesting results. I think one out of every two Australian shoppers who visited the Amazon website ended up making a purchase, which is a pretty stellar conversion rate, if you really think about it.

The five things that customers expect, the first thing, the really obvious one, is cheaper prices. So Amazon is synonymous with lower prices and lower margins, and really about scale. So cheap prices are going to be in a space which Australian retail has really taken a task of the past five years, and you see a lot of lower cost entrants succeeding tremendously in markets. So whilst there will be a contested space, I think that we’ve already got a great deal of competition around price.

Second is it’s free delivery. So free shipping is obviously a basic expectation of customers in this day and age, but that’s really what they’re expecting from Amazon.

Third is faster delivery. So delivery options are now probably more important than they’ve ever been. But Amazon Prime obviously offers free two-day shipping anywhere in the state. And that’s for Prime member holders, which presents a compelling challenge to the Aussie retail market.

Fourth is the wider range of products. I don’t know if anybody knows it, but Amazon actually offers over 485 million SKUs. Quite a mean number, and in the last 24 months, I think they added 50% of that, so rapidly expanding their mix, which for them is also an opportunity for local suppliers to come and get involve in that one as well.

And lastly, a wide range of brands, so obviously going from the very small, niche kind of products, right way up to the house-hold brands.

The two I want to really focus on are around shipping, obviously. So it’s faster delivery, and free delivery are two key things which we really need to get a handle on in this market. So let’s kind of look into what Amazon is at least doing in that space.

Amazon’s Closed-Loop Logistics Model

Many of you may not have seen this, but Amazon is closing the loop on the logistics model. So their model has been quite interesting, if you’ve studied it, they start from a very simple kind of proposition, and worked that right the way through, understanding what the customer experience impact is, and looking at ways to cut costs as much as possible.

They’ve got entire teams and departments dedicated to solving the logistics challenge. But previously, having partnered with the big guys like UPS, FedEx, and the like, they’re actually closing the loop on logistics completely. So right the way through from supplies production, production to warehousing, warehousing into a distributed warehousing cross-docking, and then moving that through to the last mile.

These really presents a compelling challenge because you’ve got a provider who is not only disrupting retail, but disrupting logistics. any online retail these days who’s really driving growth and really paving the way through is focusing on how to solve the logistics issue more so than any other online retail issue. Amazon just happens to be selling products but they are without a doubt a logistics business.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise then when they’ve got over twenty jumbo jets that use as cargo planes in the US, so you can see this here is that plane the Amazon Prime library. So I’m not sure how many retailers would put their hands up and say, “Yes, we can pilot 22 jumbo jets, but they again we’re not in the States.” The more compelling thing to me was that same day is actually an option offered to 31% of the US population. 31%, a third of all Americans can purchase on the same day to an online retailer.

The secret to their success really is that they’ve got 71 fulfilment centers across the US. So it’s probably satellite fulfilment centers that preemptively ship products to. They can determine what products they need in stock locally available to the US population. So exceptional coverage, and an exceptional challenge to anybody competing with Amazon.

Location is The Last Battleground

In the words of Shutl’s founder, Shutl’s a small local delivery business which was acquired by eBay and grown quite rapidly, and the founder of Shutl is now the head of shipping globally for eBay. So they talk about really location being the last battleground for retail. So Amazon’s already beaten most retails on price and selection, but the third battleground is really on location, and it’s about smart retailers not competing that they have locations ready to roll, how do you mobilise the in defense against the big players.

Should Offline Really Compete With Online?

So the biggest question that really should be asked is, should offline really be competing with online to begin with? And I think the smarter retailers out there don’t see the channels that’s competing. So if we go to it like a purist definition of channel-based retailing, where you’ve got single channel, multi-channel, omni-channel, a lot of times these terms get thrown around quite a bit, but there really is quite many differences which could change the way a company reports on the different channels that exist with any business.

So single channel’s obviously pretty simple. It’s old-school retail, it’s either you’re online retailer that sells to customers, or you are a physical retailer that sells from your store to your customer.

