Last December we launched our annual Christmas initiative “With Love, Proximity Insight” (WLPI) and this year we opted for a new approach to support the Proximity Insight community. 2020 was a year unlike any other for the retail industry, and we got to see first hand what an incredible job the store teams at our brands were doing. We felt it was important to celebrate the retail associates who continued clienteling through new, virtual channels with their customers throughout the pandemic. Not only to provide exceptional brand service, but in many cases, were providing a source of consistency and joy to customers who may otherwise have found themselves isolated.
Rewind back to 2020
2020 was a year unlike any other for the retail industry. Proximity Insight was fortunate enough to see first hand what an incredible job the store teams from within our retail community were doing throughout the peak of the pandemic. We felt it was important to celebrate the retail associates who, even during lockdowns, continued clienteling with their customers through brand new virtual channels. There were countless examples of exceptional customer service, and in many cases the retail associates were in addition providing a source of consistency and joy to customers who may otherwise have found themselves isolated.
Flash forward to Christmas 2021
Last year in spite of the challenges, the retail industry achieved many extraordinary successes. This was in large part thanks to accelerations of retail technologies such as Proximity Insight, along with many others, that saw e-commerce report its best ever season with sales surging up 61.4% in the US alone, surpassing trend forecasts. While the retail industry had many a cause for celebration, we saw this as an opportunity to look beyond our industry for a chance to give something back and with that, With Love, Proximity Insight 2021 charity initiative was born!
While we are a global team, we really understand the importance of a personal approach, so we wanted to work with a charity unique to each of our global office locations. Next we enlisted the help of the Proximity Insight community network within each city to help us choose an organisation to support during the holiday season. Thank you to long time close friend of Proximity Insight Ron Thurston – Best Selling Author of “RETAIL PRIDE: The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Career” who put us in touch with Goodwill in New York, Antigone Nixon – Finance Manager here at Proximity Insight who assisted with The Felix Project in London, and Blair McVicar – Customer Success Manager here at Proximity Insight who supported in the choice of The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation in Sydney.
The mission we set out with was: “to spread a little bit of joy to our entire network, every friend, every brand and every user in every country”; we wanted to reach as many people as we could so we approached each charity and asked how we could spread a little bit of magic through their organisations to contribute to With Love.
Who are the charities and how could we help?
LONDON: The Felix Project is a food re-distribution charity. They were set up in 2016 and aim to tackle food issues here in London, where 1.5million adults struggle to afford to eat everyday and 400,000 children are at risk of missing the next meal. Alongside this matter, the food industry generates 3 million tonnes of edible surplus food each year – and The Felix Project works to tackle both these issues.
We reached out to The Felix Project and learned they don’t accept monetary donations, but what they really need is for people to donate their time to help, so that is just what we did. In the UK, we decided to donate our time, so we asked our EMEA customer to choose between different teams within Proximity Insight to send to The Felix Project for a full day of volunteering in their warehouse, helping to package and distribute the vast quantities of food that they receive daily.
NEW YORK: Goodwill’s mission is to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work – such a powerful message, and one that truly helps to benefit many people.
Today, the office is located in Newark, New Jersey – and has been around for over 100 years. The founders wanted to help those with disabilities and disadvantages become self-sufficient, and rather than receiving charity, they are given the opportunity to earn a living by collecting and selling donated clothes and household items.
Long time close friend of Proximity Insight Ron Thurston – Best Selling Author of “RETAIL PRIDE: The Guide to Celebrating Your Accidental Career” put us in touch with the charity of which he is an active board member. After learning more about the charity, and specifically the individual initiatives that Ron operates for Goodwill, we decided we would make a donation to fill Ron’s Santa sack with gift cards to thank the volunteers who keep the charity running on the front line.
SYDNEY: The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation helps support those in the community who have difficulty reading and writing, which results in a lack of access for many opportunities that a majority of us would take for granted. The charity helps by raising literacy levels within Australia’s most marginalised communities by providing training and resources through funding to support schools, individuals and families. After chatting with Jasmine Flikier – Director of Communications, we learned that the children they helped were in desperate need of school supplies, in particular books.
So we had chosen the charities to support and we knew how we could help them. The next step was involving our incredible Proximity Insight community…
How did we engage the Proximity Insight community?
While this project was about giving back through charity, it remained important to us that we drive a community feel and festive spirit to our customers during retail’s most important season. We set out to engage them with our WLPI charity campaign by asking each individual to vote for what we should give to the charity from a choice of three “gifts”.
Amelia Curwen, Amanda Bowen, Antigone Nixon, Blair McVicar, Cathy McCabe, Chris Wood, Fran Mayller, Freddie Hedges, Jamie Floyd, Jarrod Hunt, Llyr Jones, Mel Jensen, Miquel Vives Font and Teodora Filipovic.
Felix Project Option A B C…
They all won! In the end we decided to all donate our entire UK team to help out!
We put away our laptops for the day to find out more about this incredible charity and all the work they do to support local schools and families. Discovering the impact The Felix Project has was truly inspiring, and we were certainly put to good use – assisting with sorting through mountains of food, packing and wrapping ready for deliveries to those most in need. Cathy McCabe – CEO & Co Founder joined a selection of the PI team across all departments, taking a step back from the word of clienteling and further bonding us through the tremendous work of the organisation.
Goodwill A B C
The winner was…
All of them! We encountered an even split, so we sent a donation, allowing the charity to select a gift card best suited to the receiver.
The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
The winner was… option B!
We selected three children’s books for our Australian peers to choose from, with a clear front runner. Overall, the top choice “The Very Cranky Bear” – by Nick Bland which we sent over in bulk for members of The ALNF.
Sharing our thanks with the Proximity Insight community
Spreading thanks throughout the retail community is what ‘With Love, Proximity Insight’ is about, and this year we were able to share the thanks in wider communities. It certainly gave us a moment to reflect upon the great work and dedication we meet within retail, and remember the importance of communication and sharing. We’ve been able to give back, supporting those in need within communities across the globe, which really is the spirit of Christmas.