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IRC 2015 INTERVIEW Kate Holt of Jigsaw on customers, and meeting their expectations

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Each week in the run up to Internet Retailing Conference 2015 we’re previewing the conference through a series of overviews of the day’s programme and through interviews with key speakers. Today we hear from Kate Holt, group ecommerce director at Jigsaw, who will be speaking at IRC 2015 in a panel discussion on how ecommerce is redefining the rules of customer engagement.

Internet Retailing: How have customer expectations changed in recent years?

Kate Holt, group ecommerce director, Jigsaw: Customers expect speed – in delivery and speed of response. Expectations of service and availability ( of stock and of information) across all touch points are higher. Customers expect it to be easy – especially when shopping across channels.

Online retailing has also brought greater competition on price, on delivery, product and service. So we’re serving a customer who demands more choice and is more knowledgeable than ever before. The customer is empowered with information, recommendations and reviews and with social media platforms at their fingertips it’s the customer who is now in control of the relationship.

IR: What one tip do you have for retailers to get to know their customers and develop relationships.

KH: There’s no shortage in our industry of software solutions to help you track and forecast your customer’s behaviour and figure out their propensity to buy. My one tip is to not lose sight of the basics and listen to your customers. Still today the richest data we gather is from our in house call centre staff, our reviews engine, from customer surveys and from our store managers. Harness and link transactional data across your physical and online channels and you have a great starting point.

IR: How do you expect customer engagement to change in the coming years?

KH: A customer’s relationship with a brand will become increasingly holistic as consumers are able to purchase practically anything they desire on whatever device they wish, wherever and whenever they choose. Meeting those demands is not easy for retailers but most high street brands are well on the way to achieving it. For a brand to grow and remain relevant going forward they have to focus on making it easy by harnessing technology around mobile, payments, inventory management and personalisation.

IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRC 2015, beyond your own presentation?

KH: It’s a great milestone for the conference to have reached its 10th anniversary. It will be really useful to look back, reflect on what we’ve achieved as an industry and focus on the core values of brand building, product and service that remain as true today as they were ten years ago.

Kate Holt, group ecommerce director at Jigsaw, will take part in a panel discussion, How is eCommerce Redefining the Rules of Customer Engagement? alongside Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience director of Fortnum & Mason and Gracia Amico, chief executive of The discussion is in Stream 1 of at IRC 2015, to be held at the Hammersmith Novotel on October 14, and takes place at 2.35pm. Find out more about the event, the conference line-up and the exhibition by visiting

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