Engaging with staff is essential to succeed in meeting customers’ needs, said a panel of leading retailers at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona last week.
“The secret source of Best Buy is in its 180,000 employees,” said Best Buy International CEO Bob Willett in a session on the rise of customer centric retailing, a philosophy that puts customer analysis and understanding at the very heart of the business.
Willett commented that Best Buy encourages its staff to be entrepreneurial at each individual location to ensure that their customer needs are met. 
“They know what the problems are and what the solution is,” he said.
Inditex chief communications officer Jesus Echevarria agreed, and echoed that customer-centricity is “at the heart of everything” that Inditex does.
He added that staff’s participation in its unique logistics structure is essential to its unrivalled success.
Inditex is able to replenish stock globally within 48 to 72 hours thanks to its modeling systems. Store staff initiate the re-stocking process and create the right image of stock depth in stores, removing customer frustrations.
In a note of caution, Willett warned that retailers should not go down the customer-centricity route unless they align everything they do and look at it “holistically”, including segmentation of profit and loss by customer lifestyle and not by buying groups.
He concluded that all retailers and manufacturers should work together to “remove the frustrations of the customer”, adding “for those that don’t change, they will go the way of the dinosaur and frankly they deserve it”.