Multi-channel means I operate multiple channels of sales, so you’ve got a store that sells to customers, you’re big on online presence, which sells direct to customers. And that’s really the majority of the market today.

As we move to omni-channel retailing, it is the store that actually contribute to your ability to sell online, and online contributes to your ability to sell offline. So these strategies are around Click and Collect, think about showrooming, think about ship from store, and think about ship to store. So there are a few other things that come into omni-channel. But generally speaking, it’s about a philosophy of looking at your total cost base across the multiple channels that you operate.

The Power Offline Stores Can Harness

Jumping into that, I’m thinking about the dormant power what you can enable from the store perspective. Rather than looking at stores at the red line on the balance sheet, how can they actually be leveraged to improve the way that you sell online? Very first point there is an obvious one, so if you’re shipping locally rather than across the nation, you tend to save on shipping costs. If you look at the likes of how Harvey Norman operates stores at Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne, you’ve got a customer base down at Perth, it probably makes a great deal of sense to ship out of Perth to Sydney. So there’s a natural advantage to shipping from store in the way that you’ve already paid for items to get close enough to your customer, now its just about getting it to their front doorstep.

The next piece is linked to that, which is improved stock turn, but you’ve got stock sitting in-store, generally what happens after the season’s over is you’ve got to clear that stock out of the store. So rather than doing a flash sale at the end of the season or shipping all the leftover items back to the distribution centre, there’s the opportunity to actually improve your stock, and actually selling through stock that you’ve already invested in getting to your stores.

And the third and final piece is obviously because stock is now more localised, you can actually turn on faster delivery times. So three-hour delivery becomes a reality. Harvey Norman was one of the first retailers to offer national three-hour delivery by using their store network. So it really creates the ultimate level of flexibility for your shipping options, and now start to get to that same level of fulfilment technique as Amazon.

Module 2: The Case For Distributed Warehousing

So I guess that’s kind of paints the picture before The Case of Distributed Warehousing. And I’ll jump into that in a little bit further, it really is about waking up the giant.

The Ugly Ducking: Waking Up The Giant

So sort of the ugly duckling that grows into that beautiful swan. Gap talks about this in a really easy way: “Some people talk about Amazon with their 71 distribution centres, God bless them, we’ve got 2,600 distribution centres” throughout the nation. So just think about, if Amazon does launch down under, how many distribution centres they’ll likely have launched, how many stores who actually have ready to go right now. So it’s the question of capability and process, not a question of whether you can do it or not.

Competing Priorities For Using Stores

This is going to be the last piece from me before I hand over to the panel, but they’re obviously quite evident competing priorities for using stores. So fulfilling offline sales – staff, they’re incentivised to sell. Stock is reserved for store purchasing, and space tends to come at a premium, so they often have a small footprint than you can afford with a regional distribution centre.

On the flip side, when it comes to fulfilling online sales from store, you’re now competing with staff time to sell to actually get them to start focusing on pick and pack. You’re taking stock which could have been sold in-store, and attributed against the budget or the daily sales commission for each of your store staff, but now that stock can’t be touched and is reserved for online.

And the space for the fulfilling for an additional sales channel means that you need to store a hell of a lot more stock in a particular store. So how do we store more stock where there’s a smaller footprint in space, something that’s more premium.

These are the competing priorities we’ll get under the skin of with some retailers, and we’ll let them kind of talk through how they dealt with these challenges.

Module 3: Learning from PETstock and MyHouse

So I’d like to introduce Nat, who’s been patiently waiting on my right here. So do you want to talk a little bit about your role with MyHouse, and a little bit about MyHouse as a business for those who don’t know it?

Nathalie Reiter: So MyHouse sells homeware mostly linen, bedsheets, things like that. They’ve been around for 60 years, and they have around 40 retail stores mostly in New South Wales. Their e-Commerce stores only started about two years ago, and I was part of the team about 12 months ago to really drive that channel a little bit further. I was responsible for the web development, and also for the setting up all the fulfillment processes and customer service.

RHZ: Right, so not a mean feat here when you’ve got 20 years of experience…

NR: 60 years.

