2018 - the year of the dog and the customer

21 Feb 2018

Our Head of Retail Gary Horwitz was part of a panel discussion at a recent PCA Retail Outlook breakfast event, here's what he had to say on the experience.

Looking out at the 720-packed conference room it was heartening to hear keynote speakers Ian Bailey, Managing Director, Kmart and Peter Crone, Chief Economist, EY speak positively on the economy and the future of ‘bricks and mortar’ retail.
In an ever changing and disruptive market, the customer is key to business success and ultimately has the power to impact our future. 
Customer mindsets and expectation levels have changed dramatically thanks to the ease and convenience of online and mobile usage.
How we utilise online to engage customers with our ‘bricks and mortar’ experiences will be critical and creating experiential places that impact peoples' lives will shape the way we work with our retailers. 
There are so many opportunities and possibilities, with many already responding and adapting to the change. 

Barangaroo was acknowledged and praised by our peers as a best practice mixed used development, curating a vibrant ground plane with laneways, first class food and beverage retailers along with communal spaces enriched with public art and cultural programs. It was  a proud moment to hear the continued industry accolades,  the impact Barangaroo has on the economic and social life of Sydney and the contribution we have made to shaping this great city.
EY Chief Economist Peter Crone shared some interesting stats at the breakfast event; 
“72 per cent of Millennials and Generation Z shop product options online before going in store and 67 per cent of all consumers use social media in store."

“Homewares (20%), media (17%) and groceries (16.6%) account for the greatest share of online total spending with fashion (15.5%) closely behind.

"This is not surprising when 88 per cent of Australia’s population is using a smart phone, one of the highest levels of smartphone usage in the world and are online for 6.8 hours on average per day. "
Interestingly, Kmart know from their research that a significant number of their customers search online for product information prior to shopping despite their average price point being just $6. 

They have strategically placed the customer first in everything they do. They understand price matters to their customers but it's not the only thing. They know that in order for them to continue to grow and be successful they need to deliver more to their customers; with service, quality products, and better instore experiences.
Kmart Australia Managing Director Ian Bailey said traditional stores are now more than ever designing their services around the particular preferences of customers.
"We are navigating through a time of great change and disruption. Customers are now seeking simplicity, affordability and accessibility and it is up to traditional retailers to meet these preferences.”
Understanding our customers, giving them what they want and making a difference in their lives will create a vibrant retail environment for bricks and mortar retail to thrive in.