To open day two of its annual conference, E&S welcomed lululemon managing director, Paul Tinkler as a guest speaker.

Tinkler spoke to the lululemon culture that is centred around empowering its people, the educators (sales associates) and its guests (customers), offering a consistent and scalable journey that is the same across all channels and delivers a personalised and seamless experience.  

This was followed by a business review presented by E&S chief financial officer, Donald Blanksby.  

He reflected on the last two years including managing the varying Melbourne lockdowns and finding new ways of doing business including an increased investment in marketing and expanding delivery capacity with more trucks on the road.

“The business we have today is nothing like what we presented at our 2020 conference. We thought we were good then and we were proud of what we had done but the level of integration, particularly with the website then and what it is now,” he said.

E&S general manager for finance and support services, Adam White and E&S customer support manager, Andrew Blake then spoke to leveraging customer service to enable growth through delivering ‘the E&S feeling’.

Blake detailed the customer support process from visiting a store to delivering the product and the various means of communication to keep the customer informed.

White further expanded on this, explaining the ongoing contact from the warehouse, offering free installation and taking away old appliances, and achieving a well-above average Net Promoter Score (NPS) by always ‘making it right’ for the customer, no matter the situation.

Retail operations, training and recruitment were topics delivered on by E&S general manager of talent and wellbeing, Nicola Crocco, training manager, Melissa Sciberras and general manager of operations, Mark Tragear.

Crocco shared her talent strategy including how E&S puts people first, why they are the heartbeat of the business, the company’s employee value proposition (EVP) and plans to implement initiatives that support social, emotional and physical health, recognising the importance of wellness. “I believe that holistically supported and engaged training to develop people who are well recognised and rewarded will bring their best to the business.”

Sciberras explained the three key pillars in her role – the E&S induction program, online learning and upskilling existing employees. “You can teach sales strategies, product knowledge and how to be organised, but you can’t teach how to genuinely have an interest in wanting to provide an amazing service to customers – that needs to come from within.”

Tragear elaborated on the way E&S makes its people feel valued, including its customers to create brand ambassadors for life. “For example, a customer buys a 7kg washing machine and one week in they do their bedding from a king size bed and realise the linen doesn’t fit. So do we leave them with a washing machine for 15 years that they will regret purchasing? No, they paid the difference for a 10kg model and we delivered it.”

E&S general manager of merchandise and marketing, Peter Barry and merchandise manager, Mat Steenvoorden then took to the stage.

Barry talked about inventory planning to support sales and marketing campaigns, price and range management and making the process more efficient and effective. “We are always looking for new and exciting content for our marketing and website to implement new standards of presentation and help grow sales.”

Barry also discussed the Modern Slavery Initiative industry working group established by Narta, of which E&S is a member. “It’s important to recognise that consumers are making purchases based on a brand’s social, ethical and environmental values and it will form part of our decision making as we look at product ranges moving forward.”

Steenvoorden spoke to the importance of merchandising when it comes to delivering improved sales results and managing supply chain challenges.

“Last year, we restructured our team to bring a broader diversity of skill sets from planning and admin support to execution. For our supplier partners, it means more points of contact and the ability to build even stronger relationships.”

The presentations were wrapped up with closing remarks from E&S managing director, Rob Sinclair reflecting on the key takeaways from the two-day conference.

Attendees then came together for a gala dinner in the Park Hyatt Ballroom to celebrate E&S’ 60-year anniversary with a three-course menu expertly selected by Melbourne chef, Adam D’Sylva, prepared in partnership with Park Hyatt executive chef, Sandeep Bhagwat.