Customer Experience

It’s the small things that make a big difference in retail

I recently joined Triquestra as Key Account Manager. I have more than 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing across vendor management, business planning, implementing go-to market strategies and partner development. 

My big focus here is customer experience, which got me thinking about what makes me choose one brand over another and how I can help my new clients lead the way in loyalty. 


It’s not just what you want to sell but how you want people to feel

I fully believe that it’s the small things that create customer loyalty and keep me, as a consumer, coming back for more.

I was visiting a friend and she served a chipotle mayonnaise that was delicious. After searching in various supermarkets, I was unable to find a bottle. I reached out to my friend who gave me a website to try. I found it and decided to order three bottles while I was at it.

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When the package arrived, to my surprise, the fourth compartment held a free bottle of mushroom sauce which was equally as yummy and which I will definitely be purchasing again.

Although a pointed, persuasive sales message is important in winning customers, it is the subtler and smaller appeals that create real loyalty and in turn repeat business. 

Instead of focusing only on what you want to sell, consider how you want people to feel. The customer experience is a critically important driver of emotional connection. An emotionally connected customer will buy more of your products and services, visit you more often, exhibit less price sensitivity, pay more attention to your communications, follow your advice, and recommend you more – everything you hope their experience will cause them to do. 

This emotional connection is something that I have grown to expect. I have a wallet full of loyalty cards and my phone is loaded with apps – some belonging to the clients that I look after here at Triquestra. I am always excited to see personalised offers, redeem my points and be treated in a way that makes me feel valued. 

I make my purchasing decisions based on these good experiences, and in turn, I consciously decide not to shop at companies that don’t make an effort. Multiply me by all the shoppers out there and you see how you have to things right from the start.


Building those opportunities to wow

In my conversations with Infinity clients, we talk about optimising the end-to-end customer experience – every aspect of how customers interact with their brands, products, promotions and service offerings, on and offline. I’m looking forward to helping with both the big picture and the little things that will maximise customer value and build that emotional connection. 

If you want to build a better loyalty programme and get closer to your customers, contact us and we’ll work with you to make that goal a reality. You can also find out more about Infinity Loyalty.

In retail, change is still the only constant

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Hello – I’m Scott Lewis, Triquestra’s new Sales Executive. I recently joined the TQ team after working for a 3D company, where I was responsible for launching and selling interactive software across Australia and New Zealand.

Prior to that, I spent 10 years working in the telco sector across marketing, channel sales, partnerships and B2B direct sales. My past retail-related experiences have taught me how consistency across all channels is now the key to the future retail success.


It’s been an interesting few years

Only a few years back, in go-to-market meetings at the telco, multiple stakeholders from across the business would discuss how we were going to launch the ‘latest and greatest’ smartphone coming to market (you can probably guess the one I’m referring to). 

There was the usual debate around stock allocations between channels and which partners would commit to which volume, and who would get the lion’s share of the marketing co-op budget etc, etc. But then there was also the question of how to drive more traffic to the website so the retail stores didn’t get inundated, particularly in launch week. Because of course we wanted everyone to have a good customer experience. Hang on, what? We don’t want customers going to our stores?

Were we heading down the path where our website or app was going to replace the traditional retail store? Yes, I could see the cost benefit – less rent, staff, monthly trade marketing change-outs, the list goes on… But were we sure that consumers were ready to stay at home and do all their shopping on the couch or from their phone rather than go to the malls and high streets and speak to real people? 

The answer was ‘no’ then, and it still is. Recent studies back this up and challenge those who predicted that retail would go through a paradigm shift to being 100% online. Today in Australia, online shopping is responsible for only 9% of total retail sales. In the US, it’s 10%. While those numbers are set to rise, the in-store expertise is still highly valued.

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Obviously some people are more than happy to order online and wait for the courier or mail. But many want to go to a store and see and touch items before buying. Get face-to-face advice. Have things fixed. Want to physically compare X with Y. Browse for a gift when they’re not sure what they want.

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So where to next?

It’s such an interesting time for retail – as well as an amazing opportunity. And the Triquestra team is passionate about complementing the best parts of the traditional brick-and-mortar experience with the online experience, so that regardless of how or where a client’s customers prefer to buy, their  experience is consistent, tracked and personalised to their needs and interests. Especially as we all know that you have one shot to get it right and begin earning customer loyalty, or shoppers will go elsewhere. 

