In this week's episode, Matt and Simon is joined by James Edge to discuss his view on the impact COVID-19 has had on the e-commerce and logistics sector.
Guest Speaker - James Edge
James has worked in the e-commerce logistics industry for over 20 years, holding a series of senior roles in Europe and North America. He became CEO of Landmark Global, a bpost company, in 2018, having previously been CIO of bpost’s International Parcels & Logistics Division.
Prior to joining Landmark Global and bpost (Belgian Post Group), James worked for a Nashville-based start-up focused on cross-border payments and logistics, and also spent 10 years working in various commercial roles for Royal Mail Group in the UK and USA.
Running a big organisation or a big logistics chain, you need structure and that’s what you get with the bigger brands. In contrast, what I’ve loved about working in the startup space is, we know that that all those big brands are similar Royal Mail Depots, FedEx, UPS, and in the startup, you get to try disrupt it, and then you get to create your own culture. And it’s not command and control. Some things don’t scale as well and some things don’t work as well because you have less structure. But you know, it’s that classic thing where you can innovate and fail quickly.
- What has been the most surprising retail market that has sprung up as a result of Covid? And where should our listeners be investing to front run the market?
- How are the major e-commerce players/platforms handling the challenge of shipping and delivery?
- Do you think there is a long-term impact on Globalisation as part of the Global Pandemic and what are Logistic organisations doing to protect the supply chain for the future?
- AI and Robots are often discussed with trepidation but was Covid-19 a realisation that Robots need to be part of the solution?
- How did you handle rate hikes as a consequence of Covid-19? What was the impact to the Customer Service department and how did you deal with the increased demand?
- What is the biggest difference having worked in both start-ups and established brands? Would say you have experienced in working both environments, considering both models are successful?
Simon – Welcome to the CX Chat with Matt and Simon, our podcast series on all things customer experience. Each week we talk about some of the hottest topics and biggest issues facing cx professionals right now and invite special guests to join our discussion. My name is Simon Thorpe and as ever I’m joined by my colleague Matthew Dyer. Matty how the hell are you today?
Matt – Yeah, I’m very well, thank you, Simon. Just been looking into places to go on holiday which will probably be a stay vacation for the obvious reasons. Just thinking about it as well. People with holiday homes are probably doing exceptional business this year. So for anybody listening as a place they’re looking to rent, just let me know.
Simon – Ah, shameless, ask out to the audience. I love it. We that’s one of the earliest we’ve ever had good work. Hey, Matty, are you feeling a bit hot under the collar today?
Matt – A little bit nervous. It was a wild time of life.
Simon – So we have got an absolutely brilliant theme and brilliant guest. I’m, let me come on to it because I want to give our guests the suitable introduction that we always give our guests but this week is particularly exciting, I think because well, first of all, we’re going to chew over a topic that, frankly is brand new to me, but I’m really interested in it. It’s all about the logistics industry and how the pandemic has had a significant impact on that sector. And to help us tackle that theme, we’ve got a first for the podcast and we are going truly international and having over to the pond over the pond to the US of A for this week’s guest. And let’s give him his due introduction because this man knows a serious amount about the e-commerce and logistics industry. He’s been working in this space for 20 years and he is the CEO of Landmark Global. He’s worked for a Royal Mail and you know, lots of global roles and interestingly and the reason why Matt might be a little bit hot under the cover, colour is that he was also Matt’s academic mentor at St. Andrews University. So we’re expecting lots of brilliant stitch up stories about Matty in his formative years, but please welcome Mr. James Edge. How are you, sir?
James – I’m very well thank you very, very well, I don’t think there was much academic in my mentoring, but that’s a very good introduction.
Matt – Yeah. He told me he drink Well, that’s for sure.
James – I can I can say Simon he was always interested in customer experience, but it was generally the experience of the customer in the pub. But it started early for sure.
Simon – I can imagine. Well, yeah, as we said off air, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to give us too much juice because it probably would incriminate both of you and, and, end possibly very esteemed careers, but it’s fantastic to have you on the podcast James, thank you for for joining us and you are in Los Angeles today.
