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3 1 | Business Express

Inkpact Breakfast sees top retailers in one room talking all things CRM & Loyalty.

Inkpact hosted a breakfast this week at The Soho Hotel in London, and breakfast has never tasted so good as we saw the unlikely dream team of BrewDog, John Lewis & Sweaty Betty on the panel.

In the audience some other huge brands such as Chanel, Farfetch, Mont Blanc and Mindful Chef joined to pick up some top tips, eat breakfast & get a goody bag.  

There was a lot to learn at the event as we identified future trends for CRM & loyalty. The discussions focussed a lot around how BrewDog, John Lewis & Sweaty Betty create omni-channel brands and the challenges they, and other brands, are facing as a result of the pandemic. Having three brands with such different approaches sitting on the panel meant that they all had a lot to teach one another. 

“We work in dog years at BrewDog…” said Alice as she discussed the incredible speed at which they launch new things, with no fear of failure. This included their move from a tiny e-commerce team to a brand who’s revenue was mainly driven by e-commerce last year. On the other side of the spectrum we had John Lewis, who meticulously plan each and every change that will impact their customers, as they strive for perfection before launch. Sweaty Betty sat between the two, enlightening us all about how they start small with testing and continuous feedback, ramping initiatives up gradually until they benefit every customer. The different approaches made for exciting conversation. 

Sweaty Betty spoke honestly about how the past year has been positive for their sales as most of the country changed into leggings for lockdown, but that now the focus is all on retention as people get back to nights out and holidays. They’re therefore starting to think of what they can do to go above and beyond. Brand partnerships, push notifications and differing benefits online vs in store are all high on the agenda, whilst also helping to drive omni-channel behaviour.  

Their Insider’s week was a roaring success with a huge focus on encouraging people to shop online and in-store. This was a recurring theme throughout the event as each panellist mentioned the value of customers who shop across channels. There were also some great learnings around brand partnerships and the benefits of “piggy-backing” other brands. E.g cook-a-longs with deliciously ella. 

John Lewis spoke about their app which has aided them in making the move from in-store to online as seamless as possible whilst their BeautyCycle initiative has encouraged a lot of people back into stores. Throughout the pandemic they worked hard to create emotional and authentic connection with their customers who were very loyal to their stores. This is a huge part of the John Lewis experience which was hard to maintain but through various campaigns such as their Give a Little Love with Inkpact they managed to keep customers smiling and remaining loyal.  

BrewDog’s approach to omnichannel also opens up amazing potential for personalisation – by using their Beer Visa to get to know customers instore and online behaviour, they can greet customers with their favourite beer when they walk into a bar. 

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Throughout the event, the brands were honest about the things they struggle with and how they are trying to face those obstacles. BrewDog are very aware that the incredible speed and scale they have grown at this means some original customers may feel alienated. However, personalisation across channels, a variety of products and working hard to be more customer relevant are all strong focusses to avoid this. 

At the end of the event our three panellists gave a top tip each.  

Gabby from John Lewis said “You must not forget about Customer Lifetime Value.”  

Alice mentioned that it is important not to go too far with automation. 

And Georgina from Sweaty Betty reminded us to keep having fun, try and trial new things.   

Overall, the event was a huge success and it was clear that CRM & Loyalty as a business area is on the up as retailers hire more and more employees in this area. Future trends were identified such as the growth of subscriptions and a seamless omni-channel experience. SMS was discussed in detail and how approaches between the UK and USA are very different. 

In amongst all the data and top tips there was an overarching idea of authenticity, having fun and making customers feel good. Gabby from John Lewis said, “You get endorphins when you make someone else feel good, we should be doing this as brands.”  

Afterall, we sometimes forget that businesses are run by humans for humans. Perhaps moving away from discussing customer experience and instead looking at human experience, relationships and needs, will be the big step forward. 

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