I think it’ll be no surprise to any CIO that to deliver a great front end experience, the back end infrastructure needs to be robust and can adapt and integrate with the plethora of apps and systems that are fast coming to market and re-shaping the retail landscape. 

It’s being part of this technology innovation, combined with sharing the success stories and learnings of our clients that I am looking forward to the most. How they’ve adopted a unified commerce approach within their businesses and how we were able to help them navigate the technological change in order to better anticipate the future needs of their customers – regardless of where and how they choose to shop.  


If you would like to know how we can help you embrace change and offer exceptional customer experiences, I’d be happy to help out. After all, as they say – change is the only constant.

How to smash your channel silos to create seamless customer experiences

How to smash your channel silos to create seamless customer experiences

Most retailers are feeling the pressure to add new physical, online and mobile channels to keep pace with new technologies and changing consumer demands. But if you’re only adding and not actually integrating these channels with the rest of your organisation, you can end up with silos that frustrate your internal teams and customers.

Samantha Gadd on why great customer experiences start with great employee experiences

A vital element in delivering a great customer experience is your employee experience. If your people feel good about their work, that transfers to all their interactions with customers. So, what exactly is employee experience and why is it important?

How to turn the ‘try before you buy’ returns trend into profitable growth

How to turn the ‘try before you buy’ returns trend into profitable growth

Returns are the new normal. And how you deal with them – before and after purchase – can differentiate your brand, give you a competitive advantage and even make you more profitable. Here’s how to tackle the returns challenge and delight your customers with new ‘try before you buy’ services.

People, partnerships and innovation: Why we introduced agile to Triquestra

Faster time to market, quality customer experiences, engaged employees and disruptive competitive advantages – each of these core business goals can be boosted with agile working.

Kelly Brown - CEO of Triquestra

Kelly Brown - CEO of Triquestra

I spoke with Kelly Brown, Triquestra’s CEO, about the business case for agile and how it helps retailers tackle their most pressing problems to deliver value for their customers and people.

For more on becoming an agile retailer, see our earlier blogs on why retailers should adopt agile and why you need both stability and agility to innovate.


What made you first pursue agile working?

KB: We started agile in 2016 with four business goals: High quality software, fast product delivery, energised and engaged people, and tight client partnerships.

Agile has helped us meet all of these objectives. It has improved the way we innovate to deliver products faster and better, and we adapt more quickly to market demands. Plus our team and clients have been impressed by what we’ve achieved together so quickly.

While many of agile’s benefits are well understood, its impact on both internal and external partner relationships is sometimes less appreciated.

People often talk about building ‘partnerships’ with their customers but aren’t clear on what that actually means. When you think about any relationship, you don't expect it to go well all the time. Things do go wrong and when that happens, the key question you’ll have to ask yourself is: ‘Do we have the same goals and will we collaborate to fix the problem?’

If your customer relationship goes bad every time something goes wrong, then it’s not really a relationship. It’s a transaction.

Agile changes the engagement from transactional to collaborative. It’s a completely different way of working together.


What can retailers do to move from transactional to collaborative partnerships?

KB: For agile to succeed, both parties have to play an active part in building a successful collaboration. This is done by focusing on shared success, continuous learning and iterative processes. Our clients not only achieved this with the Triquestra team, but within their own organisations by bringing their own business and technology teams closer together.

These business stakeholders are now highly involved in every stage of our product development. The work is delivered by self-organising and cross-functional teams selected from across each client’s organisation and the Triquestra team.

And they operate as one team. Everyone jointly sets the goals, agrees what’s in or out of scope, makes decisions as one team and equally shares in project success.


What were some key learnings from your move to agile?

KB: One of our biggest learnings was that although agile is perceived to be totally flexible, it’s not. The process is actually very rigid and disciplined. Once you put agile methodologies in place, your build becomes automated, like a factory.

But scope, priorities and mindset with that methodology – is really flexible. And that’s what generates all the innovation, agility and value.

Mostly it comes down to ‘being’ agile rather than ‘doing’ agile.

And we are constantly working on how to take both our processes and thinking to the next level. Our commitment to continuous learning has seen us recently engage experts at Fr@nk Innovation and Transformation to help us with current best practice and continually evolve our approach.


