Lessons from the 2015 Retail Leaders Forum in Sydney

  • News
  • March 10, 2015
  • Sarah Dunn
Lessons from the 2015 Retail Leaders Forum in Sydney

The global retail advisor was one of a wide range of industry figures from companies such as PayPal, Walmart and Pandora who spoke at the Retail Leaders Forum in Sydney last week. Retail NZ’s general manager of marketing and communications, Helen Clifton, talked to The Register about her time there.

She said there were around 450 delegates from a variety of large organisations present, noting that few New Zealanders seemed to have turned out.

“Any brands that I recognised as being in New Zealand were Aussie brands like Number One Shoes.”

Clifton felt this was because the two-day conference represented “a reasonable investment” in terms of time and money, but believed her visit had been well worthwhile. She said there could be a perception among New Zealand retailers that what happened in Australia was not reflective of the Kiwi business environment, but this was shown to be untrue.

“What we believe the New Zealand sector should be doing, as far as omnichannel, mobile devices and all those trends in customer engagement, was absolutely underlined by what we heard at the conference.”

Clifton said Jennings’ talk focused on the need for retailers to move with the times. She shared another quote from his address: “We need to become obsessive, relentless students of retail, always learning new things.”

Clifton listed four key points to focus on from the forum.

  1. Your brand. You have to absolutely stick to your brand because your brand is everything. It’s about continually evolving your offering.
  2. Relevance is key. You have to be relevant to your customers – this is where mobile marketing comes in because people are researching online, and maybe buying, but they are not unlikely to make another purchase instore if a “click and collect” option is offered. Omnichannel customers make two to four times the average spend of single-channel customers.
  3. Data is huge. It’s a way of continuing to interact and be relevant to customers, but you should be careful to balance being relevant with being minimally invasive.
  4. Staff and culture are everything. Something that really came through from the successful companies presenting at the forum was that getting their staff to buy in to the essence of their company values by investing in them, valuing them, training them and listening to them was essential to their success.

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