RBTE 2017: JD Sports revives outdoor business around the customer

Lee Bagnall, managing director of outdoor at JD Sports, explained this has been built around five key pillars to provide the outdoor organisation with a clear sense of direction that was previous lacking under its previous ownership.

The five pillars include being customer driven, standing together, keeping it simple, being cost conscious, and treating others with respect.

“If you don’t design your business around the customer you are starting from the wrong place,” said Bagnall. “The business I took over was stuck around what is right for the business not right for the customer.”

As an example, Bagnall highlighted a customer who wrote to him to complain after he was made to go to a pub to wash shoes he was returning because of a store policy stating refunds were only provided on outdoor shoes if they were clean.

Store managers have now been given responsibility for making decisions that benefit the customer even if they go against the official company policy, and management will stand behind such decisions.

Wi-Fi has also been introduced into city centre stores in recognition that customers will check competitor prices either way.

“We are actively saying if you can find it cheaper we will match that price,” said Bagnall. “We have to allow the customer to shop in the way they want to shop, by enabling them to do that in the store it has helped with the conversion rate in the store estate.”  

Bagnall revealed conversion in stores has increased from 12% to 18% in the last three years because of the greater focus on the customer.