James – Yeah, I am. Yeah, it’s it’s another sunny day with blue skies and the big difference as as with you guys as we’re we’re wearing masks and spending more time indoors than we used to should. But But otherwise, yeah, all iss well. Thanks for having me.
Simon – Do you do you live over in Los Angeles? Or do you, I mean, I know you have a global role and responsibility, but is that is that base, is that home?
James – It is. Yeah. And it’s we’ll talk a little bit about the company through this i’m sure but it’s because I work for a California based company and been in LA now for Gosh, I think it’s over five years having spent a few years on the east coast and then many years in London before that. So I’ve kept moving west and I think I like it here.
Simon – Following the sun, I’m sure.
James – Yeah, gonna stick around for a while.
Matt – Still not lost the accent anyway.
Simon – [Laughs] Yeah, that’s good to hear.
James – It’s evolved Matt, hasn’t it? I don’t know what it was when I arrived at St. Andrews, but it’s gone through a few a few changes, but I think I’ve settled on this one now.
Simon – Well, chap Should we get going? Because I genuinely really, really excited about this topic. Because I would imagine there’s been so much change over the last three months, it must be, I guess, unprecedented in terms of what it’s done to the logistics, e-commerce, you know, that whole sector, James, and just to kind of kick us off and kind of get a view. I’d love to just, you know, hear your perspective on what’s what’s been happening over the past few months. And if there’s anything that’s particularly surprised you about some of the markets that you know, you typically operate in, it’s just it’s it must have been quite a thing to be part of.
(What has been the most surprising one that has sprung up as a result of Covid?)
James – Yeah, it certainly certainly, certainly has been an interesting thing to be part of, and it was incredibly nerve racking for everyone, but from a business perspective in, you know, sitting here in LA in April, not knowing whether we’d be able to even open our warehouses or have a business and we’ve been incredibly fortunate because of course, over a couple of weeks, we learned we you know, we’re categorised as essential and then we have a new set of challenges and I think the biggest thing to answer your question Simon is it’s it you can kind of say it’s like Christmas every day which if you say that to your kids is amazing and if you say it to any logistics it’s it’s frightening because it’s our busiest period and we kind of gear up for doing the Christmas Black Friday etc for about a month. And you know, it’s July 14, and and we the whole industry has massive challenges with capacity and getting enough staff and getting enough trucks and everything else and you know, if you if you talk to just using Royal Mail or a B postage or a Canada Post, the post offices they’re they’re kind of levels of parcels that they weren’t expecting till 2022 or 2023. So it’s it’s exciting and scary all at the same time. That’s that’s the biggest change.
Simon – So, so do you, I, we talked about this a lot in the, in the podcast James, we’ve talked a lot about the the necessity of being agile and you know, some of those decisions that have typically spent a long time to be made around acquiring new technology or adapting or doing things differently. Have you found that in the in the logistics space that you’ve had to, you’ve had to react and things that maybe you weren’t expected to come through, come to pass for many years to come? You’ve had to kind of make those calls just to stay kind of relevant and, and be able to adapt to all of that change?
James – Yeah, I think that’s I think that’s what we’re all doing and the way you’ve you’ve given me a lovely way to say absolutely, Simon, you know, we’re just implementing the street strategic plan a little bit early, where, you know, we’ve got this and we have, but at the same time, we’re scrambling well, while we’re looking at the technology That will give us the capacity we expected to lead in a couple of years. So you know, the scrambling part in our industry we tend to be good at because you get a lot of people who like to move things from A to B. And it doesn’t it doesn’t worry too much. But it’s to your question, it’s thinking about if this is the new normal, and if we’re all going to be ordering from home, you know, at this sort of volume pretty consistently from from now on out, then how do we bring those strategic technology initiatives forward? A good example would be, you know, a lot of a lot of what Amazon has driven in the US and in other places is the technology that allows them to recruit people in cars or people in vans, the overused Uber model expression, but the there’s, there’s other companies that have the capability to do that. So if you’re a landmark global or anyone in our space, how do you how do you get hold of that sort of technology in in Europe key markets, and how do you partner with companies that are doing that? Now instead of in 2022? Because Because the reality is that UPS and FedEx and and and all of the bigger players just don’t have the capacity to handle all this volume easily.
