The iconic LEGO brand has been a part of the legacy of just about all of our childhoods–and according to Simone Sweeney, Vice President Global Retail Development at the LEGO Group, the already popular LEGO has seen a resurgence as families spent more time together during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In my recent conversation with Simone Sweeney (recorded as a LinkedIn Live), we discuss how she and her team are navigating the current retail landscape due to the shift in shopping behaviors. We also explore what impact the shift in E-commerce behavior has had on their customer experience and strategy.
I encourage you all to listen as we talk through the importance of good leadership, gathering feedback, and understanding and empathizing with consumers. Particularly, this is an incredibly valuable conversation for all of the leaders who manage global accounts and organizations.
Leading Through a Rapidly Changing Retail Landscape
While facing the unexpected challenges of navigating the retail sector during the pandemic, Simone shares that LEGO’s e-commerce shopping drastically increased. As stores around the world closed, Simone and her team pivoted to focusing on commerce logistics at their shipping centers while also ensuring a smooth digital experience for customers shopping worldwide.
“Our e-commerce opportunities were absolutely vital to us and saw a huge demand increase through lego.com, many times more than we would see on even our busiest days. As well as all of our partners around the world reporting the same. We did see through COVID, that a lot of families, adults and many new LEGO fans were turning to LEGO as something to do,” says Simone.
Once stores started opening up again, Simone mentions that they noticed a change in shopping behaviors, stating, “We also saw that people’s shopping missions became very mindful. So rather than a whole family returning when we opened, we had single shoppers who knew which products they wanted, they wanted to get that particular LEGO City set, and that they had a passion behind a particular product.”
With the change in these behaviors, Simone and her team realized that they would need to spend even more time understanding the psyche of the shopper and creating in-store experiences that continued to foster a creative environment, while also being safe for the customer to shop.
Have you noticed a shift in consumer behavior in your brick and mortar stores? Simone Sweeney of @LEGO_Group speaks on the importance of continued consumer research during the shifting retail landscape. #CX #leadership Click To Tweet
CX Metrics in the “New Normal” and Digital Transformation
When it comes to measuring new CX metrics during this digital transformation for a company that’s heavily invested in the brick-and-mortar space, Simone mentions that retailer and customer feedback is critical. She tells us, “You need to be asking the right questions.” The brand wants to know if customers got what they came for in the retail stores and if not, how can LEGO help them?
She also says that they ask, “What are we good at doing when you were going through the process?” Simone reminds us that it’s important to know what’s working well.
Simone believes that the LEGO team need to understand the customer and empathize with their needs. This thinking is “at the core of customer experience.” And for a company that has such a global reach, you need to conduct relevant research across your various markets.
“You need to be doing in a consistent way with those cultural nuances spoken for, and that needs to speak towards the nuances of that market in terms of maturity of brand awareness, in terms of the experience you can offer. But also, the very practical cultural nuances of the way different markets consume products and respond to marketing. Asking the question, in a relevant and resonant way is absolutely crucial,” says Simone.
When it comes to collecting feedback, Simone mentions that LEGO does a great job of crowdsourcing information and listening to the voices on social media. They also have communities of shoppers that they’re able to connect with around the world and tap into. “You need to be asking questions everywhere because the answer you get from market to market–as we all can, of course, empathize with–is incredibly different.”
When it comes to collecting feedback, Simone mentions that LEGO does a great job of crowdsourcing information and listening to the voices on social media. -- Simone Sweeney, @LEGO_Group #CX #leadership Click To Tweet
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I think what I wish I knew then–and I wonder to what degree I knew it, but I didn’t have the experience and the confidence to apply it is–to find your voice and to use it. And there usually isn’t a right or wrong, there’s usually some kind of a complex, nuanced response to any given opportunity or challenge. Often, the best ideas are the ones that people are a bit afraid to voice because they are different. I’ve been fortunate in my career and with the companies I’ve worked for, and the teams I’ve worked within, is to experience that having a voice and the ability to use, has always been encouraged and celebrated.”
About Simone SweeneySimone Sweeney is Vice President, Global Retail Development for the LEGO Group. Simone joined LEGO in 2015, to help engage more children through play in retail channels. Prior to LEGO Simone was at Apple Retail, driving in-store experience as Marketing Director, EMEA.
Simone’s work in retail and marketing has taken her around the world and she enjoys developing new and innovative ways to inspire the future generation of LEGO builders.
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