Retales: E-Commerce Growth Stories

Customer Loyalty is Dead: Andrew Busby, Forbes & BBC Retail Analyst

October 09, 2023 Brightpearl Podcasts
Retales: E-Commerce Growth Stories
Customer Loyalty is Dead: Andrew Busby, Forbes & BBC Retail Analyst
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week's guest is Andrew Busby, renowned retail analyst and media contributor, founder of Retail Reflections, and author of "Harry Was Right All Along”.

Andrew challenges the notion of true loyalty in retail and whether it even exists in a cost-of-living crisis. He expands on the changing nature of consumer behaviour, and how any misstep from a brand – from pricing to location, to marketing – can result in a mass exodus of formally “loyal” customers.

We also talk about the concerning trend of greenwashing within the retail industry, where brands claim to be sustainable, but their actions tell a different story.

Finally, Andrew touches upon the potential of TikTok to become the most popular e-commerce platform, alongside its ability to influence consumer behaviour. He urges retailers to develop a strategy that leverages their TikTok presence as a primary sales channel.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did.

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone and welcome to Retails. I'm Caroline Baldwin and this week I sit down with Andrew Busby. He's a retail consultant, author and speaker and we have a really good conversation. I mean, I've known Andrew for many years and I know he is very opinionated about all things retail and got some really great insights to share with you. This episode in particular I really enjoyed recording and I think it's worth listening to, because Andrew is very much of the mindset that there is absolutely no such thing as loyalty in retail, which I think some people out there might be surprised about. We also have a really interesting conversation about the threat of greenwashing in retail and we also have a good chat about TikTok. Also, did you guys know that apparently our thumbs can scroll up to half a mile a day while going on social media with our phones? Terrifying statistics. So listen in for a few more chockers like that. It's a really great conversation from Bright Pearl. This is Retails.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Retails e-commerce growth stories, where we unveil captivating tales of triumph, hard earned lessons and the secrets to success in retail and e-commerce. Join us as we sit down with e-commerce titans, disruptive challenger brands and industry experts to explore winning strategies, market and leadership insights, and future shaping trends and innovations. From AI to venture capital, global expansion to automation these powerful conversations will fuel your growth trajectory. We believe every story contains valuable lessons. Retails is your ultimate destination to uncover them. Now to our host, Caroline Baldwin.

Speaker 1:

My guest today is Andrew Busby, an expert on all things retail, influencer and founder of retail reflections. Andrew has helped shape the retail industry through his consultancy, insights and thought leadership. He's also the author of the bestselling book Harry was right all along, which offers a fresh perspective on the huge shifts in the retail world, from the high street crisis to the emergence of smart consumers. His thoughts have resonated with policy makers, planners and retailers alike. He's also a contributor to Forbes, the BBC and a host of other major media outlets. Andrew, welcome to Retails.

Speaker 3:

Thank you very much, caroline. Never knew I did all that.

Speaker 1:

How are you doing today?

Speaker 3:

I'm good. Thank you, I'm good. Yeah, it's actually a nice sunny day today, which makes a change.

Speaker 1:

