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Customer Focus - David Kohn Snow+Rock

David has been talking to us about life at ‘Snow+Rock’ – the country’s leading specialist winter sports and outdoor retailer, his business philosophy and that lunch date with Roger Federer.  

What is your name and what do you do?
David Kohn, Multichannel Director for Snow+Rock Group

Where do you work and what does your company do?
Snow+Rock is the country’s leading specialist winter sports and outdoor retailer with three retail fascias – Snow+Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need.  Our purpose is to be ‘the absolute authority on product and advice’ and we target people who are passionate about the sports we do and love.  We’re a true multichannel business with over 80 stores across the country and a thriving e-commerce business.

What was your first ever e-commerce/digital job?
I’ve worked in retail now for 25 years, having started in business strategy and planning, moved on to commercial management and latterly into digital.  My first digital experience was with WH Smith Online where I was parachuted in as Commercial Director.  It’s something of a coincidence that WH Smith are now a fellow customer of BT Expedite.

Describe a typical day in the life of David
We have three principal priorities at all times … driving more (and more profitable) customer traffic;  improving the customer experience to increase conversion;  and delivering the best possible standards of customer service.  I spend much of my time analysing our performance in each of these areas and working with my team and my suppliers – including BT Expedite – to identify actions that will produce a better result.  And, of course, I spend a lot of time saying ‘no’ to the myriad of prospective suppliers offering the next big thing.

What are you currently working on?
We always have a range of initiatives on the go at any time.  Some of the key ones right now:

·         We’re just about to implement Live Chat onto our sites so we can offer live expert advice to our customers.

·         We’re investing in A/B testing technology to allow us to run more conversion rate optimisation tests.

·         We’re trialling a behavioural psychology based personalisation tool.

·         We’re working with BT Expedite to enable product badging on the site.

What is your business philosophy?
Focus on the things that make a difference.

Who in the e-commerce/digital world do you most admire and why?
You can’t look any further than Amazon.  Almost every innovation in e-commerce has either come from Amazon or been influenced by them.  Amazon Marketplace is a genius idea – you provide a platform on which retailers kill themselves to offer the best price and the best service to customers, in return for which you take most of the profit and keep all the customer details.  Brilliant.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Aside from not running with scissors, in a negotiation training course I was taught that ‘winning the argument’ was rarely the route to the best result.  Always try and get people on side, and never tell them they’re wrong, even when they are.

What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing – I sleep like a log.

What are your aims and goals for 2015?
We’ve managed to treble the size of the Snow+Rock e-commerce business over the past three years and our five year plan calls for continued growth.  Specifically, I want us to better (and measurably) deliver our purpose of being the absolute authority for product and advice.

Lastly and just for fun… if you could choose to have lunch with anyone who would it be and why?
I’m a massive sports fan and most of my heroes are sports people.  I spent several years in the book industry and was lucky enough to dine with many of my all-time heroes including Viv Richards, Gareth Edwards, Garry Sobers, Brian Clough and David ‘Spike’ Armstrong (Boro legend).  If I were to meet Roger Federer, however, I would be totally star struck.  Now that man truly is a genius.