• Big W GM of marketing - Kristen Linders
    Big W GM of marketing - Kristen Linders

Big W GM of marketing Kristen Linders details the key ways the retailer has adjusted its business to continue trading. 

What’s been your most successful pivot during the pandemic?

To help make shopping safer and more convenient for our customers and teams, we introduced our Direct to Boot service nationally across 176 stores and switched on online lay-by.

We also turned our traditional in-store events into digital propositions ensuring we could stay connected and help them with family essentials through all their big days at home.

Our famed Toy Mania midnight openings in 35 stores, for example, transitioned to a national online event.

We also evolved our Free Books for Kids program from an in-store only book collection to include a podcast and YouTube readings, giving more families across Australia access to storytime.

What are the key areas of growth in the business?

We have an enormous opportunity to accelerate our digital offering - just over the last few months with NSW, Victoria and ACT in lockdown, we have seen a significant increase of online orders and we have been increasing the number of online hubs around Australia to service our customers more efficiently.

We are also leveraging the Woolworths Group ecosystem to make shopping for everyday needs and family essentials even easier.

We are trialling Every Day market which means customers will be able to add on a kids toy from Big W for that upcoming birthday party to their weekly Woolworths order, and complete the transaction in one place.

Kristen Linders

What are the key challenges?

We know families are really looking forward to making Christmas special this year and we expect that there will be high demand online in the lead up to Christmas with Black Friday and then Christmas.

We are taking the steps to ensure we will not only have stock available for customers to shop from early October, but also options for them to shop safely online and instore with free contactless pick up and Direct to Boot.

What’s been the biggest learning?

There are no surprises that the time spent online has increased exponentially with everyone working and learning from home.

Behaviours and attitudes continued to evolve as we have all become even more digitally connected across a broader range of digital platforms.

At Big W, we were already on the journey of connecting more closely with our customers via digital and social channels, however COVID really accelerated our plans even further and we’ve been able to test and learn at speeds we didn't previously think possible.

We continue to keep testing and learning, and really listening to our customers so that we can deliver new experiences in exciting and innovative ways.

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