Mobile Apps are the Glue Holding eCommerce and Retail Together


Customer experience can make or break how you build your relationship with customers - and gain brand loyalty. Harry Blamire is the Head of Customer Experience at B&Q, setting the strategic direction for digital experience and native apps.

Ahead of the upcoming IRX @ DTX + UCX event on 4-5 October at ExCeL, London, Harry addresses key challenges surrounding loyalty, retention, mobile app operations and more.

1. What is the biggest change you've made to date at B&Q?

I’m proud of the work we’ve done to turbocharge the B&Q app. Three years ago, the app had no dedicated focus or resource, and wasn’t considered a key channel. I have been able to define and deliver through the team all strands of B&Q’s award-winning app growth strategy, which has driven significant revenue participation and YOY growth (+87% over two years). This strategy included defining the roadmap for app product development, engagement, and continual optimisation, fuelled by a data and customer insight-oriented performance mindset. B&Q’s ambition is to be the easiest and most sustainable place to shop for customers’ home improvement needs. We now recognise that we can deliver against this ambition by investing in our app; it’s the glue that brings ecommerce and retail together and allows us to be a truly omnichannel retailer.

2. Retailers often face challenges related to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. How have you addressed these challenges?

The best way for us to address customer satisfaction is to listen to what our customers have to say. We gather feedback and insight from so many sources, from NPS surveys on the web to app store reviews and contact centre verbatim. By addressing our customers’ pain points and issues, no matter the channel, we can overcome c-sat problems across the board.

Meanwhile, loyalty and retention often go hand in hand; we’re proud of our B&Q Club Card proposition, and we know that our Club customers are our most loyal and ‘sticky’ customers. They’re also likely to be our best brand advocates too. So, the job to be done is to continue to attract more of our customers to join the B&Q Club, whilst simultaneously enhancing the loyalty proposition to benefit new and longstanding customers alike.

3. How is customer experience central to your mobile app operations and what feedback have you seen from this?

App needs to be a tailored experience because the users behave and interact differently to mobile web and desktop customers. Our current app experience replicates a lot of m-web experience but customer feedback in app store reviews and in app surveys tell us they expect more native features and a bespoke UI. So we’re currently re-working all of the ‘core’ aspects of our app experience, from homepage to PDP to checkout. And at each stage of our design development, we’re putting prototypes in front of customers to give us genuine, unfiltered feedback so that we develop the best possible UX, UI, features and functionality that we can.

4. What is the most important factor in being Head of Customer Experience?

Being close to the customer. It sounds cliché, but success to me is customers having a friction-free, easy, dare I say enjoyable experience when using our digital platforms. I get my validation from positive NPS scores, customer feedback (good and bad!), and surprising and delighting customers who return again and again to our site, becoming brand advocates as a result of their positive experience. If we can do all that, whilst growing the team’s capability, and having fun too - then that’s success to me.

5. What do you like to do for fun?

I have three passions in my life outside of work: my dogs (Staffie x Lab and a Dalmatian), running and volunteering at Parkrun on Saturday mornings, and bellringing! I’ve been a ‘ringer’ for 25 years and had the privilege of ringing for some key events in our country’s history, such as welcoming in the new Millennium, royal weddings and funerals, as well as the Coronation of King Charles III.

Harry is speaking at IRX @ DTX + UCX on accelerating your mobile app growth through digital experience, engagement and customer-first development on 5th October. Register your free pass now #IRX23

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