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IRX 2016 INTERVIEW Will Lockie of Evans Cycles on meeting customer demands

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Ahead of this year’s Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2016) we’re running a series of previews focusing on event highlights, from the conferences and exhibition to interviews with key retail speakers. Today we speak to Will Lockie, programme head – multichannel, at Evans Cycles.

Meeting customer demands in store

Internet Retailing: You’re telling IRX 2016 about how Evans Cycles is putting the customer at centre stage in their shopping journey. Why is that so important?

Will Lockie, programme head – multichannel, Evans Cycles: For a specialist retailer selling aspirational products it’s really important for us to make sure customers get the right level of service, advice and help for their needs. Some customers know exactly what they want, while others need help at the beginning of their cycling journey. And that often means customers want to see, touch or test ride a bike or ask questions about a product before purchase. So having the right proposition, offers, experience and services across channels is really important to deliver that level of service.

IR: Tell us about one big challenge that the process has presented – what was the Evans solution?

WL: Well, we just moved our ecommerce platform over to Hybris. That was an interesting experience and certainly a large challenge! It now means we have a much more holistic offer across desktop and mobile sites, and much better product data to power a better shopping experience.

IR: Is there a big benefit that you’ve seen that you can share?

WL: Aside from improvements in usual ecomm metrics, one side benefit is having the flexibility for other business teams to manage their areas of the site. For instance it now means retail teams can easily manage store pages and content on the site, whereas previously changes would have been done through ecomm teams, so that’s good for empowering other areas of the business.

IR: How do you see omnichannel developing further over coming years? – what will be one big change?

WL: I don’t really think there will be one ‘big change’ – I think it’s a lot of incremental change and a bit of experimenting at the moment. It seems to me now that most retailers have implemented click and collect, everyone is now looking closer at the store experience. By looking at uses of technology basically to improve customer experience on a few levels, from simply enhancing the shopping experience (e.g. let me book an appointment to come and shop with you) to bringing web data into store (e.g. show me some product reviews of this thing I am looking at on a screen somewhere), and various attempts at ‘personalisation’.

I’m not sure anyone has fully cracked it all but there is some really interesting stuff happening out there. IoT and RFID use are two things I would call out probably as things to watch. But back to question 1, you absolutely have to make sure you are delivering the basic hygiene factors of good service really well before being distracted by the shiny stuff.

IR: Aside from your own presentation, what are you most looking forward to at IRX 2016?

WL: I like the balance of interesting speakers vs loads of suppliers and a chance to catch up with people. There always something interesting to find, try or talk about… last year I tried on some VR goggles with mixed results!

Will Lockie, programme head – multichannel, at Evans Cycles, is speaking in the Connected Store of the Future Conference on April 27 at IRX 2016. His presentation, Meeting Customer Demands In-Store, is at 11.15am.

Find out more about IRX 2016 here. Register to visit the show for free here.

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