Canadian Lawyer InHouse

April/May 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 33 "We dedicate a lot of resources to security and privacy," says MacLean. "We need to use data in a way that allows us to interact appro- priately with customers and establish trust. We have to allow customers to control how data is being used and effective governance creates the framework for establishing that trust." Omnichannel The future of retail has seen a shift to an om- nichannel experience. E-commerce continues to grow at an exponential rate, so retailers are competing to create a seamless experience across all platforms. "The biggest thing the internet has given customers is an infinite choice of products and knowledge," says Chris Gouglas, vice president, legal services and procurement at Best Buy Canada Ltd. "Buying a product is no longer a linear, straightforward experience." Best Buy is known for its pioneering strategies, as the first retailer in Canada to launch the "reserve online, pick up in store" service and the first to offer online marketplace, a virtual shopping mall through which multiple sellers can offer their products on Best Buy's website. "It's important for Best Buy to lead the way in Canada in the omnichannel experi- ence by offering different ways for customers to interact with us so we are continually evolving to provide the best customer expe- rience wherever they join us in their journey," says Gouglas. Best Buy offers product re- views online, and expert advisors are present need to know, and the most successful ones go out and work within that landscape and still provide the counter party what they need in an innovative way." London Drugs has recently begun experi- menting with different-sized store footprints. The retailer is trying out smaller-footprint stores including 20,000- and 5,000-square- foot models. "We're actively experimenting with different sizes to make sense of the economic reality, and also this approach will allow us to create a presence at a lot of locations where we would otherwise not be able to serve customers, such as urban locations," says MacLean. Privacy Privacy and governance are critical concerns when it comes to collecting and using consum- er data as the financial and reputational conse- quences of a data breach can be enormous. "Retailers are collecting data for loyalty programs and customers are receiving notifi- cations on their phones about events and pro- motions as they walk into malls," says Miranda Lam, litigation partner and retail sector lead at McCarthy T├ętrault LLP. "All these things are very exciting from an experiential perspective but have some interesting implications when it comes to privacy protection, data use and data governance." London Drugs makes use of third-party service providers to test the retailer's rigorous privacy mechanisms. instore, together with maintenance service Geek Squad. Sustainability With an increased consumer awareness of the global climate crisis, retailers are focusing on sustainability initiatives more than ever before. Many retailers are reducing packaging and using more recyclable materials. Others are introducing new brands with a sustainability focus. "If you're thinking long term, then [environ- mental, social and governance] considerations are absolutely vital for retailers," says McGilvray. "A lot of companies are still getting attuned to that and figuring out how to focus on sustain- ability while still producing good profits." Herschel established a sister brand in 2015 called Parkland that focuses on sustainability by making bags and accessories entirely out of recycled water bottles, while Best Buy's efforts include launching a cross-functional "green team" that meets to brainstorm ideas for being more environmentally responsible by reducing energy use and waste production. "Legal is a part of the solution, but sus- tainability requires input from all areas of the business and all levels," says Gouglas who co-chairs the team. "As a general rule," says Lam, "customers are asking more about where things came from and how they got to the shelf. Retailers need to be mindful of where they are sourcing goods and how they are being packaged."

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