What else needed to change?

KB: The impact on people is profound and your culture will need to change. While we were fortunate to start with a flat management structure and diverse team, it can be challenging for people to move to small, self-managing teams.

We found that some people find it easy to adapt to agile and some people don’t. It comes down to each individual’s willingness and desire to embrace change.

Agile isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t like change or prefer to be task driven. We found that the most successful people take the attitude: ‘I'm empowered, I can get this done’ and ask what they need to do to succeed in their role and help others do the same.

Another big learning was how to select and deploy the systems and technologies you need to support agile working. Agile teams need high visibility and regular communication and this can put pressure on traditional time, tracking, financial and management systems.


What are the successes you’ve had with agile?

KB: It’s no coincidence that the winning retail brands we support – such as Z Energy, Cue Clothing and Fonterra’s Farm Source – are the clients using agile with us.

With a deep knowledge of each client’s business needs and very close working relationships, we’re delivering higher quality products with valuable features, faster.

Agile has also transformed our culture. Our people are more engaged, energised and, generally, far happier. Because we’ve adopted agile, our teams are empowered to make the best calls on products and services, they achieve things faster, and their relationships with clients are better.

That has improved our staff retention and talent attraction. In a recent internal survey, almost everyone said that they would recommend working at Triquestra.

Another exciting outcome is that our clients recommend us to others and nominate us for awards. For example, we were thrilled when a panel of industry experts assembled by Inside Retail awarded us runner-up 2019 Supplier of the Year.


What are the benefits retailers can anticipate if they move to agile?

KB: Our clients tell us they enjoy the same benefits we’ve experienced. Their teams are happier and more productive, with better engagement and retention, they have greater connections between their business and IT teams (and the Triquestra team), they spend less time testing and get products to market faster. And their customers are getting innovative new experiences, faster.

One client reduced its regression and UAT testing by 50 percent. That’s a massive saving in time and effort, which has driven down costs and is helping to meet evolving market and business demands.


What are the most common questions you get from retailers considering the move?

KB: All clients want to know if agile is going to cost them more. While upfront costs can increase, our clients’ internal costs dramatically decrease, resulting in overall cost savings. And the improved time to market means that they are unlocking revenue increases or cost savings faster, re-balancing the return on investment equation.

For example, the retailer I just mentioned acknowledged that while agile was going to result in more upfront spending on product development, this would be more than offset by those downstream savings they’ve achieved through reduced testing.

The other common question I get is ‘Am I going to be able to control the outcome?’. It’s an important question because an agile partnership does need a high level of trust. You’re going to move from a top-down hierarchy to a more horizontal, self-managing model. There’s still control – it’s just exercised in a different way, with the focus shifting from the process to the output.

And while agile generates short bursts of tangible outputs and regular outcomes, the end product is not going to be defined and costed upfront like a traditional, waterfall approach.

That's a big shift and one that doesn’t work for all organisations or even all projects. But for those that make the jump, agile will forever change the way they work and deliver fantastic new experiences for their employees and customers.


If you’d like advice on how agile can work within your organisation, get in touch. We’re continually evolving our approach to product development using the agile methodology and we’d love to help you deliver capabilities faster and better to meet your changing market and business demands.


For more on how to give your retail business the flexibility and agility you want, download our ebook.

Top tips for unified order fulfilment

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I recently joined Triquestra as a business analyst after spending four years with a shipping automation software company.

As we’re all seeing, the ability to give shoppers a range of pick-up and delivery options is now a big part of a successful customer experience, and I wanted to share my top tips for a good fulfilment strategy. You need to start at the beginning to keep customers happy through to the very end of their sales transaction.


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1: STOCK: Inform your customers about stock levels  

How disappointed would you be if you discovered that the pair of shoes you badly needed for your race this weekend couldn’t be delivered for three weeks because the stock was unavailable?

Set your customer expectations by providing accurate stock levels on your website during the browsing process so they can see right away what’s available and what has to be ordered.


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2: SHIPPING COSTS: Be sure you’re getting the best rate

Shipping can be complicated, with costs varying according to the destination, the weight and the size of the packages you need to deliver. You want to make sure that you are using the best courier in every situation: Who’s best for international packages, is it the same company for national and bulky packages, what about deliveries in the same city?

