Editor’s Comment

New Look has put the customer at the heart of everything it does and is in the process of sharing the fact with customers in the form of a rebrand, new logo and store interiors.A new tagline – New Look and Me – acknowledges that millions of its customers regard the company as more than a place to shop. A brand with which customers can have a special relationship, like a reliable style-savvy friend, someone whom they like and trust, someone with whom they’re completely comfortable.

Putting the customer at the heart of the business is nothing new, indeed you could change the New Look name in the above paragraph for any number of retailers from fashion to homewares to coffee.What differentiates New Look’s execution of customer-focused retailing and store design is that it is engaging with its own unique customers and their behaviour, which is different to customers of a high end fashion chain or designer homewares store. So, while the internet started out with look-a-like stores, shops in the cross- channel world are developing with unique services and styles.

New Look doesn’t see itself as having channels or even being a multi- channel retailer since it is all seen as the customer experience according to Shivani Tejuja, the company’s Multi- channel Director, who is the subject of this issue’s main interview and featured on the front cover.“The reason we exist is for the customer,” she comments.

Understanding the customer is one part of the equation of today’s retailing, designing the user experience, personalising all touchpoints and engaging for a continuing two-way relationship all have to be factored into the journey from brand agnostic to brand advocate. In this issue of Internet Retailing, we look at personalisation, social commerce and techniques for engaging and increasing customers’ lifetime value at various touchpoints along the customer journey and throughout the retail organisation.

With a comment that “one little step at a time can lead to significant change,” Felix Velarde, Managing Director of Underwired, examines the growing trend of ‘Total Customer Engagement’ and how this is affecting the future of marketing.

I look at the online fashion sector and how it is embracing personalisation to reduce returns, increase conversion and customer satisfaction, while Evan Puzey, CMO at Kewill, takes a view on why the carrier market should adapt as the online channel picks up pace to not only capitalise on it but ensure they can continue to deliver on customer service.

From an in-store perspective,Tony Heyworth, International Marketing Director at LivePerson, asks whether the role of the store sales person is essential in a digital world and Penelope Ody investigates whether high-tech solutions are enough for tomorrow’s multichannel stores and whether retailers need to re-think the purpose of their high street presence.

Within the mobile section, Eric Feinberg, Senior Director, Mobile, Media, and Entertainment at ForeSee examines where leading retailers are gaining from a mobile customer experience aligned to all touchpoints, and how customer experience analytics can point to and focus resources, to increase loyalty. Paul Skeldon, meanwhile, investigates how mobile is keeping customers coming back repeatedly.

While on the subject of customer engagement, it was great to see so many contributors to Internet Retailing and readers amongst the crowd at the Internet Retailing Awards in June. Congratulations indeed to all of the winners.

Emma Herrod, Editor