A year in the life of helping retailers thrive not survive
15 JANUARY 2018
The past year has been a fantastic year for Close Brothers Retail Finance (CBRF), the team and our great partner retailers. We were presented with some incredible opportunities, formed many great retailer partnerships, learned valuable lessons and overcame many hurdles and challenges in our challenge to help retailer thrive and not just survive in the challenging market.
Here are some of the highlights:
Launch of AnalyticsAccelerator
A year ago, we started with a bang and launched CBRF’s unique data and insight tool! This has enabled retailers to gain customer conversion insights and deep dive into customer spend analysis whilst presenting it in a dynamic engaging way. The tool allows for greater consumer segmentation through highly complex analysis, and provides insight that allows retailers to translate data into commercial advantage, identifying new target markets and the ideal finance customer. See how AnalyticsAccelerator helped Hargroves Cycles ride away from the competition: https://www.closeretailfinance.co.uk/hargroves-cycles
Supporting our retail partners
It was a pleasure to attend The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2017 with our partners: PJ Camping and Glossop Caravans. The event hosts the biggest indoor display of motorhomes, campervans, caravans, caravan holiday homes & lodges, trailer tents & tents in the UK. Bring on the 2018 show!
We joined Calumet at The Photography Show 2017 – four days at Birmingham’s NEC full to the brim with everything a passionate photography enthusiast or a well-seasoned professional photographer could possibly dream of; the latest technology, demos of the latest kit, conference sessions and a complete range of talks and seminars. A great experience to get out in the field and work side-by-side with an excellent team! We're now looking forward to The Photography Show 2018 in March!
Here’s a look back at a great weekend at Motorcycle Live 2017 – the UK's largest bike show – with one of our Senior Relationship Managers, Charlene Gibson, and the team at Infinity Motorcycles. An enjoyable event and brilliant team to work with!
In March, our MD – Alex Marsh – was interviewed by realbusiness.co.uk where he shared his expertise and insight on the changing behaviour towards payment methods and the growing expectations of consumers. Alex stressed the importance of retailers having an online presence and that we will soon reach the time when customers will simply assume they can pay by finance and it will feel “alien” not to be given the option. One year on and attitude towards credit and payment behaviours are continuing to shift towards spreading the cost using fixed term credit.
Professional Sales Award Win!
In May, we won our first award of the year! We were nominated for ‘Account Management Team of the Year’ at the Professional Sales Awards 2017 and presented to a panel of judges explaining why we think our team is exceptional. The competition was fierce but we won for the outstanding service we deliver daily to our retailers which allows them to unlock growth and increase conversion, spend and customer loyalty through the use of finance.
The judges said: “Great example of putting the customer first through building a strong team with valuable expertise. Very dynamic team, clearly well set up and led.”
Financial Services: ‘Team of the Year’
Being recognised for Team of the Year was a huge achievement! The award officially recognised CBRF as the experts in what we do and offers clear proof that we’re adding value and unlocking growth for our retailers and their customers as well as recognising the hard work our team puts in every day to ensure we deliver the best service and experience.
The judges said: “Customer insight, very impressive. Strong KPIs on business impact, clear plans for growth. Bringing new ways of working to life, helping aspiring business in the new digital age grow, and make a difference. Also giving back to the community, well done.”
The launch of CBRF 20:20 – Incredible fundraising focus for Jigsaw4u
July marked the start of our 100 day super-charged challenge to raise £20,000 for our local charity partner Jigsaw4u - £1,000 to celebrate each of the 20 years they've been helping young children put the pieces back together after bereavement, domestic abuse & sexual exploitation.
Over the 100 days the whole team got involved in a range of activities! Thank you to our retailers and business neighbours for donating items for our silent auction, taking on the Thames Path Challenge and London’s Orbit abseil with us, creating wonderful bakes to sell and joining us for a wonderful fundraising evening at City Hall with Dame Kelly Holmes as our inspirational speaker. This challenge brought our team, retailers, partners & local community together - but most importantly, raised a substantial amount of money (we absolutely smashed it and raised £40,000 – double our target!) which will make a huge difference to the invaluable work of Jigsaw4u.
City Hall Event – Kelly Holmes
In September, celebrating our supercharged CBRF 20:20 initiative to raise £20,000 for Jigsaw4u, we had the privilege of hosting an evening of fundraising with double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes at City Hall. It was amazing to hear her motivational stories - an exceptional yet down to earth role model for mental & physical resilience, teamwork & unwavering determination to achieve her dreams. An inspirational night we will never forget.
Thames Path Challenge
Our charity walk team consisted of representatives from Premium Finance, Asset Finance, Retail Finance and Bank Central Functions who walked alongside our retailers and partners to take on the 25km, 50km or 100km challenge along the River Thames.
The team showed their drive, commitment and resilience to complete this incredible challenge. Don’t underestimate how tough it was to walk through sun, rain and mud for hours on end in the quest to complete this ultra-marathon. Everyone battled blisters, tired legs, exhaustion and fatigue to make it to 50km, with Mike Morris and Paul Hutchins from the CBRF sales team making a monumental effort to complete the 100km in 28 hours! That’s some serious walking! There’s always one who tries to make it look easy though with our very own Alex Marsh completing the 50km in a staggering 5 hours – coming 6th out of all who entered! An incredible feat!
Orbit and End of CBRF 20:20
In October, 13 of our brave Close Brothers employees plucked up the courage to abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park! The team travelled down the 114m sculpture all for charity, to raise almost £3000 towards our goal of £20,000 for Jigsaw4u.
The end of October brought the 100 day challenge of raising £20,000 in 100 days for the fantastic Jigsaw4u to a close and we were proud to say we absolutely smashed it by presenting a cheque to Jigsaw4u for a total of nearly £37,000, later rising to £40,000. Fantastic efforts from the whole team and everyone involved, and an excellent result for Jigsaw4u.
National Business Awards – Business Enabler of the Year and Payment Awards – Best Online Payments Solution
CBRF was awarded the prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Award 2017 for the Vonage Nexmo Business Enabler of the Year which recognises organisations that help businesses increase profitability by improving efficiency, developing talent and implementing innovation. More than this, it recognises the impact of ‘enablers’ that offer value beyond support products and services. A true honour to have won this esteemed award!
A second win in the same week – CBRF was also awarded Best Online Payments Solution at the 2017 Payments Awards. These awards recognise cards and payments excellence and innovation and are organised by FStech and Retail Systems. A fantastic month of awards and recognition for CBRF!
A truly remarkable year and we’re all excited to see what 2018 holds for Close Brothers Retail Finance.