The influx of international brands to our shores depicts that of a raiding fleet. Some are majestic ships of war, others senseless flotillas with their fair share of rats jumping from a sinking ship.
For the ship shape resident merchants, there is scant cause for the concern shown, other than basking in the action on hand. A chance to compare benchmarks and glean every opportunity for improvement. By greeting the guests with a ruthless home-ground edge of faith and good practice.
To indulge their own curiosity, the patron will bathe in the same 15 minutes of the limelight they did with online shopping. Before they return to their favourite sensory jaunt. Retailers, be prudent in your new allegiances, ever wary not to walk the gangplank in the ruckus of hope and perceived bounties of Atlantis.
The less astute businesses will flounder as the more polished world traders deploy every trick at their disposal eventuating in a severe loss of clientele and staff. The unprepared may not win through. Consumers will decide which brand they follow spelling out the end of the ‘old faithful’. Savvy team members will thus distance themselves from the fracas of the inevitable downward spiral.
Why these brands increase their risk on foreign soil may reveal a failure to take market share in their own backyard. Which raises questions about how they plan to relate to a public they have little understanding of and what it is they will do here. The alternative is they have cornered their own markets and now seek growth elsewhere - a harder and less plausible hypothesis.
The genuine players are in it for the long haul by interacting in their neighbourhoods for the benefit for all.
The importation of overseas management can expect the same for they too lack the innate finesse of local cultures. How many lessons do we see of firms failing in markets they do not know? Despite all the hype, retail is not just about location. The shopper will go to some lengths for the experience - on trend, theatre, value and sustainability. That is down to leadership.
The onus is on the newcomer. Who must go all out to compete in an industry deep-rooted in the communities they serve. So too, they shall have to prove to the consumer that their intent is honourable and their integrity is beyond reproach.
Heed not the B.S. from the theatrical captions of the sponsored press or gurus of an indeterminate agenda. Believe in the richness of those struggles past and summon the courage to deal with facts. Praise effort and trust in those who contribute to a meaningful culture. If the local trader cannot secure this, the impending arrival will be the least of their concerns.
As a nation, we must ensure New Zealand retail is about the people (Whanau), for the people (Aotearoa) and by the people (Kiwi). It is all we have and is all that we are.