Indeed. Obviously, andrew. We've had a conversation many times in the past. We've talked about these topics. I'm hoping our audience will appreciate this conversation as much as I have done from you in the past. There's so many areas of retail we could get into from your consultancy side of things and your bird's eye view of the retail world. But what I would love to start talking about is loyalty. It's always one of my favorite topics when it comes to retail. Quite often you bring this up at conferences when you're speaking and you get on stage and you say there's no such thing as loyalty in retail, which apparently shocks the audience. Is it something you really believe? What are your thoughts and why do you use that as a shocking opener?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, what I try to do, particularly when I'm on stage, is to gently as I call it healthily be a little bit provocative, in other words, provoking different thoughts and different perspectives of people. But when it comes to loyalty, we hear so much in retail about loyalty. I've listened to CEOs of large retailers describing the millions of people who are in their loyalty program as if they are loyal customers. And of course now and I'm talking about now today post pandemic and cost of living crisis and inflation and interest rates and all the rest of it Although inflation somehow more accuracy came down, apparently in the UK, so we're led to believe, but the pressures are still there. And I make that link between that the new perhaps we'll get onto that the new consumer behavior and the concept of loyalty. And what I say is that, look, we as consumers are out to get what we can. Now, if that means that we join a loyalty program and that gives us X points or benefits or whatever it happens to be, because obviously different types of loyalty programs, we're only doing that for ourselves, not doing it because we're loyal to the brand, we're loyal to our family, we're loyal to our pets and so on and so forth. And again, one of the other things that I say, and I always get the example of Apple. Now, I've always been an Android user, but I admire the Apple brand because they've done an incredible job, and I always say, look, if you walk in okay, if we're in London, you walk into the Apple store on Roojin Street and they punch you in the face you're still going to love the brand and you're going to love your iPhone and all the rest of it. But you know, give you an example of Apple and how non-inclusive they are. I mean, I use this same platform that we're using today and I recorded a number of my podcasts yesterday and two of them were people who had to Apple Max and they struggled because Apple wouldn't allow, because we know what we're currently using relies on either Chrome or Edge, and so they had to download a new browser. So, from that point of view, it's a very closed world and so on and so forth. But hey, that's them. But yeah, in terms of our changing behavior, then, as I say, we're out to get what we want, and loyalty is a really interesting thing, and I'll give you an example. I'm sure you'd maybe the listeners did or didn't and this is all about Bud Light.

Speaker 3:

In the States. This happened back in April. It's still rumbling on. They used Transgender Dylan Mulvaney to promote. There was a campaign, there was a one-off. They printed an image of their I can't say his or her, their face on a can, sent it and they recorded a video put it up on Instagram. The impact of that was that because you're, typical Bud Light drinker in the US is a truck driving redneck who likes to go, usually with his mates, and hang around and drink cans Well, they just boycotted the brand. It wiped, I think, $25 billion off the market capitalization of the parent company and it's still rumbling on now. So that's an example of.

Speaker 3:

You know, you could have said before all that happened. Well, they're incredibly loyal because you know, look at the sales and all the rest of it and so on and so forth. Well, no, they're not. They just shifted to a different brand. So I think that we, as consumers, we're more Pramiscous than than we we ever were.

Speaker 3:

You know, let's bring another example back closer to home and will go and again. It's always sad when these things happen because of the, the, the members of staff that are involved in it, but there are a number of reasons why why will go struggled, but one of them was because people were going elsewhere to the range or B&M, or you know, there's a lot of competition there. So you know I don't buy it when people, you know we can even go back as far as Woolworth's, bhs and people saying, oh it's such a shame it's not on the high seat, we're not really. You know it's. I saw something actually somebody put up this week actually on LinkedIn about, or I think it was an article, was in the observer and it was about us shedding crocodile tears for that, but then going and clicking online. Now Some I didn't agree with, but but yeah, I think the concept of shedding crocodile tears for brands and so on and so forth is a little far. It's sorry.

Speaker 3:

It's actually Quite a good observation, because that's what what we're doing, you know, and because we don't really, you know, I've taken the grosses. You know we'll go to Sainsbury's, we go to Tesco, go to co-op, you know. As to whoever it happens to be, maybe we've got a favorite because it just happens to be closest. Yes, it's got the easiest parking, that is true. Or, you know, it's nothing to do with actually the price or the product or anything like that. It's just easier for us and we're quite happily shifting go somewhere else. So I think that we need to really Kind of get get to grip. The one thing, I think for me the concept of loyalty and there's other things as well that are bounded about in retail are too glibly, if you like, you know, and we really need to understand properly the concept of loyalty or Not, as the case may be, and people talk, I think, too easily and lazily About it. If that makes sense.

Speaker 1:

So, going back to talking about the grosses, there's been quite a lot of new loyalty schemes and club card schemes and nectar schemes popping up in the recent years when I thought kind of we would be on the days of the loyalty card in. What's your thoughts on the on the future of loyalty in that respect now?

