Samsung: Delivering an end to end Omni-channel experience
As part of our 10 opinions for 2021 campaign we interviewed Eamonn Grant, now Head of COE Central & Eastern Europe at Samsung Electronics. Samsung Electronics is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, they are transforming the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. Samsung is also leading in the Internet of Things space through, among others, their Smart Home and Digital Health initiatives.
Talking about digital, what was your biggest challenge in 2020? If there were no challenges, what were your biggest learnings?
Adapting was the biggest challenge and simultaneously, the biggest learning for us in 2020.
In the space of three weeks in March, online went from a small percentage of sales to a big percentage, with no real understanding of where it would go from there. We have been continuously changing since to get to where we find ourselves now. It has been a challenge but also a huge opportunity; remote working meant I went from flying internationally every week to working by the seaside in Wexford for the first lockdown. This should have been a challenge, but it wasn’t. It took time to figure out our new dynamics, but we got really good at it, really quickly. A big thank you to all the broadband providers for doing the same for all of us working from home.
From a technical back-end perspective, we had committed to moving to a new platform in 2020. Despite the exponential growth and constantly changing conditions, we followed through with the move (never an easy thing at the best of times but with the volumes we were seeing in sales, this was extra tricky). We are delighted we did and what we have now will enable us to continue to serve our customers into the future.
In house installation is also something that we launched in March with Samsung, where we now deliver and install our appliances for our customers. This was quickly shut down and became a challenge to restart. Thankfully, we came across Phillip and his team from Installer.ie who we partnered with, and we can now provide a best-in-class installation service nationwide for our customers, which is completely unique in the market.
Where you are now, what do you think 2021 holds for you? In other words, what will your focus for 2021 be in terms of digital.
2021 is all about maintaining the e-commerce gains that we have made as a result of what has happened in 2020. There is a huge amount we can learn about how our business operates in an online and offline world. One of our key focus areas will be to expand our plan of bringing expertise online. We see a huge opportunity here to close some of the gaps that once seemed impossible from offline to online. 2021 is truly about delivering a really clear Omni-channel experience end to end. The experience you have dealing with a brand like Samsung will be the way you expect it to be, no matter how the customer wishes to engage. Whether understanding the benefits of QLED or troubleshooting a problem, the customer can do this from the comfort of home. There are dozens of new touch points and ways of engaging that were never properly considered before and I don’t believe they will disappear when things do return to normal.
What company/companies inspire you in terms of their digital achievements? Why do you find it inspiring, and what initiatives do they do?
There are 3 huge inspirational stories this year and none of them are about a website, which in itself is a new learning…
- The Fulfillment companies. 12 months ago, several of the fulfillment companies imploded under the pressure that was dropped on them by the new and unexpected volume that Amazon and the general shift to online brought. It was a disaster. That feels like 10 years ago now. The fulfillment partners here have been unbelievable, I am absolutely blown away by how they have all managed to step up to this incredible scale up.
- The grocery sector has delivered 10 years of digital maturity in 9 months and they have gone above and beyond for their communities through their grocery apps this year. To see the growth they experienced, with the logistics involved behind the scenes is nothing short of amazing. Having worked in the grocery space for several years, I understand what hyper growth looks like and the challenges that brings with it.
- However, the heroes in my view are Nearform, the Waterford based company building COVID Tracing apps for the world. What they achieved in 12 months is nothing short of a complete commercial slam dunk. From the perspective of the pandemic, they have saved lives all over the world as a result of what they have built. If the Net Visionary Award was to be awarded to anyone this year it would be everyone in Nearform. They should be immensely proud.
Overall, I think the entire industry, everyone in the online space, has felt a sense of pride this year. Pride to be able to be taken more seriously, to be able to contribute more commercially (and profitably). My sense is that companies up and down the island of Ireland “get it” now and whilst conversion might drop a bit and traffic might fall off when retail opens, that sense of understanding of everyone from the CEO to the 85-year-old Gran who is cocooning, who now uses a Samsung phone to order her shopping online, gets “Online”. To be that is hugely inspiring and very exciting.
Read about Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin Airport, Ibec or learn more about the other opinions by downloading our report.
Are you looking for a full digital platform with end to end experience? Get in touch today.