Well, tomorrow is the final day of Inside Retail – Festival of Ideas, and I must say it’s been two exciting days of learning, innovation and really inspiring speakers. As the founding director of Retail Rockstars, I have the privilege of working with some of the best thought leaders and entrepreneurs in Australia…which I must say is only second to my LOVE of retail. But what I really enjoyed about this conference was that it was peppered with super-innovative smaller start-ups as well as long-established advisors and retail leaders like IBM and KPMG. It had a nice vibe about it all.
A couple really fun and innovative solutions I checked out today was Auggd, it’s like Augmented Reality for dummies whereby you can shoot your own videos, create your own little menus and activations – really cool stuff check it out yourself at Auggd.com
Another fun idea for click and collect retail was Passel, which essentially is a start up using a crowdfunding model – for parcel delivery. So people in the areas would deliver parcels for a small fee, like when it’s on their way home from work etc – check them out at www.passel.com.au
Highlights from Day One – The Customer Journey
Speakers have been great, one of my favourites was Russel Howcroft, you know the Ad guy on Gruen Transfer. Well, he’s now the chief creative officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers talked about, “The Time for Tactics Is Over“, starting off by asking whether Australia is a “cappuccino economy”.
“Surely there are more ideas in retail than a cappuccino, but that seems to be the operating theory that most of us are putting into business,” he said.
He spoke a lot about product and retail experience, he used some really great analogies of movies to do this and followed up with an absolutely hilarious video on the importance of copy. I can’t even give it any justice here but involved two cool dudes buying a used BMX bike on eBay, using uhhhhmazing copywriting skills to re-sell the bike, noting among other things how many ‘rad tricks’ it performed and made 400% on it with the use of super gnarly copy-writing skills.
Josh Sigel was another great speaker from overseas talking about connecting food experiences in unique and meaningful ways and partnering with your competitors. He was highlighting how consumers today appreciate your honesty and determination to roll out a better product for them. If they see your great at one thing and the competitor is good at another, strengthen your position with what you’re awesome at and work with competitors on what they can deliver really well.
I also REALLY enjoyed Jeremy Meltzer’s keynote on Purpose to Profit, he talked about the birth of his BIG idea and how consumers today are really yearning for authentic experiences from authentic brands run by authentic people. He urged everyone to get involved and be clear about your passion and causes and get out there and make a difference. His message was brilliant but his platform for retailers is what was really impressive, you can see live feeds of who’s contributing and how much money has been donated in real time, really powerful stuff. You can check it out at iequalchange.com
Really interesting topic by Dr Jenny Brockis, Where’s the buy button in your brain and what motivates us to buy?
She went on to explain a number of truths I see play out in retail daily, she says, “We love that experience, we love that heady time when we go to the shops and make that decision we feel comfortable,” she said.
“But times are tough and times are changing, and it’s getting harder than ever to get people to even come into your store – what could you be doing differently to really get and understand what customers are looking for?”
Highlights from Day Two – Retail Leadership, Management and Expansion
Today was nasty and raining outside, but lots of fun stuff going on inside. Jim Fielding, an industry veteran of more than 25 years, recently was the CEO of Claire’s with 3,000 stores and now currently serving as global head of consumer products and retail for DreamWorks Animation. I know, how fun would that be? Well, he really stole the show today for me. He’s obviously a super creative bloke but full of actual examples and strategies he see’s and has worked on. He spoke on Creative Leadership in Disruptive times.
He noted some great trends he see’s emerging although he mentioned that he definitely does not consider himself a ‘futurist’. Either way, his presentation was exciting and brimming with fresh ideas and thought leadership.
- A Return to Specialty Format – away from big box, special environments that are really focused
- Product Experiences – physical and digital experiences will dominate this year….( a wee bit exciting to hear that!)
- Lifestyle Brands – continuing to grow and build momentum
- Mass & Class – Brands focusing on luxury as well as discount – Lines between retail are blurring ie Very Wang, high-end also has a line with Target
- Discover – Shopping should be fun, it should remind us of being a kid again
- Curation – we need to do a better job of differentiation, show the customer what we are all about, set up the story
- Unique – Small and unique one-off retailers are more interesting than bigger stores. He explains we all got a bit fat and lazy with finding unique products, It needs to be unique. Very edited very focused assortment.
- Mash-up – Starbucks is now mashing up Coffee and Liquor in their flagship stores
- Retailment – bring the excitement back into retail
A great two days so far and more to come tomorrow. Let’s hope Cyclone Debbie is winding down and my flight back to Bris-Vegas is still on.
Tomorrow – Day 3 is on The Future of Retail
Hope you found my highlights of the first two days useful and interesting, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!