Last week, I was invited to attend the Next Generation Retail Summit in Germany. It was interesting to see that for so many retailers - across all sectors and ranging from Somerfield and Mosaic Fashions to HMV and Dunelm Mill - the common message that came out from the two-day event was how the focus is returning to being customer-centric.
With the retail sector having ridden the incredible credit boom up until last year, it seemed the important common factor- the customer - was ignored and taken for granted in the frenzy of spending.
But we all knew that it couldn’t continue like that.In late 2005, when we decided to branch out from a bricks-and-mortar boutique into the online arena, the one thing I knew would be an important part of our philosophy was to ensure that the customer felt valued - at all times.
The success of our boutique, Powder, was due to the relationship that was created between the sales girls and the customers, and I wanted to replicate this personal feel with the launch of My-Wardrobe. I did not want to create a virtual service without the human touch, and I knew that a personal element with great
customer service and after-sales service was going to be crucial to our success.
My view hasn’t changed. Over the coming months, all retailers will be hit by challenging times. And whether those challenges span two years, 18 months or 12 months, I believe the retailers who will survive this recession are the ones who invest in customer service and value the customers throughout the shopping
or browsing experience and beyond.
Sarah Curran is the founder and chief executive of etailer My-Wardrobe