Matt – So just on that James, obviously, Amazon have driven a market whereby you get same day delivery. Obviously, if the likes of FedEx, UPS Royal Mail are struggling to deliver, we’re moving to this gig economy. And we’re seeing that in the CX space as well. Does that not have a concern for the consumer in that the fees for delivery could actually go through the roof? Or do we create a tiered structure where if you have money, you get stuff delivered? And if you’re further down, the food chain is going to actually take you longer to get what you want?
(How are the major ecomm players/platforms (specifically Amazon) are handling the challenge of shipping and delivery?)
James – Haha, say, hey, that’s a great, that’s a great question. And the answer is probably yes. I mean, I don’t think I think there’s enough capacity out there. If you can If you can harness it with the technology, and I think in the short term, you know, people are accepting that things aren’t arriving same day at the moment, but that’s not going away. So using kind of using your example, you know, if I think about deliveries today, Amazon Prime is my subscription, because I pay that I’m getting things as quickly or more quickly than anyone else. If I go into Uber and Uber Eats in LA, I can pay an extra dollar 49 to make sure my food comes directly to me. Instead of the driver, you know, maybe I’m stuck number three if I don’t pay the dollar 49 so I think all I think you’re right, all of these things are coming. I don’t know exactly how they’ll manifest themselves in my world. But you can see it in the in the parallel, you know, the parallel services that we’re all buying.
Matt – Because that’s going to be an interesting play as well from a CX perspective because know you’ve created or they’ve created marketplaces in terms of engagement. Where’s the handoff in terms of who manages the CX experience? So if the Uber guys drop off in terms of the delivery, do I, as a customer call Uber Eats or do I call Amazon?
James – Yeah, definitely. And it you know, or already provides plenty of confusion today. In the in the US, we’ve got you. And I know the same is in the UK with DPD and various other players pretty common in our industry. But you’ll get a kind of choice, right, I’ll sign up to UPS. Some company I’ve ordered from we’ll let them we’ll give them a parcel and UPS will say hey, James, do you want it today? Does it suit or do you want to come and pick it up? Or is another day better? And I you know, everyone loves that experience. And then sometimes someone I bought it from won’t use that service and it’s incredibly frustrating. I know it’s coming UPS but suddenly I don’t have a choice and it’s you know, presumably because they’ve they’ve used the cheapest service even though they’ve charged me for shipping. You know, it leads to a listen, you can hear my frustration as a consumer and I think it’s going to be very difficult to, it’s going to be very difficult to know necessarily who to call. But at the same time, I think the overall service gets better and better the overall convenience and choice.
Simon – I think that’s a fascinating piece, this whole customer adoption, we talked about this in one of the previous podcasts with, with Kate talking about how quickly innovation becomes accepted as the norm. And and how difficult that is for companies to keep up. You know, as you said, if you don’t have that offering, presented to you, it’s starting to drive negative sentiment and negative experience, even though you didn’t have that option available to you a few months before, and how to keep ahead of the game with that sort of thing must be must be really, really difficult, particularly in your space, James, I mean, is what kind of innovations are you seeing coming through? And are things coming quicker than you expected?
(How have people innovated during these unprecedented times?)
James – Yeah, so I think there’s there’s that Delivering innovation, which we talked about, which is usually about choice. So, you know, I think we’ve given some good examples of that just with, with Uber and what we talked about this, you know, there’s lockers and drop boxes, and all of these types of innovation that just make it means that I don’t have to sit at home waiting for a package to come. So I think that’s, that’s the convenience one. And then the other one is speed. I mean, it’s speed innovation, it is because you’ve got Alibaba basically and Jack Ma saying, I am going to find a way to get any items, any person anywhere in the world is 72 hours. And so, you know, you can stick it on a plane and get anywhere in 72 hours, but if you’ve just bought an iPhone case or a T shirt, you’re probably not going to want to pay, you know, 50 pounds to get delivered. So you know what he means and what the vision is, is to be able to get goods that we want to to people as quickly as possible, and that’s where a lot of the innovation is in In the logistics industry, it’s how do you place goods around the world in warehouses? And how do you have the best technology and the best partnerships with delivery companies to get the goods from the warehouse to your house as quickly as possible, or to your locker, or, you know, to your convenience store or wherever it might be. So there’s there’s a tonne of in innovation in putting the pieces together. And a lot of the you don’t see as a consumer, but but you definitely feel it when you start to get those when you start to get those options for where something gets delivered, or, or when things definitely when life gets a little bit more back to normal when things are arriving pretty quickly, instead of you know, taking weeks to get from from China to the UK, for example.
