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HomeINDUSTRY INSIGHTOut with the old: Why NZ retailers need to strengthen their digital offering

Out with the old: Why NZ retailers need to strengthen their digital offering

Covid-19, although disruptive to many businesses, has actually presented a rare opportunity for company’s to make the most of the digital talent returning to New Zealand. Many New Zealand boards and management teams however are reluctant to invest in expanding their ecommerce offering. Founder of Campfire, New Zealand’s only specialist recruitment agency for digital marketing, digital media and e-commerce, Amelia Cranfield says this old-fashioned approach is becoming an issue within the retail sector.

In the wake of the global pandemic, many Kiwis are returning home and are bringing with them an abundance of knowledge and skills gained from overseas experience. Whilst some New Zealand businesses are making the most of the returning talent, others are stuck in their old ways.

“A number of candidates are telling me that boards and management teams seem reluctant to grasp the opportunities at hand even when there’s overwhelming evidence that strengthening their digital offering will help rather than harm their bricks and mortar businesses,” says Cranfield.

Kiwi Claire Backhouse, who spent 15 years in senior marketing, digital and creative roles in London and has recently returned to New Zealand, agrees that Kiwi businesses could be doing more to leverage the returning talent.

For Backhouse, returning home was always going to be a step change, as projects and budgets tend to be far smaller in New Zealand, with a local rather than global focus. However, talent is talent regardless, and for businesses to thrive it is important to incorporate digital skills.

“Best practice is best practice no matter what the market size is. New Zealand businesses are missing out on getting some quick wins by upskilling their digital and ecommerce teams, and pivoting to stronger digital and ecommerce offerings,” says Backhouse.

She adds that New Zealand businesses could also work on understanding their audiences and defining their customers journeys from the moment they visit the business’s website or step foot in the store.

“The rise in digital and social media requires a far more granular approach to communicating with their target audiences, so to ensure they receive the right message and the right place and time.”

With the digital and ecommerce field so rapidly changing, Cranfield says it can become a chicken and egg scenario as HR departments and recruiters find it hard to keep up with the ever-evolving requirements.

“There can be massive gaps in digital teams there – gaps that only highly experienced employees or specialist digital recruiters could recognise.  This can be frustrating for returning talent, who can often find that their skillsets and career goals aren’t well understood,” says Cranfield.

“Failure to address this issue represents missed opportunities for local businesses. Once they discover what it is that they don’t know, they can gain a competitive edge by hiring the great talent and fully utilise their knowledge and skills to create successful digital and ecommerce solutions.”

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