6 Customer Experience Highlights from Inside Retail Live 2020

Our team members have just returned from one of Australia’s largest retail conferences, Inside Retail Live. Beyond connecting with the Australian e-commerce community, participating in lively discussions with our booth visitors and attending the Retailers award dinner organised by Inside Retail, we did a soft launch of our new Parcel Monitor community – stay tuned for more details soon!

In this article we’ll share some of the takeaways from key sessions we attended from the best and brightest in Australian e-commerce retail.

1. Consumer futurist Amanda Stevens highlighted what customers were looking for in customer experience and how retailers can respond.

Inside Retail Live got round to a fantastic start with renowned futurist and customer experience expert Amanda Stevens setting the scene for us.

She shared some pertinent observations on what customers were looking for in their retail experiences for 2020. One method she brought up, was to change with your customer. Customers are looking out for several values in their shopping experiences, and retailers who can strategically shift with them can enjoy the opportunities this presents them.

  • Community (connect me)
  • Concierge (do it for me)
  • Convenience (save me)
  • Conscious (relieve me)


No longer are customers resonating with excessive discounts or incessant race-to-the-bottom pricing strategies. Instead, they are willing to pay a premium for outstanding customer experience.

What can retailers do?

  • Ask your customers more questions
  • Create commonalities with your audience
  • Personalise your offers to them
  • Redefine the ceremony (experience) of customer service to make customers feel valued

2. Jon Bird emphasised the importance of a strong logistics infrastructure when competing with the world.

In a sharp comparison of Amazon Australia and Amazon in the US, Jon Bird, CEO from VLMY&R for Australia and New Zealand highlights the importance of convenience in logistics especially in the US. With 82% of US households being Amazon Prime members, the numbers alone showcase it’s importance of delivery in determining the overall customer experience.

Amazon Australia is lagging behind its counterparts in the USA and UK

Today’s brands are globalised and digitalised. The ultimate aim is to provide experiences that are personalised, yet polarised. This is where logistics and customer data is essential in helping to personalise the customer experience.

3. The Warehouse Group’s Nick Grayston describes the power of customer retention in growing their business

We made the decision to set up TheMarket separately so it can behave like a startup, so it can work in a very agile way – Nick Grayston, The Warehouse Group

Did you know it only took 14 months from inception to launch for The Warehouse Group to set up TheMarket, an e-commerce marketplace bringing together some of the best local, international and niche brands in one place?

One of the strategies they used – launching a niche subscription service similar to Amazon Prime offering free delivery, early promotion access and priority customer service for their customers.

They also observed repeat customers spend 12x as much time per month and log nearly 8 times more sessions per month compared to prospects. For us the takeaway is clear – focusing on increasing repeat customers is infinitely more valuable than focusing solely on customer acquisition.

4. Shoes of Prey gave us honest analysis why their business failed.

Founded in 2009, Shoes of Prey allowed customers to customize their own footwear online and have them delivered in as little as two weeks. It seemed like all was going well for them—market research showed that their target customers responded positively, investments were pouring in, factory production was ramped up.

However, things didn’t turn out as hoped. The idea failed to gain traction in the mass market and the business ultimately folded in 2019.

Some reasons shared:

  • “Mass market customers don’t want to create, they have to be inspired and shown what to wear”.
  • They could not scale and control costs effectively for the mass market

This poses a huge takeaway for retailers attempting to conduct market research: when we think of personalised experiences, perhaps we’ll think about sending a survey to your customers or asking what they want directly.

However, in human psychology, there’s a gap between intended behaviour and actual behaviour. Market research therefore must ask the right questions and follow the correct process to get real answers rather than intended behaviour.

5. Yes, physical retail still has a place in the growing e-commerce landscape.

Eric Morris, CEO of PAS Group shared some valuable insights on the state of the e-commerce industry. He touched on the interactions between digital experiences and in-store experiences.

Some standout pointers:

  1. To deal with rising customer demands, don’t do it all on your own. Consider partnerships with other businesses to stay relevant.
  2. The cost of doing business is slowly increasing. Retailers need to identify how to most effectively use their resources to grow.
  3. Can you articulate why you are a business and what you stand for? Your customers now look to businesses who have a clear purpose and mission.
  4. Retail is transitioning from a push (B2C) to a pull (C2B) model. Understanding why your customers would want to interact with your brand is then of paramount importance.
  5. Physical retail is different, but not dead. It’s boring and mediocre retail that’s dying.

6. Zendesk’s Malcolm Koh took us through some customer experience trend forecasts of 2020

Plain and simple: your customers expect the best from you.

Bad experiences understandably have a significant impact on customer churn rate.

  • 40% of customers will switch after one bad experience
  • 80% of customers would switch after multiple bad experiences

According to a survey Zendesk conducted with customers on the most frustrating aspects of a bad customer service experience, long hold or wait times when interacting with a customer service agent ranked the top.

Some customer service metrics to consider benchmarking and measuring against:

  • First reply time (Time it takes for a first reply to reach a customer).
  • Number of help centre articles
  • Time taken to win a new deal
  • Number of integrations

Thank you to the Inside Retail Live team for an fruitful, informative conference on the latest insights on customer experience

Our next conference takes us back to Singapore in April where our CEO Arne Jeroschewski will share some findings with our work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our favourite topic – Machine Learning. Stay tuned for more details!