Matt – Yeah, that’s interesting. So a lot of the things we talk about from our, I guess, customer service perspective, I guess, centre zones, virtual assistants and kind of chat bot type thing. So from a logistics perspective, I’ve seen quite a few things from DHL, in terms of robots for the kind of the last mile delivery. There’s obviously a kind of a bit of trepidation around that. But is that gonna start to become a reality now is kind of people don’t want that personal contact? What’s kind of what’s your thought of where the industries heading?
(Was Covid a realisation that Robots need to be part of the solution particularly from a last mile delivery perspective?)
James – Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the robots, I think robots for me fit with. They fit with drones and self driving cars. So let me explain that. So with this, the self driving cars, I think, you know, that they’ll come one day, incredibly complicated, and it’s reasonably complicated to get a robot delivering things. And then the drones I think what we’ve learned with drones is they’re brilliant for delivering, let’s say medical supplies to Saskatchewan, you know, where someone’s living a long, long way from civilization. And we’ve we’ve yet to really find an application in a big urban conurbation and I think the robots is kind of similar this definitely Lately, you know, they’re definitely out there. And they’re, they’re coming. But I think in delivery, it’s going to take a little bit longer. And it’ll take more than that the kind of the pace of the pandemic to drive that. But you do, definitely you already see them in kind of one step up the chain. So if you go into a modern sort sorting Centre for an Amazon, for example, there’s automation and robots everywhere. And you know, even within companies, you haven’t heard of necessarily like B post who owns landmark, but b post made the acquisition of a company called active ants, and much smaller fulfilment type of company that runs warehouses and they run everything with with technology and effectively robots, you know, and they’re not, they’re not Amazon, they’re not of that scale. But it just shows that you’ve already got bigger and smaller companies turning more and more to automation and to robots.
Matt – Yeah, is there any other adjacent tech are different technologies that a lot of logistics firms are going into see, like Uber Eats is a good example. They’re trying to move into finance. Are we seeing similar sorts of plays in the logistics space? Or very much sticking to what they know?
James – Oh, that’s a good question. Do you know I What? I’m gonna because I can’t give you a great answer, Matt, I’m going to flip the question like it like a good politician would. I think what I’m seeing is a lot of non logistics firms coming into logistics. So you know, the obvious two are Alibaba and Amazon. But they’ve looked at the supply chain, they’ve looked at what logistics have done for forever. And they’ve gone we’ve got technology, we’ve got platforms that can link up everything from start to finish. The only bit that we’re missing are some of those logistics bits, like vans and planes. And so they’re coming at it from from that direction. And I think that’s interesting because that’s actually what changes the whole industry and it it turns from, you know, when I joined Royal Mail, whatever, 20 years ago, probably more, it’s, you know, logistics was very much a van and a big warehouse and you wanted as many big warehouses and as many vans as possible. And now these guys are coming in saying you still need lots of vans and warehouses but there’s a better way to do this. And you know, and the experience from getting something from a factory to a fulfilment warehouse into a supply chain and to a consumer. I can link all that together with technology and visibility. And I’m less reliant on you know, what I’ll call traditional logistics. Yeah, that’s the way I’m seeing it.
Matt – Yeah, so I guess from that perspective, you don’t own your own fleet then. So how did you manage I guess customer expectation when you’re relying on others to kind of deliver? How does that work?
(How did you deal with the increased demand?)
