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Retailer XXL shares how to improve and grow business with CX data

In January, HappyOrNot had the pleasure of attending NRF’s Virtual event and hosting an incredibly powerful Big Ideas session “How customer experience has become the driving force for businesses to persevere through the pandemic” with Kenneth G. Sørensen, Operating Manager at XXL, the Nordic’s largest sporting goods retailer.

In a year that was volatile for most businesses worldwide, how has XXL managed to achieve excellent quarterly results and how do they plan to continue their success? Here, we’ve summarized four key learnings from this session that retailers can take advantage of for their own operations.

You can also watch this video of the complete session to hear XXL’s in-depth insights.

1. A great culture influences customer loyalty

Noted as the Nordic’s fastest growing sports retailer in 2015XXL decided to leverage this growth in 2017 by expanding to Austria and taking on a specialist role in their industry. However, what XXL saw moving towards 2019 was a decline in customers coming to their stores.  

To avoid the loss in momentum, XXL quickly strategized how to bring customers back. They knew that they had an excellent culture—“we call our customers guests, not customers”and recognized that to continue their growth path they needed to demonstrate to their customers this customer-centric culture 

2. Use CX data to help build culture and growth

To be competitive, grow their market leader status, and build upon the culture, XXL understood that that they needed data which provided the ability to measure and validate their efforts through the satisfaction of their customers–which they had not been previously doing 

XXLs approach was to implement CX program that accounted for both qualitative and quantitative data, across all locations and channels (both in-store and online). This approach ensured that they would capture the maximum amount of feedback from their customers no matter how they shopped with XXL. 

3. Uncover (sometimes unexpected) issues and take action

Even though XXL implemented their CX program during the pandemic, the customer feedback data gave compelling insight that prompted immediate corrective actionsHere are just two examples: 

  1. During the pandemic, XXL assumed that people would be adverse to the terminals being present and had closed them down for a couple of days. However, they were surprised by the resounding customer response for their return, disproving this assumption and solidifying the customer’s demand to share their feedback. Within three months, in the Norwegian stores alone, XXL gathered over 600,000 responses; justifying the terminals’ necessity.
  2. Location comparison data showed that one store had been showing significantly higher than the national average–30% vs. 13%–customer dissatisfaction on the pain point “product availability”. This prompted a discussion with the store manager on the cause and to calculate how much money the store would lose in the next 12 months if they continued as is. The answer was €84,000.

    The realization of the imminent loss of revenue encouraged the store manager to immediately strategize solutions with staff to reduce this pain point, such as offering a substitute product at a reduced price. The result of these actions led the store to perform better than the national average by a percentage point, coming in at just 12%.

4. Give ownership of data to stores and staff

To strengthen the customer-centric culture, building upon the transparency of the data and giving ownership of the data to store managers and staff is crucial. As shown in the second example above, when data is readily shared among the team, between locations, and the company, it encourages an improvement-seeking approach. Additionally, it fosters collaboration on goals and target setting and offers motivation and healthy competition by sharing best practices and celebrating successes. 

Iclosing, Kenneth had this to say: “I think that getting a CX program gives us the opportunity to deliver on our own values within our culture and be one step ahead.” 


About the partnership

XXL, who partnered with HappyOrNot in Q3-2020 to measure customer experience –despite the pandemic—across its locations in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and in the new year, Austria, has been making leaps and bounds in their industry as demonstrated in their Q420 Quarterly Report, by closing Q4 2020 with strong numbers up in Sales, Gross Margin, and EBITDA over 2019. 

Additional resources

To learn how other retailers are using our feedback insights to increase their customer satisfaction and results, we recommend these stories: 

  • Customer experience
  • Retail