Speaker 3:

I don't personally belong to any of them, because you know, we know, that basically it's collecting data, in the same way that I Don't, as a rule, allow cookies when I'm browsing online, because you know a cookie is a nice word for a tracker. So it's all about our data. Now I'm not saying that the retailers are using in the same, quite the same way and selling our data. They want to know our, obviously, our buying behavior and preferences and so on and so forth. But I think which might sound a little bit contradictory I think that they will actually get more and more popular because people we like to, we like to feel that we're getting a bargain. Mm-hmm, that's always been. You know that. That's what Black Friday is all about, yes, and we tell our friends and at the end of the year we can spend all those loyalty club points on Whatever it happens to be a Christmas, without really thinking about well, could we have got a better deal elsewhere? But I think that they will. They will continue to proliferate.

Speaker 1:

So you do think there's a future for the point style loyalty rather than brand? We're talking about two things here really like that point style loyalty and the brand advocacy in terms of scanning that card or scanning your mobile QR code. Do you think there's still a future in that?

Speaker 3:

I do. But I think there are going to be other, more imaginative loyalty schemes. Like you know, you belong because I think that, actually, that the new loyalty is Community. Community is the new loyalty. You know, we want to have that sense of community, of belonging, of belonging to a club, we want to be treated as a VIP. So I think we're going to be Loyalty schemes of the future, are going to be far more about experience and giving us that sense of oh actually, you know, a bit like when you walk onto a plane, oh, I'm turning left, so I'm, you know, I'm important and I'm somehow a little bit special. You know, let's face it, we all like that little bit of a ego boost and get the endorphin rush and so on and so forth. Personally, I, I don't, I'm not able to do that. But Economy, you know, sadly, exactly, exactly.

Speaker 1:

It's kind of like the when sports brands, I think and Nike's done this a bit of sweaty Betty, you know you're part of the club, then you can come along to a yoga class or the running club, and it's that rather than necessarily points, but just more. I actually love this brand. I like wearing the logo. I'm going to be part of the community, which is always really fascinating.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, I'll give very briefly. I'll give you one other example, which it's Some people I'm actually going to be interviewing next week At a conference in Vegas, and it's a brand. If you heard of a brand called liquid death? No, I don't think I have Right, liquid death. Well, if you haven't now, you will. Okay, you hear, you heard it here first, right?

Speaker 1:

Liquid death okay.

Speaker 3:

What do you think liquid death might be?

Speaker 1:

I In it as a retail brand. I have absolutely no clue.

Speaker 3:

It's canned water.

Speaker 3:

Oh Okay and I won't go cuz I'm gonna time to go, but you can look in and and you know the the distance, can look it up. It is absolutely Unbelievable marketing. Now their loyalty scheme Basically, and this is what they say you sell your soul for eternity to the brand. You sign a contract to sell your soul and what you get? You get VIP rewards and you get you know First, look at new products and experiences and all this sort of thing, but it so. I think that's the way that the law to schemes will probably the direction travel.

Speaker 1:

I'm completely baffled me with that, andrew, but I will immediately after this.

Speaker 3:

Amazing yeah.

Speaker 1:

Retails, the renowned e-commerce podcast from Bright pill, is hosting a virtual panel discussing e-commerce finance and fundraising, exclusively designed for e-commerce brands. Hosted by me, caroline Baldwin, and featuring seasoned e-commerce players, challenger brands and industry experts. We'll guide you through financial management and fundraising in the fast-paced world of online retail, from maximizing holiday sales to the right funding options for your business and attracting investors. Retails has you covered. Secure your spot now at bright pillcom forward. Slash retail's dash takeover. Spaces are limited, so act fast and we will see you there.

Speaker 1:

So let's take a step back a little bit and talk about the changing consumer behavior over the last five years. You know and what a last five years it has been the retailers that were speaking to on this podcast. You know they've come through Helen back and they're doing amazing things. They're still growing, taking taking advantage of all these challenges that are coming forward and just really just trooping on. From a consumer perspective, what has been some of the big, big key things that have happened over the last five years that are really interesting in the retail world? You?