To choose the best couriers for yourself and your customers, define simple rules within your retail system to select a carrier according to the weight or destination of the package. Or integrate a shipping platform that can determine the best carrier automatically.

Another solution is to let your customers select the best option by listing all your courier services and their prices during the checkout process. Then your customer can decide between the cheapest service or choose to pay extra for premium or express service. We know some customers value convenience over price.


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3: FULFILMENT SPEED: Don’t let an order backlog grow

Ensure you are using the best processes and tools to run your dispatch centre. Packing slips and a barcode scanner are a must, and you also need to test your operation to make sure it matches the volume of orders you need to fulfil.

Consider fulfilling orders from your stores to reduce shipping costs and allow your customers pick up their orders themselves.


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4: COMMUNICATION: Keep your customers in the loop

Make sure you inform and update your customers about their deliveries.

  • Send proactive delivery information by text or email at every stage.

  • Let customers track their orders through your website, instead of a courier company’s website. Then customers will have constant contact with your brand and can see details of their purchase as well as its delivery journey.


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5: RETURNS: Offer returns to win customer trust

Most major online retailers offer free returns. While returns are often seen as an additional expense, they can actually drive revenue, increase profit, improve customer experience and boost your brand’s reputation. Please see our recent article on why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy.


Infinity partners with fulfilment platforms such as Temando and Shippit and can help you build a fulfilment strategy that offers customers many options while reducing your inventory holdings and delivery costs. Contact us to find out more.

My Retail Week recap - including Supplier of the Year runner up!

Retail Week in Melbourne was a great experience – going on a tour of new concept stores, meeting with top eCommerce disruptors and attending Inside Retail’s Retailer Awards gala. There are so many smart people and companies doing clever things to be more customer-focused, personal, sustainable and ethical. It was an inspiring trip.


Runner up for Retail Supplier of the Year

Hearing Triquestra’s name called out at the Retailer Awards was thrilling. We were in amazing company and I was very proud that our unified commerce platform and talented people were recognised for helping our clients’ retail businesses excel.

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Congratulations to Shane Lenton

Shane is CIO of Cue Clothing Co and he nominated us for Retail Supplier of the Year so a big thank you goes to him. So does a big congratulations because during the week he was named #4 in Internet Retailing’s Top 50 People in E-Commerce 2019. His ‘buy anywhere, fulfil anywhere’ strategy – backed by Infinity – has seen Cue significantly grow its online sales. You can read more about Cue’s work with Infinity in our latest case study.

A focus on provenance and purpose

During my retail tour I saw some impressive stores which are offering interesting customer experiences that combine physical retail with consumer desire for provenance and purpose.

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  • LiTMUS Lab takes advantage of the fact that customers want to try and experience the innovative products they sell before buying. They hold no stock on site, but let shoppers experience the products and store staff knowledge before buying online - either in-store or after leaving the store. All sales are processed as orders that are typically drop shipped directly from the supplier. Their model requires less rental space while reducing inventory cost.

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  • I visited Australia’s first TOMS shoe store, opened by Retail Prodigy Group. TOMS has a powerful business model that addresses need and advances health, education and economic opportunity for children and communities around the world. In the Melbourne store, you see this commitment in action. In addition to helping a person in need with every purchase, you can buy a $2 coffee when you make a purchase and those coffee beans are supplied from another social enterprise. It’s a feel good, tasty, boutique experience with purpose.

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  • First Principles is made-to-measure denim with a difference. They build a pattern for you in their boutique where you can see samples, then you’re in control of choosing fabrics and embellishments online where you can order new jeans whenever you want. They source denim in Japan – from one of the world’s longest-running mills and use factories in Kenya where they know every person who makes their product. It’s a great personalisation story from beginning to end, including a commitment to fix any issues. I hope it proves to be sustainable.


If you’d like to know more about any of the stores I visited or want to discuss these retail trends in relation to your own business, please get in contact.







Why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy

Why returns should be part of your customer experience strategy

New ‘try before you buy’ (TBYB) services are fuelling a surge in product returns that could overwhelm retailers. Here we look at what’s driving the TBYB trend, the challenges it creates and why the growth in returns is actually good for retail.