First Retail Group
We believe two key game changers are worth watching. Both are in the technology space.
One is the recognised shift for chains from proprietary data to internationally recognised Structured Master Data (SMD) as part of a wider strategy that maximises potential for omnichannel retailing.
Ecommerce in this country has evolved organically, but in typical New Zealand fashion, it’s nowhere near as structured or productive as it is overseas. This is because many businesses have developed parallel operations, without integration that are based on legacy systems.
Product coding and referencing is a key part of this. Using internal coding rather than internationally accepted universal product code (GTIN) system means products remain relatively obscure when listed online.
The other game changer we’ve noticed is the evolution of smart parking as a tool to support town centre businesses.
Smart parking answers retailers’ calls for more flexible solutions for town centre visitors – while maintaining a revenue stream for councils. Being able to reduce or eliminate charges during strategic periods enables businesses to benefit from increased visitation and consumer goodwill.
Our smartest move this year was reinvesting in our customers who actively move around our region.
With the purchase of the Arthur Barnett business in Dunedin, and several other stores in Dunedin, we engaged with the customers and marketing in Dunedin, which allows our customers to shop our stores in the lower South Island.
Many customers move between Invercargill, Dunedin and Central Otago, so with this purchase we are able to reach these customers via their preferred media, and now they can enjoy our products and brands in any of our locations in this area.
It is early days yet, but the customer feedback has been positive, and the staff engagement remains very high, which bodes well for 2016.
The retail industry is forever changing as we add more and more technology to our lives. The smartest move in Kiwi retail this year has been online retailers using pop up stores to engage with their customers.
Whether we actively acknowledge it or not, bricks and mortar retail will not be going away anytime soon. Consumers still want the experience of touching, trying and looking at products in the flesh.
Creating a mix of online and bricks and mortar retailing is a great way of making your online brand real. Getting away from common thinking is how the retail industry will continue to thrive!
Frontline Retail – Auckland
The smartest move that a retailer can make in regards to staffing is to ensure that their business is not affected by the shortage of talent in the market.
The arrival of international retailers on our shores over the past year has had an impact on the retail candidate market. These international fashion giants offer previously unmatched opportunities for retail candidates and many businesses are at risk of losing their top-performing staff.
To compete with the demand, many businesses have taken the opportunity to acknowledge their existing staff and ensure that they are offering competitive remuneration packages and career progression strategies.
Retailers can also insulate themselves from a shortage of talent by upskilling and developing their existing staff.
This story originally appeared in NZRetail magazine issue 741 December 2015 / January 2016