How Winning Group continues to lead in online retail
Winning by name, winning by nature – that’s the story of 116-year-old Australian retailer Winning Group. The family-owned business’ subsidiary brand, Appliances Online, has again been crowned Australia’s Best Online Retailer and now has its sights set on improving its sustainability performance.
Appliances Online took top honours at Australia Post’s Online Retail Industry Awards (Orias) recently, an achievement CEO John Winning credits to the company’s dedicated focus on customer service.
“Customer service is at the heart of our business,” Winning says. “Many businesses say this, but we literally put our customers first in each decision we make as a company, to achieve our mission to create the best experiences in the world, for the world. We view customer satisfaction as being just as important as the financials.”
The strategy is proving immensely fruitful for the company. In addition to successfully defending its title, Appliances Online walked away with wins in three other categories:
- Customer Service Excellence
- Best Pureplay Retailer
- Best Multichannel Retailer
The company was also named Best Online Shop for Electronics in a survey of 5000 customers conducted by consumer comparison site Choice. These successes come at a time of heightened online retail activity following the pandemic. In August alone, 5.5 million households made purchases online and data from Australia Post points to steady e-commerce sales in coming months. IbisWorld says the online shopping market in Australia this year is worth $52.7 billion.
Sustainability new focus for Winning Group
Not content to rest on his laurels, Winning has firmly set his sights on continued improvements. Central to these plans is the business’ new company mission, launched last year, which adds tackling sustainability across the group’s businesses as its focus.
These initiatives are already proving popular with customers, with reviews for Appliances Online highlighting both the customer service experience and positive contribution to the environment.
Appliances Online and Winning Group’s Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – which measure how likely customers are to recommend a business to friends and family – appear to have benefitted already.
In June, Appliances Online’s NPS sat at 82 out of a possible 100 with Winning Group not far behind at 71. Both scores sit well above the average retailer NPS of 41.
The company is only at the start of its sustainability journey, says Winning, and will continue to make improvements.
“Winning Group’s mission is to provide the best experiences in the world, for the world – for our customers, our people, our communities and the planet,” he says.
“Over the next 10 years we will transform the way we operate with, and within, our ecosystem to create a positive impact on people and the planet. We acknowledge that we are at the start of a long journey, however we are committed to continuous improvement to work in partnership with our ecosystem to achieve our goals.”
As part of this, the company has set itself several ambitious targets for 2025, including:
- Achieving net zero operational emissions (scope 1 and 2).
- Ensuring 100 per cent of packaging used by the business is recyclable.
- Diverting waste from landfill.
- Embedding indigenous reconciliation, inclusion and diversity principles into business processes.
A bankable partnership
Winning said the Group’s partnership with CommBank has been a key driver of its recent success.
“The Commonwealth Bank is our true partner in our business. It is integral to us achieving our company mission and helping us to grow,” he said.
“The bank provides us with market guidance at a macro level and is aware of our plans for the future. Through its support and understanding of our vision, we continue to be agile and to innovate, to create the best experiences in the world – for the world.”
Brynie Hall, relationship executive for CommBank’s major client group, described Winning Group as a standout online organisation. The partnership between the two businesses began during the pandemic when Winning Group switched banking providers for the first time in 115 years.
“Online sales really skyrocketed through 2019 and onwards. People were forced to buy online and the group really embraced that,” Hall says. “We were able to give Winning Group a lot of headroom in its working capital facilities to help manage that growth, enabling it to continue buying more stock to meet the demand in sales.”
Hall says CommBank is working with several other business clients on similar strategies as a way to hedge against inflation and supply chain complications that have emerged over the past year.
The Winning formula
Winning Group’s John Winning shares his three steps to success:
- A good retailer is not only defined by when things go right but also by how it handles things going wrong.
- Place customer service at the heart of every decision you make.
- Consider the customer’s whole journey from the minute they land on your website and step foot inside your store, until well after they receive their product.
CommBank is dedicated to supporting Australian retailers to achieve their vision. For more information on how we can help your business visit www.commbank.com.au/retailers
1 Australia Post, ‘Inside Australian Online Shopping eCommerce Update’, August 2022 edition.
2 IBISWorld, https://www.ibisworld.com/au/market-size/online-shopping/
3 Experience benchmarks, ‘Guide To NPS In Retail and 47 NPDS Benchmarks For Retail In 2022’,
CustomerGauge, N.D., accessed 21 September 2022
Things you should know:
The information and statistics in this article have been obtained from Winning Group. The Bank believes that the information in this article is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the article.
Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth are subject to change without notice. The Commonwealth Bank does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of the article.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL 234945
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