James – Yeah, good question. You have to be you know, you have to kind of set your your stall out a lot of what we do ways in which Yeah, I should differentiate it with, with with, for our UK audience but a lot of what we’re doing in the US or in North America, it takes three to five days to get anything to across the continent or, you know, you can do it quicker two or three days. We do much of our businesses international and cross border. So again, it’s we’re not we’re not to Jack Ma 72 hours yet. So you’ve got these different delivery promises that different places, and the way that we the way that we do it and manage our clients expectation and consumer expectation is with that just visibility, it’s tracking. So you know, how every time you touch the the, you know, there’s every time you touch the parcel, there’s there’s a bit of data that flies back, and you just need to make that data visible. So we do that in a number of different ways. So you know, you might say, well go to the landmark global.com website and people like well, who’s landmark global? Okay, well, if you voted for You know, if you’ve ordered from Abercrombie and Fitch, you can get the same information there. And if you want really detailed information will tell you that the final mile delivery is being done by Canada Post. So if you you know, if you want to follow the van if, if that’s possible with Canada Post where you are, then here’s a link, you know, go and follow the van. So it’s just making data visible, which I think you guys can relate to in your in in your industry, right? It’s it’s all about the consumer just wants visibility and wants to know what’s going on.
Matt – Yeah, it’s really much about the visibility. And then how do you let the customer know where to get that data? And that’s sometimes a challenge, but the data is always there. The presentation sometimes not?
Simon – Yeah, yeah. I would agree with that. Yeah. And that, you know, our presentation is certainly been, I certainly needed updating recently, you know, so you wake up sometimes and realise that you’re telling retailers the best way to present stuff and you’re not doing it yourself. So I think we’ve just done a big project pay track. And for that reason. James, can I ask you a question about community? Because again, we’ve talked about the power of communities on the podcast a few times and what I mean by communities I saw a fascinating presentation about 12 months ago. of a I think it was a logistics for retail from I can’t remember but what they did and it was in Scandinavia, I believe it was Finland and what they had was a select few of what they called ambassadors, customer ambassadors, and these people lived in conurbations or small towns or villages around the country and they effectively acted as the the ambassador link between the supplier and the customer. And effectively what that meant was that people so they delivered the parcels to that person, and then their responsibility was effectively to take them around to all of the neighbours and all that sort of thing or people would come to them to collect. And they kind of build up this whole kind of really nice community around bringing people together and staying connected. And I just wondered whether you see anything that were in the industry at the moment, and whether that’s got legs or whether that’s just a bit, kind of warm and fluffy PR.
James – I think it has got legs in certain places. It’s a great example of where something for community makes economic sense for the supply chain. So you know, one of the hardest things for for Royal Mail, or for Canada Post is delivering single items to single houses that are spaced, you know, 10, 20, 30 miles apart. And, and, you know, kind of linked to we think about some of the innovation of lockers or convenience stores as a city thing, but it’s the same concept. But what you’re adding in your example, Simon is that community bit. So if it’s a delivery company, you could take everything to what the village pub in, in the north of Scotland. And, and you know, it could then be kind of delivered from there locally. That’s a win for everyone. You know, it saves, it saves money for the delivery company, it creates the community. And it probably gives the local people a few options, right, they can probably then go to the pub to pick it up. They can wait for someone to bring it to them or they can all get together and have a pint and talk about what they’ve ordered. Exactly. So yeah, I think that’s, I don’t know that as an industry, we, I don’t know how much time we spend thinking about things like that, but we certainly spend time thinking about how we can reduce the cost of the delivery at the end. So you know, that it seems like an obvious opportunity to me.
Simon – Yeah, I’ve certainly not seen it in any other country. But it was a it was a bit of a wow moment at the event I saw. And I think it’s, as you said, from a cost perspective, it was certainly stacking up. But the particular presentation I saw was more about how how to kind of harness the the kind of brand ambassadors to effectively do a job for you. So there was multiple kind of business benefits. And it fundamentally brought the customer closer to the brand. Because they felt like they were part of that that the overall experience. So I mean.
Matt – Yeah, that probably comes back to the cultural thing of the company. So I think, James, from your perspective, you worked in startups, you’ve worked in established brands, both kind of worked particularly well. But what would you say probably be the biggest difference in those two environments?
(What is the biggest difference you would say you have experienced in working both environments?)
