Officeworks narrows in on customer experience

unnamed-4Officeworks’ newly opened concept store in Kew, Melbourne is the result of a two year customer experience strategy undertaken by the stationery retailer, with the Wesfarmers-owned chain now gearing to take the new store format national.

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The 156 store Officeworks chain has remained a strong stablemate of the Wesfarmers portfolio under the guidance
of longstanding MD, Mark Ward, recording a nine per cent rise in sales for the March quarter.

Over the past two years, Officeworks has shifted towards a ‘customer led’ strategy investing heavily into customer experience initiatives and in 2013 appointed former CEO of digital agency, IE, David Pisker, as head of customer experience.

Speaking on the new store format as part of Sydney’s Vivid Festival, Pisker admitted, “customer experience didn’t exist in Officeworks 18 months ago”, however, has since been overhauled under a new roadmap dubbed ‘the making it easy’ framework.

“One of things we thought about was how do we put our customers at the centre of everything we do? We came up with the framework – it’s ‘the making it easy’ framework.

Everything we do has to be easy for our customers, everything that we do for our customers has to have value in it for customers, and value in it for our brand,” Pisker said.

Officeworks’ refurbished Kew store is the result of months of testing new instore formats and services in partnership with design agency, Symplicit. Prior to the store’s debut, Officeworks tested initiatives in two other Melbourne-based sites; Fitzroy, and a smaller format store in South Yarra.

Features rolled out during the trial included new digital signage, private photo printing, a communal workshop station, kid’s zone, and a lounge area with coffee station.

Karen Jemison, Officeworks’ head of retailservices, told Inside Retail PREMIUM that Officeworks is preparing to make instore changes to its entire fleet of stores.

However, Jemison said the retailer will monitor the feedback and the success ofKew, adding that the design will be based on individual stores.

“We’ll see how [Kew] goes for the next few months and then develop the rollout plan,” Jemison said. “But because each of those spaces are so different across all stores,we need to map it out. The larger stores we can do a handful of elements, but it will be a store by store design process.

“We will be looking at making the changes nationally, but now it’s literally just gone in so we just want to make sure that we’ve got the concept as good as we can and then design it for the fleet.”

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2048. To subscribe, click here.

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