Speaker 3:

I think, from the perspective of retailers, it's uncertainty. So I joined the analysts calls every quarter with Tesco, for example, and I remember I think it was last year Ken Murphy, the CEO, saying that one of the things that they noticed is they just didn't know. They thought they knew what consumers were going to do, but coming out of the pandemic because it was still relatively recent coming out of the pandemic they really didn't know. They saw basket sizes were or frequency was going up. One of the interesting things is that convenience was shopping was increasing and they really weren't sure.

Speaker 3:

And of course, you've got all these macro influences cost of living in war in Ukraine and the impact of that as and continues to have well into 2023 and probably will into 2024. So it's very, very difficult for them to predict. The other thing I think from a retailer perspective is the ever I mean it always was, but the ever increasing importance of infantry management, and I mean that in the broadest sense in terms of having the right product in the right place at the right time, because we expect delivery or whatever. We expect that availability and we expect to, and more and more we expect delivery to us.

Speaker 1:

This is the thing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a little bit of a generational.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess it's that consumer expectation is so much higher now than it was five, ten years ago that retailers need to be ahead of that trend.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, which I think is very difficult because our expectations are always informed by the most recent, best experience that we've had. And you think about life now and going back to your question, in the last five years, who would have guessed that the humble QR code would be virtually running our lives?

Speaker 1:

So true.

Speaker 3:

And of course that means that there's an assumption there that we all carry a smartphone, that we're all digitally literate, which of course is not the case, and I think it's probably for ourselves in the industry and so forth. I was having a conversation with somebody about this the other day that perhaps we the dangers that we just assume too much, you know. So we go into a restaurant now and to get the menu you have to scan a QR code. Well, not all of us can do that. We just hand me the menu. So there are a number of things which are hangover from the pandemic which probably won't go away for a number of reasons.

Speaker 1:

No, that's so true, and it's also sometimes, as a consumer you know, depends on kind of what restaurant you go to. If it's quick service, then yeah, OK, just we'll scan the QR code. But it depends on the setting as well. If it's like a bit more of a higher end or a birthday, I don't want to be flicking through my phone for a menu. I want a nice like paper menu that you can open.

Speaker 3:

There's like this leisurely feeling.

Speaker 1:

So you know, be it in that area of the world or retail, then retailers probably need to really think about that end experience that they want to give and make sure that the technology they're using matches that shortly. So, another area that's been so hot over the last five years is sustainability, and you know it's, it's. It's everywhere at the moment, quite rightly. How has this been a bigger challenge for retailers? And how do you, how do you see retailers managing this well and maybe not so well?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's, it's a huge topic, isn't it? I mean, and sustainability, the first thing that I always ask myself is well, what exactly do we mean by being sustainable? Now, I don't know about you, caroline, but I've never really seen any sort of definition. It's another thing, a bit like loyalty, and, by the way, I'd also throw in Omni Channel. You know, as you know, I don't know there's no such thing as Omni Channel, but that's a whole new podcast.

Speaker 3:

But sustainability is banded about as if we all know what we mean by it. Now, in one sense, we do. It is being kind to the planet, is doing the right thing. But then, of course, there's there's an awful lot of I'll call it misinformation, and of course, an awful lot of that comes through. You know the algorithm on social media and I have to say that you know TikTok is a great example of that. You know, in one sense, it's a great platform and I think that it will continue to grow. But, of course, what a lot of people, if they see it on their social media feed, then they believe it. And so, in retail, to try to feed that, to try to get people to come to your brand, then, sadly, you know, let's call it out for what it is.

Speaker 3:

There's an awful lot of greenwashing that is going on by all sorts of brands and frankly it's it's scandalous because they they're lying to us. So there was an example last summer and it came to light earlier this year H&M. Well, they use something called the HIG index, which is a certification of sustainability, and they were found to be doctoring the numbers to make that. Now, to be fair to them, publicly, they've committed to absolutely eradicating that culture and so on and so forth from the organization. But that's just one example. Starbucks is another with. Quite recently, they introduced a different type of lid for their takeaway, a straw-less lid. Well then it because it would supposedly have less plastic, because plastic is bad for the environment, as we know. Well, that actually was found that that lid contained more plastic Than the previous one. So you know. So another. But those sorts of detail, your average consumer and this is not to be derogatory about them they're not going to know about that, they're not going to take the time, they'll just see the headline from the brand. So it's a very complex topic. I mean just one other on that before I finish on that.

