Anthony Heraghty – General Manager Leisure Retailing, Super Retail Group

Retailers can no longer rely on convenience, range and price for competitive advantage because these levers have been dislodged and disarmed by digital disrupters like Amazon. Defending a category against global behemoths requires a much more customer-centric strategy, where convenience range and price are supercharged by inspiration, experience and solutions.

As the Managing Director of the Leisure Division at Super Retail Group, Anthony Heraghty looks after BCF – a Boating Camping Fishing brand that has amplified its engagement with customers in  these 3 areas. The inspiration piece is about connecting with customers at an emotional and not just rational level. For example, BCF are dropping fallen trees into waterways to create fishing habitats and improve the local fishing experience, leading to an unprecedented level of engagement with fishing customers and one that is driven by a common passion: fishing!

The second experience pillar of the BCF approach is about creating a superior customer experience through expertise. Staff training has been expanded beyond the limits of ‘product knowledge’ to the realms of ‘activity knowledge’ where staff acquire expert level accreditation in the sport of fishing itself. Staff then also organise activities to support and build a passionate local fishing community.

Another example in the superior customer experience category is BCF’s high value member recovery programme. High value customers who submit low net promoter scores following a less-than-optimal BCF experience are sent BCF-branded beer as a way of apologising and saying thank you for the feedback, which is then acted upon.

The final component of the enlarged BCF value prop is thinking laterally about potential customer solutions. This thinking led to the development of an unbranded app that functions as ‘Facebook for Fishos’! The platform presents information relevant to the fishing community and offers local information about weather forecasts, tides, species locations, catch recording and more. With more than 25,000 members, Fishos is starting to provide BCF with really granular insights about customer preferences and behaviour.

In short, the strategy is emotional connection at scale, based on a shared passion.