Myer CEO Bernie Brookes and The Retail Doctor Group's founder Brian Walker say while the retail market may be filled with uncertainty and worried consumers, there are ways to thrive and survive.
“You have to re-wire the house,” Walker told a breakfast seminar in Sydney. “A fit retailer is one who recognises he has to aggregate his customer channels and market across them all to engage with the customer. He can no longer ignore the power of the internet retail channel or for that matter the social media channel.”
Indeed, as Walker pointed out during his presentation if Facebook was a nation, it would be the third largest in the world between the US and India.
“Communication across these multiple channels brings the retailer offer to the customer rather than relying on the old method of bringing the customer to the point of purchase,” continued Walker.
"This is the shift in paradigm that needs to occur to be a successful retailer. The point of sale is as much in a customer’s living room as it is in bricks and mortar stores.”
Bernie Brookes agreed, saying retailers today faced the challenge of managing "the most cautious consumer we have seen in decades".
Brookes gave the room full of retailers advice on how to compete in this retail landscape and addressed the opportunities available to them. Attracting more customers, sell more to existing customers and cross penetration through stores were key.
Walker also spoke of the necessity to target customers correctly as well as understand individual and community behaviour. He revealed insights from recent research Retail Doctor Group conducted with global Ebeltoft Group partners, proving that targeting customers on demographics alone is no longer enough.
“We have to reach out to the hearts and minds of consumers, and we need to know more about their personalities and wishes to be able to do this effectively.”
Both Walker and Brookes were adamant the physical store space is not dead. Brookes said just two of the largest 20 internet retailers in the US are purely on-line businesses. The rest are bricks and mortar who have embraced the change in paradigm and understand the big picture of bringing the point of sale to the consumer and their communities.
Bernie Brookes and Retail Doctor Group will be repeating the breakfast presentation in Melbourne on 8 September at The Crown Towers. For more details and to register for this event, visit www.retaildoctor.com.au/events .