Speaker 3:

A lot of what we hear in sustainability is net zero. The new I don't know if you've seen it the new Apple video where Mother Nature goes to a board meeting and quizzes them on what they've been doing for sustainability. Well, during that video, apple say our mission, our aim, is to eradicate that's whether you eradicate carbon from the atmosphere. So I thought no, that can't be right. So I did a little bit of research on that. If we eradicate carbon I'd presumably carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We will create a new ice age because we need carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The fact is, reality is that we don't need too much of it. It has to be managed. So that's just another example where a brand is deliberately or otherwise. I don't know I can't call that with Apple whether that was just purely something that slipped through, but it just shows it's a very complex subject.

Speaker 1:

And net zero as well.

Speaker 1:

It gets so bandied around so much when that's only like a tiny portion of sustainability.

Speaker 1:

You've got other CSER commitments as well that need to be considered, but a lot of brands are focusing on net zero and you know the greenwashing.

Speaker 1:

It really does wind me up as well, never more than when I go to the supermarkets and I go to the chilled section that's kind of got vegan products in it and every single product there it's got green packaging or leaves on it or something like that just makes you assume that all these vegan products are really good for the planet Without actually telling you so. It's just that kind of oh, I associate green with sustainability and you look at half of them and it's fake meat and it's got extra things that have been shipped in from here, or soybeans that have aided deforestation and aren't necessarily sustainable. It drives me bonkers and that is just the classic example of literally washing your packaging with green. So yeah, and I think it's really tricky and as a retailer, you need to be quite brave, I suppose, in stand up and admit to when you're not doing it quite right and that you're going to try and do it better going forward.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think, because I mean we should be able to trust our retailers, but I mean on kind of in defense, I suppose for them it's incredibly competitive and so they've got their shareholders, all their stakeholders, that they need to. So, yes, they're going to. They're under so much pressure. However, they must be transparent. They can't con the public because once people find out, as we saw with something like the well, the Bud Light was slightly different, but once people feel that they can't trust a brand, then it takes a long time to build that back up.

Speaker 3:

And, of course, on this particular topic, we haven't even covered fast fashion and again, that's probably a whole new podcast talking about that and returns and how much goes to landfill and so on and so forth. But I think, just I think again to be fair to all of us as consumers, I think that we want to do the right thing, but we're not being educated sufficiently and it's not being made easy enough for us. So let's say you've got an old T-shirt and it's really or top or whatever it happens to be, and it's really probably past it, you've worn it enough times and it's getting. So what do you do with it? You really want to give it to a charity shop? Probably not, because it's got stays, it's got marks on it or whatever. So are you gonna take it to a recycling? Sadly, we'll probably just throw it in the bin and we know where that ends up. So I think that it needs to be made easier for all of us, and retail has got a duty of care and a responsibility, I believe, in the whole supply chain.

Speaker 1:

So you touched on TikTok a little while ago. I definitely wanted to talk about this and the impact that it's had over the last couple of years. You know there've been some seriously viral videos across both Instagram and TikTok from you know, clean fluences shopping in B&M or fashionistas trying on clothes and changing rooms, to even staff dancing in the stock rooms and things like that. Go to Christmas and search. It's a really fun way for retailers to kind of play and look interesting and down with the kids, so to speak. But what do you really think about all of this viral social activity?

Speaker 3:

Well, so up until about March this year I was pretty clueless with TikTok. I just about knew how to spell it. And I was introducing somebody on stage at a conference in London and he was a head of product, married one something for TikTok shopping. So we were chatting. I said, look, I know nothing about TikTok, what's it all about? And he, you know, we chatted and I listened to his session and I thought, right, I need to download this and have a look. And in some ways I wish I hadn't. I mean I did because I thought I need to know about this professionally. The first thing to say, it is highly addictive.

Speaker 1:

Hours of your life just disappeared since March.