James – Yeah, good. Good question. I think it what you get in the established brands out there now talk from a logistics perspective, obviously so people forgive me for generalising. If I look at the post and Royal Mail, it’s similar, right? They’re established brands, one in Belgium, one in the UK, their institutions. They’re loved. And sometimes they’re you know, they’re not so loved but overall that the public likes those big companies and they they trust them, there’s a lot of trust. And but with that comes a kind of a command structure right they the postal the bigger postal logistics companies sprung up from a military background, really. So you know, for running a big organisation or a big logistics chain. You need structure and that’s what you get with the bigger brands. In contrast, what I you know, what I’ve loved about working in the in the startup space is, we know that that all those big brands are similar Royal Mail Depots, FedEx, UPS, and in the in the, in the startup, you get to try disrupt it, right, and then you get to, you get to create your own culture. And it’s not command and control. And some things don’t scale as well. And some things don’t work as well because you have less structure. But you know, it’s that classic thing where you can, you can innovate and fail quickly. And you can, you can, I don’t know you can have, you can have fun, but in the intellectual sense, you know, I played plenty of table tennis at, you know, two in the afternoon on the table and drunk my craft beer at four. But the real fun it is, is this disruption and kind of changing the things that you’ve seen in the bigger company. So anyway, I think they both have their place. And, you know, it’s interesting to watch a B post, acquire a landmark. You know, and, and, and try and incorporate some of the entrepreneurialism into some of the structure. And I think they’ve done a good job and we you know, it’s been an interesting experience. That’s worked out well for both of those brands, especially as the landmark one has, has grown and probably needed some of that structure that that the post office. Did I answer your question, Matt? Did I just waffle?
Matt – [Laughs] That was a good answer.
James – [Laughs] I don’t believe him Simon.
Simon – I can I can verify. I can verify. We’re gonna have to start wrapping up soon. But I could I could grill you and ask you questions for for the next few hours happily, James, but one of the things I’m really interested in is I think it’s particularly Making Moves moves over and then in the US this and I forget the company’s name, but this concept of using a big kind of gig economy style group of pickers and they go and pick your, your food items or grocery items from all different stores. And then throw it all in the bag, and then that’s delivered to you seems to be kind of hugely disruptive to the kind of classic in our, you know, in the UK function of, you know, you go to a supermarket and you get all your goods from one place. I mean, it’s a bit of a kind of strange question, but what’s your view on that in terms of what the impact will be on, on, you know, other businesses that may be, you know, starting to think about this kind of gig, gig economy, peer group type, peer picker type offerings? Yeah, well, I’ve thought about a lot actually. And I’ve used I’ve used I’m a big user of these things. What is it called? What was the brand called?
Simon – Instacart is one of them. Thank you, Instacart. Yeah that’s the one.
James – I basically go to the shop website, Costco, whatever. I make my order and then some instacart driver or shopper. Yeah, takes takes up the order I’ve made and then brings it to me and does the shopping for me and other people, and you’re right, I can order from different shops. And there’s a lot of choice. I think this the reason this is an interesting question is because from the consumer perspective, particularly jewellery, and let’s use the pandemic to illustrate and it was great for me, right, I had my fear, I didn’t want to go into the supermarket, I could get everything I wanted. I had to pay more. So kind of back back to Matt’s earlier question, there’s a there’s a barrier to entry. You know, the cost is significantly more than me doing my own shopping. So that’s, that’s one thing. And then the other thing, particularly in the pandemic, is you’re sending other people to do something that you don’t think is is that safe. So that but you know, that’s the extreme example assignment. The more the more interesting one is your you know, it’s it’s back to the the model talked about with Uber, but you’re, you’ve got a kind of gig economy that suits a lot of people in the US it’s a challenge because you’ll have someone in The gig economy that’s an aspiring actor. That’s a good LA example. And they’re really happy to be to do Instacart or Uber, around their acting career. But then you’ve got other people that don’t have much choice. They can’t find other jobs. And so they entered the gig economy. And then you’ve got, you know, the questions of, well, how are you supporting these people, you’re giving them some money, but there’s no structure, there’s no healthcare, there’s no, you know, insurance, there’s all these other things. And that’s where you see Uber in these bigger companies kind of under pressure to be good employers, and they’re saying, well, we’re not employers. And I don’t have the answer to it. But that’s what we should all be all be thinking about, in my opinion, when you you know, there’s a little bit of social responsibility that comes from being a big user of the gig economy.
