Our customers and products

 

369,000

transactions per day

 

4.6m

active global Directory customers

Products sold in

71

countries

Our aim is to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations of NEXT as a company and the products we sell by providing “exciting, beautifully designed, excellent quality clothing, footwear, accessories and homeware”. Delivering to our brand values means developing, improving and expanding our product ranges, focusing on being better by design.

Approach

NEXT products should be well made, functional, safe, and free from harmful substances, sourced and produced responsibly. Through our standards and technical requirements we are committed to ensuring no-one should be harmed when our products are being made, or whilst they are being used. We develop relationships with our customers to build their trust and confidence in our reputation for quality, price and service and deliver on their needs, resulting in a strong financial performance.

Our priorities are to ensure that our products are:

  • Excellent quality
  • Safe and fit for their intended purpose
  • Fully compliant with all legislation and our own standards where these go beyond legislative requirements
  • Sourced responsibly

We’ve redefined what we mean by great service, focusing on serving customers in the way they want to be served, whether in our stores or through the NEXT Directory. Over the last eighteen months we have:

  • Overhauled our recruitment process, focusing on attitude rather than experience
  • Introduced new service training for employees
  • Changed our bonus schemes to be awarded on the basis of service
  • In store we have re-allocated contract hours throughout the day to achieve better service at peak times
  • Changed our staff appraisal and performance management systems
Performance

Key Figures

2014 2013
Average transactions per day across Retail and Directory 369,000 345,000
Active global Directory customers 4.6 million 4.0 million
Number of countries to which products were despatched 71 60

Within our Customer Services department we have introduced a new team whose responsibility is to focus on complaints which haven’t been satisfactorily resolved for the customer during their first contact with us. We receive over 19 million contacts from customers during the year and of those less than 1% become escalated and we are seeing this number starting to reduce as we work to resolve customers’ issues more effectively.

Progress

Chemical Management

Chemicals are used in our products during their development and manufacture and whilst the majority of chemicals are harmless to humans and the environment, safety is a key concern. NEXT Restricted Substance Standards (RSS) have been developed and are regularly updated from:

  • Legal standards
  • Recommendations by industry experts
  • Pressure group focus
  • Customer feedback

We are rolling out our Chemical Management Standards programme aimed at suppliers’ further back in our supply chain such as fabric mills and laundries. Our aim through this programme is to help educate suppliers to be able to reduce and eliminate the discharge of chemicals from their production processes wherever possible. The key principles of the programme are clean chemistry, transparency, traceability and trust.

Product Safety

We are committed to ensuring that the products we sell are safe to use, have been made in a safe environment and are fit for purpose. In particular, we are committed to ensuring that children are safe when wearing or using our products. Our Childrenswear division focuses on safety throughout all stages of development and production. Our safety standards are based on the highest legal European standards and often go further than the law demands.

Product Sustainability

NEXT does not source any raw materials directly, but we are committed to working with our suppliers to help them understand the importance of responsible sourcing as their production or harvesting can have a significant impact on people and cause damage to environments if not managed correctly. We are working to increase the traceability of the key raw materials we use and are also working towards sourcing them responsibly.

When our customers purchase a mattress from NEXT, many have an old mattress they no longer need. Mattresses can be difficult to dispose of responsibly so we introduced a service where we could collect and recycle their old mattress when their new one was being delivered. We work with a specialist recycling provider whose priority is to recycle old mattresses rather than send to landfill. During the year we collected and were able to recycle over 4,000 mattresses diverting them all from landfill.

Challenges and Targets

Continue to work with our supply base to help them understand and develop improved traceability and visibility of the entire supply chain across a number of product categories.