RHZ: 60, there you go.

NR: It’s definitely a new venture for MyHouse to go into the online world.

RHZ: Right, OK. And Andrew, via satellite, do you want to introduce yourself?

Andrew Gibbs: Yes, Andrew Gibbs from PETstock. We started back in 2002 in Ballarat primarily as a stock feed and pet retailer, and effectively grew out our network to around 144 stores today across Australia and New Zealand. And certainly sort of have a breadth of obviously food and pharmacy, and kennels, those sorts of things, but also a veterinary component, and our grooming, and puppy school. So certainly building our services offerings so for us it’s certainly about trying to sell the breadth of what we offer, certainly to try to counteract the different pressure that come in from the market, so it’s certainly, for us this particular part of the business is certainly an exciting space for us to sort of how we integrate it into our complete network.

RHZ: Obviously no stranger to complexity, multi-channel, multiple service lines from puppy school to livestock, can be, I imagine PETstock is quite familiar with running around a bunch of complexity.

Why The Decision To Ship From Store?

With that let’s jump into the obvious question being, why the decision to ship from store, Andrew?

AG: Each business is different, but for us we certainly have a lot of brands that are well-known in the industry, so whether that be premium food or pharmacy, so the private label component of our industry is still relatively sort of young, if you like. So price comparison, things like that are quite easy to do, so for us it really came down to one of our core operational pillars, which is how do we replicate our experience across all our different channels, whether that be our services offering, whether it be our in-store experience, and how we can replicate that as best as we can online. So for us it just wasn’t good to send an item from Melbourne to Perth and for it to take more than ten days to get there as far as our service offering.

So apart from price, it was really around that customer experience, and I suppose we also looked at when we talked about our stock, and our stock holdings, and the risk that physical stores take and for us to leverage off that as an opportunity was something that we saw as being able to offer a wider range across a broader geographical spread to ensure that we get our items to people’s doors quicker.

For us, whether it be obviously smaller numbers going into Queensland, into Darwin, but certainly into WA, and parts of South Australia, some of the more remote locations, it was a great opportunity to really shorten those time frames, and after that experience, and then really when it comes to the volumes of Melbourne and Sydney, and even Sydney alone with its challenges with just sheer traffic, and the roads themselves, Melbourne’s not really immune to the moment, it’s certainly an opportunity to start to get to that same day.

And we can offer same day in New Zealand in Auckland, and certainly North Island is definitely minimum next day, but once we start getting to the south island we start to run into that one- to three-days. So how can we drive it to get to that same standard in Australia where we’re sort of where we’ve started to move to leveraging our best stores to be able to pick and pack and dispatch.

RHZ: Nat, did you, was it obviously a bit of a different kind of impetus why the decision to ship from store from MyHouse?

NR: I think, pretty much the points that Andrew mentioned, like quicker delivery time and better customer experience, but I think in addition, which was MyHouse was quite a new player in the online world, it was kind of smart way to actually test the online borders to just see, “What are we in, for? We’ve never done this before? What are we to expect? How much stock do we have to reserve for this?” Instead of hiring a massive warehouse fulfilling our stock, you know? But it was a big aspect of just seeing what happens, what are we going to do with this channel.

RHZ: Yes, so two very different reasons to ship from store, but hopefully what we can kind of summarise from this is really increasing speed of delivery or adding greater flexibility, simply in the case of PETstock, reducing shipping costs , and really getting that customer experience through shipping. And finally the potential to then enables more delivery options. So I guess, first things first, enabling online from MyHouse, and then in the sense that Andrew also then enabling multiple options for delivery speed is quite critical.

What Were The Biggest Barriers?

RHZ: Thank you for sharing that. But obviously, with the impetus to change comes the challenge, so I just want to talk a little bit about what barriers you faced? These could be barriers which are technology specific, barriers which is about staff, are we still about competing priorities for attention pointed just a little bit earlier. Nat maybe we’ll start with you on the challenges there. What challenges did you face, what barriers?

