We interviewed our members to hear their insights and adventures in the retail world. Meet Chris Marks, Head of HR of Swarovski.
How long have you been in retail?/How did your retail career begin?
I had worked in customer service roles throughout my school and university years. It was only as my HR career developed that I was first introduced to retail and found it an industry that I really enjoyed: the fast pace, the operations, the products, the store but ultimately the people. After working in retail early on in my career for 5 years, I went to explore other industries but always wanted to return. I am very excited to be back in retail again having been with Swarovski for 2 and a half years
What is the biggest challenge working in retail and in your opinion what steps to overcome this challenge are.
The biggest challenge of retail is also one of my major motivators, and that is the constant change. What you did yesterday may not make sense in today’s environment. But with that comes the opportunity to make exciting changes to the way you do things and are able to bring to life innovative ideas.
How do you keep your team motivated?
I am fortunate to work with a great group of people who are passionate, dedicated and are truly driven to achieve a great outcome for the business. Every day is busy but we always take time out to talk, grab a coffee and have a laugh (the most important) which helps in maintaining the motivation. But also working in an environment with a high degree of trust, collaboration, flexibility and allowing each other the opportunity to express and action new ideas.
Retail is a very competitive industry – How do you stay current and what trends are you focusing on at present and why?
It is important that no matter what you do, that the customer is kept at the forefront. Staying current is keeping in touch with the customer. Ultimately we are all customers. In each purchase I make or interaction I have with a brand, I think about what worked and didn’t work. Each touch point becomes a comparison exercise and a benchmark on what we do as a retailer.
Where do you see the future of retail?
Clearly the landscape has changed, and digital has been quite influence to that. But I think there will always be a place for ‘bricks and mortar’ retail stores and I see this being where the biggest changes and opportunities lie. Whether it is in how the customer pays for the item, how they interact with the product, how the store team engage with the customer – retailers will need to review and adapt the way they physically engage with customer in order to remain relevant.
Would you like to share your retail insights? We’d love to hear you! Please contact [email protected] to learn more about our interviews and how to get involved.