Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

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

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20 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse FEATURE "We will continue to innovate and integrate some of our pandemic learnings into post-pandemic operations." Lorraine Kuska, Holt Renfrew the legal department crafted a reopening plan specific to each jurisdiction, taking the time to navigate nuances around dates, timing, capacity restrictions and mask mandates, and keeping abreast of health and safety requirements. Shopping has become more intentional during the pandemic, with Indigo customers more purposeful and less inclined to browse. "That is a significant change in customer behaviour, and it remains to be seen if it's a temporary trend or a permanent, sustainable trend," says Damien Liddle, SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary at Indigo. The team at Indigo will continue to monitor trends and analyze evolving shopper habits to ensure they are reaching customers through all possible channels. "At Indigo, we have always prided ourselves on that in-store experience, so it's an open question about how in-person events will play out in the future as people determine their comfort level with spending time in-store," says Liddle. "How we serve our customers is going to have to evolve as their expectations change coming out of this pandemic." Best Buy has seen customers taking advantage of the omnichannel shopping experience more than ever since stores reopened. The retailer prides itself on its ability to provide a frictionless experience between online and offline shopping. "Customers might start off online, pop into a store to view and talk to a Blue Shirt, go back online to check pricing, and then order delivery to their own homes," says Gouglas. "The omnichannel experience that was happening before the pandemic has really accelerated." Although e-commerce is booming, Gouglas is confident that customers will continue to visit stores, so the retailer will continue to develop innovative ways to evolve in-store displays and invest heavily in training its Blue Shirt and Geek Squad employees. MEC has seen a significant increase in online sales over the past year, so Lau expects this trend to continue. "Our mission is to inspire and enable everyone to lead an active outdoor lifestyle, so we will continue to do so by providing our members an immersive omnichannel experience," says Lau. Holt Renfrew has also seen a tremendous pivot to online shopping over the past 18 months. Hence, the luxury retailer leveraged the online platform to engage with customers by hosting national virtual events. "These virtual events allowed us to accom- modate our customers in different time zones and in cities where we do not have a physical presence," says Lorraine Kuska, general counsel and corporate secretary at Holt Renfrew. The pandemic also provided the opportunity to leverage different tools such as a "Salesfloor" app to offer personalized service to customers remotely. "We will continue to innovate and integrate some of our pandemic learnings into post-pandemic operations," says Kuska. Kuska believes online shopping will continue to co-exist very well with brick-and- mortar shopping, so Holt Renfrew will continue to engage customers through in-store experiences and personalized, face-to-face service, as well as through the online platform. "If I had to find a silver lining resulting from the pandemic, I would say that it provided a tremendous learning experience for my team as we rolled with the punches and flexed our resiliency muscles," says Kuska.

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