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How we redefined customer service at the GWS GIANTS

  • Written by Mitchell Dale, Head of Customer Acquisition at GWS GIANTS

In the NRL territory, competition is fierce, but it’s safe to say that at the GIANTS, we’re emerging as the David challenging a host of Goliaths. While NRL shirts might always be more prominent on Sydney streets, the fact that more and more orange, charcoal and white jerseys are seen, can be attributed to more than just our team’s performances on the field – our retail and business strategies.

Retail in the sporting world isn't just about selling merchandise; it's about fostering a sense of belonging, building loyalty, and providing fans with a memorable experience. To achieve these goals, we embarked on a journey to redefine customer service, leveraging technology and innovation. From increased revenue, to more streamlined sales analysis, the revamped retail strategy provided a renewed sense of confidence for the whole team.

So how did we build our retail operation into one that kicks as many goals as the team? Why did we choose the platform we did? And what benefits are we seeing from it now?

Elevating the customer experience

Waiting in long lines on game days – whether that be for food and drinks, or merchandise – is something no fan appreciates. However, due to connectivity issues with our previous bank terminals, it often led to delays in accepting payments during peak customer times. Over time, the profound impact it had on customer experience for our fans was unacceptable and we knew it was time to make a change.

We were looking for something that would not only allow us to pursue our growth targets and business goals, but also be easy to onboard and use across the organisation. Implementing Lightspeed's unified Point of Sale (POS) and Payments platform has done just that, and been a game-changer since day one. We no longer find ourselves walking outside with an EFTPOS terminal to hunt for a signal in direct daylight, even when transferring between venues. Our retail team's ability to process payments seamlessly and rapidly was significantly enhanced, ultimately boosting overall fan experience and our revenue.

The power of real-time inventory management

Accurate inventory management is crucial in the world of sports merchandise. Our commitment to exceeding customer expectations at every touchpoint led us to employ real-time inventory management to ensure stock counts across our locations were always accurate. This was an essential step in mitigating over-ordering and stock transition issues.

Beforehand, we sometimes faced inventory discrepancies that left us unable to fulfil orders. For instance, it was frustrating to our customers when we’d advertise having 10 items in stock, but then sell 15 on game day. Such inconsistencies not only cost us sales but also tarnished our reputation. Now, we have the capability to maintain live inventory that moves seamlessly between our outlets, eliminating these stock transition issues. Having the ability to fulfil orders accurately and promptly has significantly improved the long-term customer experience we can provide.

Insights gained through advanced reporting

One of the most valuable aspects of our technology is the advanced reporting capabilities it provides. As a sports club, we offer products that change every season, and keeping track of their performance is crucial. The ability to accurately monitor product life cycles and compare sales to previous years has been immensely valuable.

The payment report, in particular, has been a game-changer for our retail operations. It allows us to track how fans are spending their money, which products are the most popular, and how customer behaviour is evolving. This knowledge is invaluable in helping us adjust our strategies, stock the right products, and provide a more personalised experience to our fans as our supporter base continues to grow. Advanced reporting has given us the tools to fine-tune our offerings, ensuring we're always meeting our fans' expectations and preferences.

Empowering the team

One of my key objectives is to empower our workforce to take ownership of retail operations without constant oversight. The shift to Lightspeed Payments allowed us to accomplish this goal with confidence. We no longer need to be concerned about things going awry, and we have a robust system in place that can be trusted.

Our casual workers can now efficiently handle sales and promotions. For instance, we've leveraged features like barcode scanning for promotions, which allows us to track promotions on game days swiftly and ensure they are executed correctly. This level of empowerment and efficiency has freed up our team and me to focus on strategic growth initiatives. We can now invest more time and energy in expanding the program, increasing revenue, strengthening customer connections, and providing a superior overall experience.

The GIANTS aren’t just a sports club; we're a community, and as we continue to build our supporter base and expand the GIANTS' legacy, our retail strategy plays a pivotal role in shaping the fan experience. The lessons we've learned in our journey to redefine customer service are not only applicable to the world of sports but to any business that seeks to build customer loyalty, drive growth, and provide an exceptional experience.

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