NR: Firstly, it literally finding a solution that met all kinds of needs, from the finance department, how did they handle the recording and budget? Where do we allocate budget, to how do we treat the web store as its own store, things like that. On the other hand, when it comes actually to enabling our stores to ship orders, making sure that their computers and software up to date so they can actually use systems like Shippit.

And in addition to that, it was finding ways to train new staff, making sure that all staff across all these stores, there’s a lot of people involved. So making sure they’re actually all on board, they all know what they’re doing, they’re all being consistent on how they tackled it, for example. And also how to remotivate them, how do we actually get our in-store staff to be fulfilling online orders and fixing issues that come up.

RHZ: And I can imagine that’s kind of one of the core challenges that get people into the battle, it’s what we find in that change management piece is so critical. So I want to get into that maybe in the operation challenges area, but Andrew, did you find similar barriers, or did you have different barriers when you were getting started?

AG: I suppose we were a little bit fortunate when we talk ship from store around the technology bit in that we wanted to go to market early on Click and Collect so for us what underpinned that was the fulfilment logic that we built into our ERP, which made the technology bit when it came to ship from store a lot easier. And certainly going to market, first with Click and Collect that really broke down a lot of barriers with our store network as far as the impact that online was having. So that certainly helped a lot, but certainly when it came to shipping from store, there certainly was a lot challenges around the budgetary side, who pays for what, how do we build an appropriate roster, and who bears that cost all those sorts of things.

And then we have a portion of our network as a franchisee, so we went to our best franchisee, and the initial trial with them, and I think we rolled out each site methodically with a very detailed plan with the same people involved, so that we were basically using consistency in our message, and the energy, and the positivity as to what was involved. And certainly from a franchisee point of view, the opportunity to then suddenly identify addresses where they know they have a physical footprint, and then to be able to put in a dog wash voucher or a grooming voucher or a little surprise and delight that helps just build that relationship with the customers, they saw that as an exciting opportunity. So that certainly helped, but we worked very hard with our retail operations team.

We do have an advantage in the sense that I actually built that retail operations team, so they obviously know me quite well, and that was a big help in the sense that we did have a strong relationship, so it was very much the core to the success, very much having the retail team buying into it and understand that view from the customer as opposed to the channels and such, and that was sort of important to us to ensure that we incorporated everything. And really, even HR, that was important that we got them on board early from a health and safety point of view, and that definitely made the whole project plan move quite seamlessly, especially as our first site was quite very much a demo.

We’re trialling different kinds of trolleys, different heights, the benches. So for each site we set them up in a similar way, but we also had them in a way that they could be changed around a little bit depending on the individual staff’s needs. So for me, I might have a priority of picking from right to left, but the store might have a priority of going from left to right. So for us we weren’t too worried about that, but we just wanted to give them the basic framework to work with. And there were the main challenges, it was the operational side.

RHZ: Understood. So I guess what I’m hearing here is no mean feat, but not for the faint hearted. It is a massive piece of change management, when you’re working with buying the stores that you both sort of had to save. What I kind of really heard being the main themes having the right enabling technology on kind of the foundational layer. That to me sounds like it’s a bit of work in that that’s not going to be the core challenge here, and the biggest barrier really is around the staff, and staff training, and the impact assessment. But those all sound like it really is about aligning everybody behind the view of the customer, and giving the customer ultimate flexibility where they choose to buy from, and kind of working back from that.

What Were The Operational Challenges

RHZ: So then I’d imagine once you’ve overcome all these barriers, is probably something which is around once it’s in market, how do you actually work through the operation? So, Nat, can you shed some light on the operational challenges you faced. You’ve overcome these barriers, you’re aligning management on the change, but now you’re actually rolling out the store, and what are these challenges that you faced?
NR: I suppose one of the biggest challenges is making sure that your store has enough stock. What we actually do at MyHouse was before fulfilling from all stores, we selected 13 stores in good position that couriers would pick up from that had enough storage to give them extra stock. And then it really comes down to making sure that stock is always there. So for example, communicating a lot with the marketing team, “What are you going to online? Are you going to push-out that one-day offer?” How are you going to handle that situation making sure that you can either ship from the warehouse directly, or you have such stock in your store so you’re ready and you can continue to give to customers the best experience, and they don’t have to wait three weeks, you know because everything fell apart. So making sure these kind of things run.

