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Scott Weavers-Wright, chief executive of Kiddicare
1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
Kiddicare is embarking on an exciting new store roll out into former Best Buy units, acquired with Morrisons earlier this year, which presents its own challenges to a previously primarily online focused retailer, but also an incredible opportunity. The new physical retail concept Kiddicare has created is grounded in multi-channel thinking – we believe this is an experience unlike anything in the UK.
Combine this with the reach these stores give Kiddicare across the UK (by the end of 2013, 31% of the UK population will be within an hour’s drive of a Kiddicare superstore), and the opportunity to develop customer loyalty and advocacy is an achievable goal, even in times of austerity.
We’ve developed a new in house team with a wealth of experience and knowledge. We have recruited in order to challenge the existing retail ‘restrictions’ and build an organisation that delivers real, tangible value for our customers.
To help us achieve the latter, a single view of customer across Morrisons and Kiddicare will provide the platform for our business to offer a personal and relevant experience across any touch point. It is the foundation of our vision moving forward.
Taking a pure play mind-set into the multi-channel world, rather than trying to retro-fit, means our proposition has been developed for the new connected, transparent and value driven market we find our selves in.
2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?
Time is increasingly hard to find! We have so many ideas for the Kiddicare and Morrisons multi-channel businesses and far fewer hours to execute them all. Prioritisation is becoming increasingly difficult. We have to place the right bets. We don’t want to lose our agility, pace or ability to take calculated risks.
Presently, Kiddicare is in unchartered territory – no other dotcom business has attempted a store roll-out programme on this scale. As we grow and more structure and governance is introduced we have to find a way to have the best of both worlds. Do it today; Plan for tomorrow.
We will strive to maintain our unique culture as we grow quickly. We have worked hard to distil the Kiddicare culture into something sharable in order to bring 1,000 new colleagues on the journey with us. It is paramount that we are clear on what we stand for as an organisation and how we want to operate. As CEO of the business, this sits right at the top of my agenda as I believe it will be Kiddicare’s point of difference.
3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?
I wish we’d started developing technology, rather than waiting for propositions to be finalised. Technology can enable propositions. It is difficult to push the boundaries of your thinking unless you are aware of the technology enablers that exist.
4. What is the future of the physical store?
Mary Portas is fighting for the high street, but there will always be a place for retail parks, particularly for parents looking for ease of parking. These locations also offer the space retailers need to deliver the choice customers desire.
Mobile is ensuring that physical stores will continue to be an important part of consumers shopping experience. With the continued penetration of smart phones, access to information around price, reviews, video and added value content through you mobile is becoming increasingly commonplace. However, stores also provide the ability to touch and feel product. It also has immediacy. These are two elements that websites have tried to replicate but have, so far, failed.
If a multi-channel business can ensure they are price competitive, which Kiddicare does by offering a price match promise, then the overarching value and experience a customer gets in a physical environment when combined with digital support is a compelling proposition.
5. What will the high street look like in a decade?
Perhaps retail stores will have become ‘shrooms’, merging physical and digital experiences to showcase products at their best with back-end operations fulfilling the delivery of products in ways that suit customers, such as click and collect, home delivery, and drive through service.
6. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future?
The point is choice, especially for Kiddicare’s busy parent and family market. They’re not ‘loyal’ to one particular channel, but they are brand loyal if that company makes it easy for them. Kiddicare has seen a growth from 11% to 25% with mobile orders in the last year
We are developing a mobile first business but, ultimately, a device and channel agnostic business. A mobile first strategy simply enables us to strip away unnecessary steps, content or processes. It often creates the most streamlined route to complete a task – this thinking can then transfer to another channel with impressive commercial results.
7. What other retail business do you admire?
There are several retailers, both online and in physical retail spaces, which I watch with intrigue. Selfridges offers a superb in-store experience. ASOS has an incredible delivery proposition and cross platform functionality. John Lewis provides exceptional customer service. Zappos and REI have unrivalled online content and imagery which really enhances the user experience.
8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?
My two passions in life are technology and football – if I wasn’t where I am today, maybe I would have been a footballer.
9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?
I’m very proud of what I have achieved so far, but there’s still more to do. I guess 7/10 for being part way ‘there’.
Kiddicare’s very own Simon Harrow, who now leads our digital trading team.