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Louis Martin

General Manager, Privacy and Customer Trust at Wesfarmers OneDigital

Louis Martin is the General Manager, Privacy and Customer Trust at Wesfarmers OneDigital, based in Perth, Australia. Established in April 2022, OneDigital is an exciting new digital enterprise with big ideas, bringing together OnePass, OneData and Catch to enable Wesfarmers’ data and digital ambitions and to support some of Australia’s most trusted and iconic brands including Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Catch, Officeworks and Priceline. Prior to starting this new role he built his longstanding career as a respected lawyer with a passion for sustainability, data ethics and privacy.

For Louis, trust is the alignment of words and actions – being clear on who you are, what you should and shouldn’t do, and delivering on what you say you’ll do

The increasing pace of change in customer expectations about how their data is used, and how to protect their privacy while delivering great products and services is at the forefront of every retailer’s mind. Nowhere more so than at Wesfarmers, one of Australia’s largest listed companies, with more than 20 brands and15 million transactions each week. And now a new digital-focused division, OneDigital, with Louis leading the dedicated privacy and customer trust team. So while a privacy and customer trust-focused culture has been embedded into the new division from the ground up, the team is "officially" just over 40 days old at the time of our interview.

This means our conversation offers a rare opportunity to understand the early plans and key principles that will guide this diverse team as they navigate the challenges of building and running new digital businesses within a large established company. This enables a unique digital focused culture and ways of thinking to be developed atop of the already strong foundations and values of Wesfarmers.

This starts with Louis, who began with Wesfarmers as a lawyer nearly nine years ago. He has held recent leadership roles in Sustainability and Indigenous Affairs, before moving to Data and Digital Policy, and now leads the Privacy and Customer Trust team at, OneDigital, Wesfarmers’ newest division.

My time at Wesfarmers reflects some of the core strengths of the Group: ‘Trust and opportunity’. I’ve been really fortunate that people have invested time in me and trusted me with new opportunities. And I’ve trusted them. When I may have been uncertain about jumping into a new role, they’ve provided me with great advice and support.

108 years and a few months

From its origins in 1914 as a Western Australian farmers' cooperative, Wesfarmers has grown into one of Australia's largest listed companies. Business operations cover home improvement and outdoor living; apparel and general merchandise; office supplies; health, beauty and wellbeing; chemicals, energy and fertilisers, and industrial and safety products. Wesfarmers is one of Australia's largest employers with almost 120,000 team members and a shareholder base of over 515,000.

“With brands like Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Officeworks, Catch, Priceline and OnePass, we are fortunate that many Australians choose to shop with us. And that means we have the privilege to be able to listen and learn about how we can serve them better.”

While the scale of Wesfarmers is extraordinary, one metric is equally important across all its businesses: trust.

Louis gives the example of OneDigital. “It is really important that we are a trusted and responsible custodian of the data we hold on behalf of customers. This means that everything we do is underpinned by Wesfarmers’ core values of integrity, accountability and openness. These core values support our culture of doing what is right and being transparent.”

Listening before you act

On the journey to reinforcing and building trust, understanding your customers is key. The new team brings a data-driven approach to customer centricity. It aims to embed privacy and trust into every stage of product development. This includes connecting with customer service team to listen to the voice of the customer, joining daily stand-ups with product and delivery squads, and undertaking regular market scanning to learn from others.

Even if there is a problem, this can be an opportunity to build trust. Openness, according to Louis, is everything.

“Always do your best. If sometimes you don’t get it right, be open. Be honest. Be accountable. It may even build people’s trust in you.”

Accountability also means that when you say you're going to do something, you deliver. Louis references the phrase ‘Competence, Connection and Completion’ to articulate this end-to-end commitment. Competence within the team, connecting with each other and with our customers in authentic ways, and making sure that you complete the job at hand. 


Connect with the person behind the data

The more data a customer shares with us, the better their experience should become. But how do you make this as human as possible, and ultimately be more trusted and effective for the long term? According to Louis, “Connection is key. A customer is not their data. They are a real person and we should always remember this. This helps us connect with that person in a way that is relevant to them and give them the best experience possible.”

This ultimately informs the ideas, products and offerings that cumulatively provide value to the customer.

Louis’ remit includes the three business units challenged with this task. The first is OnePass, a membership program currently operating across Kmart, Target and Catch to give customers additional value like free shipping and in-store offers. The other is OneData, the internal advanced analytics team, helping consolidate data and improve the customer experience through more relevant offers across Wesfarmers’ brands. Finally, Catch.com.au operates an online marketplace that connects customers with a trusted place to shop directly or through thousands of sellers.

The value exchange is not just about more relevant offers, it’s also about mitigating pain points, like improving a website to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for, making a ‘log in’ more seamless and secure, or for the offline world building a new store closer to customers.

Any conversation about data must include privacy and security. But Louis wants to make this broader.

“Discussions about privacy and security have a strong compliance and regulatory focus, as they should. I want to go further and ensure that OneDigital remains a trusted and responsible custodian of the data it holds for customers. So, the opportunity for our teams is to embed privacy and security protecting elements seamlessly into our products and services in ways that make sense for our customers."

An exciting future ahead

Like this new digital journey, Louis is only just getting started. A journey being shared by the privacy and customer team. He proudly admits that there is no such thing as a unicorn in his team. It’s a tight group of smart, passionate and experienced people, focused on being part of the connective tissue between the customer and Wesfarmers’s digital brands.

The privacy and customer trust landscape is so broad and fast-moving that no individual could ever be completely across all of it. But our diverse backgrounds and experiences make us an incredibly strong team. We all share a passion to make the most of this incredible opportunity to build a new business by listening to customers and building and nurturing trust every step of the way.

For more information on OneDigital, please visit www.wesfarmers.com.au  onepass.com.au catch.com.au 

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