Speaker 3:

It's probably although I've never taken it, it's probably worse than heroin. Yeah, how on earth do you? Yeah, you're absolutely right, you can be on there scrolling for an hour Dangerous times. Yeah, it is. And just on that another, there's a guy who was on stage at another conference and he was kind of on this subject and he said how far do you think your thumb scrolls a day? So? And I didn't know the answer to this, well, he gave a figure. Well, it's true, of a mile a day.

Speaker 1:

Oh stop.

Speaker 3:

So I then had a. You know I consulted Mr Google. You know other search engines are available and I've got various figures, but it certainly range from like a quarter of a mile up to half a mile, maybe more than that a day. Our thumbs scrolls, so it's highly addictive. But, to answer your question, I think that TikTok is looking to become a one-stop, it is looking to become an e-commerce platform and it will become, because Instagram isn't, facebook certainly isn't, but TikTok is going to become and it probably will become the most popular. I think there's one well, the latest figures, but they're about two years ago about 1.5 billion on there, but it's growing massively, despite government reservations and banning it from here, there and all the rest of it, because I think that you know, a little panel of people in Beijing are monitoring our activity. But no, I think that it will become because there's something about it. So I would say to retail it. If you haven't got a strategy for your TikTok presence, then you're going to lose out.

Speaker 1:

And it is going to lead to sales, you think, rather than just brand advocacy. So I'm thinking, if you know your thumb is scrolling for half a mile, you might see I don't know M&S's colleagues dancing in a warehouse around Christmas time. That's going to be even like a couple of seconds, or I can't equate that into kilometers or miles in the thumb terms, but this is such a small snapshot of that time spent on the social media app scrolling and you know it's great. You do remember that. It's fabulous. How do retailers even measure that engagement into translating into sales? I feel like this is the dark art that people still haven't quite got their heads around.

Speaker 3:

I think you're right there. Yeah, because you're absolutely right. I mean, the average time is just a few seconds on each. You know video, but the other thing to say about TikTok is, of course, that the algorithm is incredibly strong. Now give an example A group of us, we play squash and we play tennis, and then earlier this year, we decided, oh, we'll start playing badminton as well. Well, other than me purchasing a racket, I don't recall ever putting anything out on any other social media platform about playing badminton. All of a sudden, on my TikTok feed, I'm getting loads of badminton videos.

Speaker 1:

It's creepy Now how did that?

Speaker 3:

you know how did that happen? Yeah, I'm just waiting. So earlier this week I recorded a podcast with the wonderful, where Fiona Lambert was one. But the other thing, yeah, sarah Curran, who is ex-Verry, you know, shop director, managing director. So Sarah has recently launched a new venture called Just Hotter, which is all about supporting women going through the menopause. So before the podcast, I did my research, went on to Just Hotter and did a bit. I'm just waiting for me to be fed, you know, stuff on the menopause, but maybe the TikTok algorithm is a little bit smarter than that. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

But with your badminton example, half the time I think, oh, maybe they're listening to us. And then my rational brain kicks in and thinks it's probably just yellow car syndrome. You know, you buy a yellow car. You're going to start seeing them everywhere. You start doing badminton. Maybe you're going to start seeing those ads. I don't know. I flip-flop between the two very regularly.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and of course you know, Alexa in the background is listening to everything that we're saying.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 3:

And then I saw something the other day that apparently 56, one figure anyway, you know, 56% of people believe that you know they're being watched through their you know, their laptop camera or whatever, or Alexa or Siri or what have you.

Speaker 1:

And that figure. They're still using it all, so they're not scared about it. So Retour's may as well just jump on it.

Speaker 3:

Well, yeah, and then, of course, that leads into you know all the personal data, because Retour's got so much of it they don't know what to do with it. And they're figuring that out at the moment, aren't they, with AI and so forth, and how to turn that data into real value for us. But, to be a bit more positive about it, I think it's all incredibly exciting because Retailers will work out what to do with that data. They will work out how to give us far more one-to-one personalized offerings, and so forth. So I think, for the consumer, it's incredibly exciting because we should expect that over the next few years.