And also keeping your staff motivated. Making sure that your staff are actually rewarded for online. So you don’t really want to look at it like the web is actually competing against the store, because then there’s a store budget, for example, and you want to make sure that you have a system in place where your store staff are actually motivated to fulfill those orders and fulfill them the best they can every single time.

And also for the staff to communicate. We’re dealing with technology, that’s is how staff know what’s fulfilled. In those situations we really need a team that knows to communicate that to you and tells you when there’s anything that’s not working. There’s constant communication. And instilling in staff the feeling like they’re actually part of the head office, we’re actually one team. Just really encouraging them.

AG: You said a little bit about what you did to help them feel like they apart of the online team?

NR: Yes, as simple as literally as on the launch day of shipping I send everyone a big box of donuts. “This is awesome, you guys are really special, can’t believe we’re going live today.” Something like that. You know, calling in, going in to store, always keep that personal relationship alive.

And then going in by the end of the year, we’re boarding the store, for being a web store, and in our case, every store in fulfilling work orders. Just giving them incentives, things like that.

RHZ:  That’s very helpful. And Andrew, what about the operational challenges for you guys? You’ve quite a methodical plan that you were rolling out to assess  OHS impact everything was ready to roll. What challenges did you face?

AG: Certainly, donuts must be the key because we do things like that as well. A big thing is, and for us, is it can be quite tough doing the pick and pack, and there can be heavy bags, and big boxes and things like that, so certainly the staff appreciation side of it was a big part. We had regular communication, and we needed to ensure that we had really clear accountability. And really was born from that was the greater need to bolster our customer service team and ensure that they’re right across how our fulfillment and how our system works as well. So that took a bit of pressure off stores, so ideally the store is focusing on the customer experience, they’re focusing on the pick and pack, and personalising the article that’s going out, and any challenges that any customer, whether it be delivery issues or they find something’s broken or something like that, that all comes back to our centralised team. We started off with daily communication, and it becomes sort of more once a week as far as that centralised… We now have someone who solely looks after each of those dispatch senders, and they’re filling information through a couple times a week as far as how they’re going we’re trying to integrate their KPIs in with their store KPIs so they’re effectively working towards channel KPI, or the overarching omni-channel assessment, so it’s all incorporated into their day-to-day and it’s not our store, and online, and we’ll just get to online when we can. So that was a big thing. I agree with Nat that the more we could just basically say thanks and just try to make them really feel good about what they’re doing, and really say thank you for the effort they’re doing went a long way.

RHZ: That’s really great. I picked up some really clear things around… more importantly I get the motivational aspect, and making sure that you’re controlling everything you can control, starting with the trial stores, then the selected number of stores to fulfill from. So controlling the variables that you’ve got in front of you. Opening up the lines of communication between stores and head office, and making it an official roll out which everybody must abide by. And I think, Andrew, you kind of worded it quite well, which was incorporating it into the daily schedule for the store’s retail operation heavily involved in getting the stock off the ground as well. And then supporting it as well, making sure that customer service and store staff, and everybody is across the same sheet.

Thank you for sharing that. I think there was a little bit around stock allocation to the right location as well, and making sure that you’re not relying completely on technology so there’s a bit of human intervention involved. And then finally, reporting capability, so making sure you know what you’re going to be measuring, making sure you know what you’re reporting on daily, that you can start to assess whether you’re actually doing well.

What Were The Results?

RHZ: So then I guess the question everybody has in mind is did it actually succeed? Was it any good? I would actually want to kick off on that one.

NR: Yes, so for MyHouse, absolutely, it was a great success going into store fulfillment. Our delivery time produced from about two weeks to one to five days because we now have a store close to you that could send you your order so couriers can pick up on the same day and deliver it, which was an amazing customer experience, and our customer feedback show that, like, it’s literally flying off the line, that’s just fast delivery. We’re really happy with that.

