Q&A: Trevor Gordon, Global Director of Omni-Channel Retail, Sodexo
An expert at our Digital Retail Transformation Webinar on September 9-10, Trevor Gordon is currently Global Director of Omni-Channel Retail at Sodexo (Sodexo is a Global Services company that operates in 80 countries and serves over 100 million customers a day). He has extensive experience of successfully building and leading teams for Global Brands on both client and agency side. Specialising in the Transformation and Digitalisation of consumer facing businesses in a broad range of sectors including retail, telco, entertainment, and financial services.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have 20 years leadership experience in Retail, Digital, Commercial and Marketing roles. This has included some fantastic brands (Vodafone, Vue Entertainment, Autotrader) on both client and agency, largely in global roles where I have had the pleasure of building and leading high performing teams in some complex international businesses. Recent focus has been on delivering top and bottom-line growth by continually improving the customer experience by developing new propositions, products, solutions, services and business models for the digital age.
Can you describe your current role, and where it sits within the organisation?
My current role is as Director: Global Omni-channel Retail at Sodexo, where I am responsible for leading and executing the Omni-channel Retail strategy for Sodexo. It is a hugely enjoyable role, as it is really varied as omni-channel covers a lot of areas (strategy, digital, CX, proposition, capabilities, martech, data) and I work across many different areas of the business. No day is ever the same!
Can you tell us what your company does?
Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 67 countries, Sodexo serves 100 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services.
What’s special about your company? Is there a particular gap in the market you are trying to address?
While Sodexo is a large global company; it is constantly trying to improve and refine its services. This is through a mixture of encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit through its employees (they are 470,000 employees) and partner with innovate companies and start-ups.
What challenges are retailers facing in 2020 and where do you see UK retail in 2021?
The last year has been undoubtedly the most difficult I have seen in my career as a retailer; where at the turn of the year there was numerous challenges, and these have been magnified & accelerated by the pandemic. While we are seeing some positive signs of a “retail bounce back” with the easing of lockdown and talk that normality is around the corner; but as long as there is social distancing in place, continuing to successfully leverage digital and laser focus on CX is key to help retail stores trade profitably through to 2021.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
The pandemic has increased some trends in consumer behaviour that are very likely to sustain (hyper-local, contactless payment, personalisation); and the companies that embrace these opportunities will give them the best change of long-term success. These days a small retailer can create an online business in a couple of days for a relatively low cost; and we are seeing some fantastic success stories emerging over the last couple of months.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
The key focus for Sodexo is to help our clients and consumers have a safe and successful return to work. Many are simply trying to reclaim familiar routines, while other are seizing the unprecedented opportunity to reimagine what’s possible and embrace new ways to live, work, care and play. During never imagined circumstances imposed by Covid-19, we will help set a positive course for the next normal.
On a personal note, what are the key challenges – and most rewarding aspects – of your role?
The key challenge is that there are never enough hours in the day! And while there are many great aspects of my role, the most rewarding is the interaction and collaboration with my fantastic colleagues. It is the best aspect of my role!
How has your previous retail experience helped you in your current role?
All my previous roles over the last 20 years have been focused on the customer; with a simple mission of providing best in class services, products and experiences. There is always the potential to over complicate things; so, it is always best to keep it simple and ask if what you are doing is going to ultimately improve the overall customer experience.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in retail?
While Retail is going through a challenging time, if you are looking for an industry that is exciting, constantly evolving, innovative and you have an interest in being customer obsessive than look to progress a career in Retail. Being open to opportunity is important, while also taking responsibility for your own development. No one will do it for you!
If you’d like to hear more from Trevor, register for our Digital Retail Transformation Webinar on September 9-10.
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