Which retail company gave a stand out performance in 2016?
Cotton On Group has done an exceptional job in 2016 on a number of levels and this has been rewarded with their first $1 billion year in revenue. I particularly admire:
- Understanding their customers better than anyone else and delivering real value for shoppers – whether it’s on point fashion for women, men, and children: Cotton On Kids, Factorie and Supré, sleepwear and swimwear (Cotton on Body), shoes (Rubi) or stationery (Typo).
- Delivering exceptional customer experiences with store design and layouts that are engaging, enticing and imaginative (especially new flagship store at Sylvia Park).
- A seamless and smart supply chain – enabling new news to get to market consistently, holding good stock weights in the right place at the right time, getting products in shoppers' hands effectively through online.
Which retailer made the best comeback in 2016?
Kathmandu. What a year… spurned a takeover offer by Briscoe Group this year and recently affirmed its guidance for 2016 profit growth after lifting gross margins. Now they are planning refresh its promotions strategy to reduce 'sales fatigue' among customers.
Who are retailers on the rise to watch in 2017?
2Degrees – nipping at the heels of its competitors and potentially have something up their sleeve.
Huckleberry – with the demise of Nosh and the rise of wholesome, local, organic eating these guys are going places.
Citta – store growth, strong customer following, engagement, outlet strategy…they seem to be pulling together a seemingly sensible platform for growth.
Which retailer suffered the biggest fall from grace in 2016?
- Pumpkin Patch
- Nosh and the Mad Butcher
- Dick Smith
- Number One Shoes
I don’t think any explanation is required here.
What was the best retail innovation that emerged in 2016?
Amazon Go – it’s my dream come true, a retail space that lets shoppers just grab the items they want and leave; no checkouts, no queues, no interaction. Outstanding.
What technology in retail do you think will have disappeared in five year’s time?
A lot of screens – touch screens, multiple screens, silly screens – you won’t need it because you have a screen in your pocket.
Big statement screens will survive, however, as they allow retailers to deliver wonderful brand statements – but all the other crap will go.
What should retailers be thinking about going into 2016?
How are we going to drive thinking, processes and innovation within our business that make transacting with our customers easier, frictionless, interesting and more personal?
Retail businesses in New Zealand are still very complicated. When I can now sit at home and order practically anything at my fingertips, physical retail experiences need to be more engaging. There is nothing better than when a shopping experience feels fun, informative, entertaining and personal. I can count the memorable experiences on my hand recently that achieved this; and that ones that did managed to extract a lot more money out of my wallet, and also had me telling others all about them.
Are there any predictions you want to make about the future of retail
Transactional storytelling at the different touch points on the path to purchase is going to be a differentiator between the winners and losers in retail. That being what are the priority messages at each point on the path to purchase (there is very much a “one size fits all” in play in New Zealand now.)
How you make me feel as a result of an interacting with the retailer will become of increasing importance. When many retailers peddle often the same products and brands, those that can wrap a personalised context or interaction will win. It could be recognition, reward, opportunities to “participate” with your tribe, a smile, a “try” or a conversation – the right formula will separate the winners.