Simon – I think I’m really really interested to see one, how quickly this instacart model comes over to the UK and I would imagine if I was a supermarket offer So I would be very, very nervous if I was somewhere in between luxury and, and the kind of, you know, lower, you know, cheaper end of the market if I was somewhere in between I would be panicking I think. I don’t know whether that’s whether that’s right or not, but interesting.
James – It’s another disruption you know, it’s and and people, all the stores are gonna have to react to it just like the restaurants need to figure out how they they’re going to react to food delivery being done by third party because it costs them money.
Simon – Yeah, really, it’s gonna change them and I’m gonna imagine make people think differently and actually, I think plays really neatly into into a man eyes world around customer experience, you know, but who owns that customer experiences man, as Matt eloquently put earlier, but it will it will be certainly a factor. And hey, James, we could keep talking and talking and talking for many hours to come. But in true podcast fashion, we’re we’re going to have to start wrapping up now. And in your kind of learning experience, what we try and do is we try and leave our listeners with things to maybe think about or read or go away and have a, you know, a chat with someone else about is there is there things that you’ve maybe come across over the past few months that stood out to you as interesting maybe, you know, tips, ideas, concepts that that we could maybe, maybe leave the listeners with at all.
Matt – Yeah, one question I did have James on that is you probably get a good view of visibility of what retailers or consumers are buying that’s different post COVID so I’d be interested to hear what that’s about because a lot of people are doing Zoom. So is there a lot more makeup shipping?
James – Haha, that’s it. That’s a great question. Absolutely. We We definitely have makeup and toilet paper to thank for a very strong April and May so the toilet paper was fun, surprising, you know, based on the fact that everyone was making a run on it the makeup I didn’t predict. But as you say, Zoom and you know, it makes sense. So definitely, there’s definitely those two things. And then there’s the I think I heard a statistic in the, from the UK actually, maybe it’s on the BBC, where this this sales of baking goods, so baking things at home are 69 greater than they were before the pandemic. Yeah, so you know, I think I think that’s what I think that’s definitely what what we see. It’s not necessarily the goods we expected. And then sometimes we’ll have a spike. You know, I look at our clients and I’ll go, Oh, goodness, me client x had a really good week. You know, that doesn’t. Why, and someone will say, Oh, they got hold of some hand sanitizer, I don’t know where they got it from you know, and then, of course, the hand sanitizer went crazy and supported that the other goods so yeah, definitely seeing some interesting stuff.
Simon – Yeah, it’s, it is It is amazing to see I also saw brilliant stat that I think the some of the clever fashion retailers have observed that maybe they should slightly pivot away from the kind of going out you know, dresses and attire to more of the kind of, you know, smart, smart in-wear, you know, the the comfies in the jogging bottoms and all that sort of thing. Apparently that’s taken a bit of a boom as well.
James – Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I’ve been doing my Zoom’s all wrong. Apparently. All you need is one shirt. So, you know, I’ve had that that’s going to have an impact as well.
Simon – Indeed. Well, hey, James, we’re gonna have to leave it. But you have been a fantastic, fantastic guest. We really, really appreciate you know, our first transatlantic guests all the way from Los Angeles. Have you enjoyed it James?
James – Oh very much so. I think you guys are doing something important because without travelling and leaving home or occasionally going to the office, maybe it’s just nice to speak to some, some other people that I don’t do business with everyday.
Simon – Well, we’d love to have you on it’s such a topical thing that’s affecting so many different businesses. So maybe we’ll have you on again in another six months and see how the wheels change. So, so James, thank you for joining us, Matty cracker, and you got away with it pretty good.
Matt – Thanks, Dad. Yeah.
James – [Laughs] My pleasure. My pleasure. You keep working hard, Matthew.
Simon – We’re gonna switch the recording off now and get the real dirt and I’ll see what I can tell people on the next episode. Chaps thank you again. For all of our listeners. Thank you ever so much for keeping tuning in. We hope safe we hope you’re well as ever we’d love to hear your feedback. We’d love to hear your questions. We’d love to comments. And we’d love to get your subscriptions and you can follow us on all the usual podcast vendors. But for now, thanks again for listening and goodbye.
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