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Introducing Ros Wells: Managing Partner for Retail & Leisure
Last month Ros Wells became the Managing Partner for Retail & Leisure in O2’s Private Sector team. Working for O2 since 2013, her previous roles include looking after various private sector accounts including retail. This has given her first-hand experience and an awareness of the changing nature of the industry and evolving expectations of customers.
We asked Ros a few questions concerning the Retail & Leisure industry and what experience she will be bringing to the role:
Tell me a bit about your career background, any particular highlights?
I started my career in the British Army working my way up to Lieutenant ranking which I think has prepared me for some particularly challenging situations! I actually began my corporate career at O2 before leaving to gain experience in the wider telecommunications industry only to come back to O2 in 2013.
My last role was as a Client Director within the Retail & Leisure practice and for me the highlight was, and I think always will be, seeing the digital evolution our customers go through when we work closely with them to meet their objectives. I have lived and breathed this in my last role and now feel ready to lead the team to help many more customers achieve the same, if not more.
What do you enjoy about working in the Retail Industry?
I would argue that Retail is one of the most fast paced industries out there. No two days are the same and digital is really driving the change so we need to support retailers in keeping up. It also strikes me as a very collaborative industry where individuals and businesses are willing to share insights into what works and what doesn’t and I really value this approach.
And of course, I love shopping and I’m a bit of a fitness fanatic so being able to work with some of my favourite brands to improve their customer experience, which I will also benefit from, is hugely exciting and rewarding.
What is your view of the opportunities and challenges facing the Retail Industry?
I think this comes back to my previous comment about the rate of change – if they stand still, they will miss it and miss out. However, it’s a hard task to get the balance right between digital and physical because even though people crave interactivity, personalisation and engagement it doesn’t necessarily mean it all has to be digitised. O2 works hard to empower employees with the tools they need to be as knowledgeable as a Google search so the online and offline spaces are increasingly blurred.
Another challenge retailers are facing is how to truly understand their customers – if you don’t get to know and understand them, someone else will. But how do you communicate with them? How often? What do you say? What do they want to know? We are helping turn this into an opportunity by providing not only the insight, but also suggestions on what to do with it. And as digital continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, now is the time to act.
Why O2 for Retail?
Empathy plays a big part in this as we’re a retailer ourselves so we are facing similar issues and are embarking on a similar digital journey. We have over 24 million customers and over 450 retail stores so we have experienced many of the trials both small and larger retailers have been through or are currently grappling with.
But what really helps us differentiate is our strong partnerships and focus on innovation. In particular, our Wayra initiative that supports start-up companies who are agile and forward thinking, looking beyond the here and now. With partnerships like these across our businesses and with external market leaders we can help our customers prepare for the future.