In addition, it actually reduced the order fulfillment time by 75% for us because by implementing Shippit the system was a massive upgrade, from what we were doing before. So it’s actually taken our staff much, much less time to book in an order, and because we’re all connected to the same system where each store access Shippit as well. It was really, really quick in saying you have to have that stock up and sent out now, rather than picking up the phone or sending a million emails as we did before. So that’s been a massive result as well.

And in addition we’ve saved 70% on costs on each order which was massive as well.

RHZ: Great result. I guess MyHouse was happy with that one.

NR: Yes, and customers are happy. So the transparency that Shippit offers, people can track their orders, and all of that. And it’s all in the one system that we’re using.

RHZ: That’s good to hear. Andrew, what about yourself?

AG: For us our initial focus was on improving the experience, so for that we measure that through our Net Promoter Score or NPS. And we’ve seen increases of about 25 points on our Net Promoter Score, and certainly our feedback, and work around that are all heavily weighted around delivery, so we’re really excited about that because it was an area we needed to improve on.

And I suppose, speaking from a financial point of view, we’ve certainly seen an improvement of about 10-15% on our freight costs, and we think that there’s still a significant improvement to be found there in the sense that our initial focus was to improve speed of delivery, and then start to optimise our freight component. And we’re sort of that stage now where we’re drilling a bit deeper into how we can optimise our network to improve the actual costs of freight. But certainly, as far as what our initial game plan was around improving the experience, we’re pretty excited about what we’ve seen.

RHZ: Tremendous results, guys. Well done. So it’s pretty obvious that strategy does work if it’s done right. I think all those sort of benefits of using the store network really did come to fruition. So staff engagement, customer experience, an improvement in Net Promoter Scores, which is a tremendous thing, and everybody’s focused on that little NPS. Delivery time reduction, fulfilment time reduction, so I think we’re in an era where there’s no reason why you couldn’t use stores to ship from. The question is really about how you do it, uniquely for your own environment. So great job Nat, and Andrew. It’s amazing to see numbers like that, so well done.

How To Nail Ship-From-Store

RHZ:  I think we’ve got maybe a minute just to cover some tips for supporting the store, if you could give tips to anybody out there thinking about using their store as a mini distribution centre. Feel free to give them your sage words and wisdom. Andrew, Nat, whoever can kick off.

AG: I’ll go first this time. I think it’s important that it’s designed around your specific goals, and the business goals, and every business is different. I think it’s important to ensure that there is consistency, and it’s one thing to build the system, and there are some terrific software app there that they can be easily bolted on or you have the capability to build it yourself, then that’s terrific.

Fundamentally, you can’t just turn it on and expect the store to execute, and I think it’s important that there’s consistency in approach, and that what goes out the door is embraced by everyone because, certainly for us we’re in an emerging industry, and that’s a real advantage to us, especially when you want to take on organisations like Amazon. And when we talk Amazon as a strategy, quite frankly we just see that it’s really an approach to take on any threat and we just happen to call it Amazon, but the things that they won’t be able to do as well as us is that emerging side and in that personalisation, and things like that.

And that’s where we need to play to our strengths because it’s very difficult to outprice an Amazon, and the logistics side from their end is a little bit unknown, but if we’re going up what they’re currently doing, obviously they’re going to be fairly sharp at that to. So it’s about playing to your strengths, just making sure that the execution side of it is right, and you don’t necessarily to dispatch from every single location. I think it’s about starting off what you can do, and making sure that you’re good at it, and then start to scope where there’s an opportunity. That would be my take.

NR: I think, to add to that, I would definitely say plan it well depending to your personal goals, whatever your company’s heading for, but at the same time I’ve always tried to view our team as my customer as well. But you know, not just trying to look at how it can actually the customer, which is absolutely crucial, but also looking at your staff like they’re your customers as well. You need to make sure that they’re happy with the solutions that you’re presenting, and that they’re motivated and encouraged. And keeping the communication open is a really big advantage. Continue to communicate and make everyone feel part of one thing,

RHZ: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you to Andrew and Nathalie. Thanks to NORA as well.

 

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