Speaker 1:

I mean, Andrew, you bought up AI before I had a chance to. That was my next question have you got any really good examples of it being used in AI? Again, kind of like the sustainability thing. I feel like a lot of people talk about using it and then I'm thinking are you actually using AI, or is it just really good personalization or really good use of this technology that's been around for ages? When is it truly kind of robotics and automation? What have you seen in your experience?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's all sorts of things, isn't it? It's from the back office in the supply chain. So I'm thinking about again going back to inventory management and going right through to demand management, and that's probably actually one of the more exciting areas, because that translates then into the front end in terms of availability, like I said earlier, having right products at the right time in the right place, and so forth. So, of course, what can do now is taking all sorts of different feeds, including, let's say, the weather events. So let's say, if the World Cup is OK, at the moment, we've got the men's. I have to say men's. In the past we just said the rugby World Cup, it's now the men's, and so on. But so does that translate to higher sales of Guinness, perhaps in England, because they're sponsoring and all that have you. So that takes in an awful lot of things In the front end.

Speaker 3:

Another example we know that self-service checkouts are becoming more and more ubiquitous and will continue to do so. For well, it's cost-saving. Obviously, it's not necessarily related to service, although it depends on the shopping journey. If it's just sandwiches or what you just want to go in, grab it and go out. But AI is being used to help to combat theft. We like to call it shrinkage in retail, but let's call it out for what it is it's theft, it's stealing, which of course we know is on the increase. But there are a lot of ways which obviously we won't go into here. There are a lot of ways to try to cheat the self-service checkout, but some of the newer models use AI to help with that. But there's all sorts of different applications and then, of course, we've got generative AI.

Speaker 3:

But I think the one thing I say is don't always keep a human. It's a bit like let's go back to the rugby and let's say well, england, who they're playing tomorrow Chile? It's like saying to both teams well, look, you know how to play the game, you know the rules, you're experienced, so we're just going to throw you on the pitch. You're not going to have a referee or whatever, because you know what you're doing. You can work it out. So it's a bit like you're just giving everything to AI. You've got to have that human hand on the tiller. But again, it's another reason for us to be excited.

Speaker 1:

No, definitely it's less taking over jobs and more managing the menial tasks to let the humans do the really clever stuff and innovate even more.

Speaker 3:

Oh, absolutely, yeah. I mean, there is obviously this fear of AI that it's going to remove all these jobs. You could go back to the Industrial Revolution and you could go back 30 years when personal computers and we thought, oh, we're going to get far more leisure time. Well, what's happened? We got less leisure time because we're all slaving away on our laptops and so forth, exactly.

Speaker 1:

It'll be hopefully creating new jobs. Andrew, we're running out of time. I know we could talk about all of these topics, as you say, as individual podcasts themselves, but I'm going to have to take us on to our final little bit of a chat, which is our rapid fire round, before we close the conversation today. So are you ready? You have to answer very quickly on these questions now.

Speaker 3:

Go for it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, amazing, right, so number one Netflix or Disney Plus.

Speaker 3:

Netflix.

Speaker 1:

Number two what do you do to stay mentally and physically fit?

Speaker 3:

Play sport.

Speaker 1:

What's your Sunday morning guilty pleasure?

Speaker 3:

Lying in bed.

Speaker 1:

And if you could ask the Prime Minister for one thing, if you had five minutes with them, what would you?

Speaker 3:

ask for Stop doing what you're doing.

Speaker 1:

What's the one metric you think retailers should obsess over anything else?

Speaker 3:

How is my customer feeling?

Speaker 1:

How is my customer feeling? Good answer. And lastly, what is it you know today that you wish you'd known at the beginning of your career?

Speaker 3:

That humility is a quality.

Speaker 1:

Oh, what brilliant answers, andrew. Thank you so, so much for your time today. It's been always a pleasure catching up and hopefully our audience have found this really really interesting. Thank you so much for your time today.

Speaker 3:

You too, carol. It was a pleasure, thank you.

The Changing Concept of Retail Loyalty
Retail Loyalty Schemes and Consumer Sustainability
TikTok and AI in Retail Impact
Rapid Fire Round