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Top retail trends for 2016
06 April 2016
Every year, Michael Page seeks to celebrate outstanding efforts in the retail sector with our Retail Executive of the Year Award. The application process gives us great insight into the current state of retail in Australia and what the brightest minds in the business foresee for this rapidly evolving industry.
We've drawn together some of the insights from our finalists below to highlight their top retail trends for 2016:
Many of our retail executive award finalists spoke of the impact that the ongoing convergence between physical, digital and social environments are having on the retail sector and how imperative it is for businesses to invest in providing customers with a seamless journey between branded environments and an effortless transition between storytelling and product or service transacting.
However, Josh Sparks, founder and CEO of Thr1ve warns that " the reality of the pace of change means that these efforts are a continuing journey, not a destination."
This also speaks to the continued role that technology will play in driving market innovation. As consumers lives are increasingly digitised, they expect retailers to deliver products and services that fit seamlessly into their lives and provide additional value.
Con Dekazos, CEO of Forty Winks, predicts that in his category of bedding and sleep services, "we will [eventually] be sleeping in beds that will not only monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and wake you up when you're at your most optimum in your sleep, but they will learn how you sleep and adjust the mattress to your sleeping pattern."
The continued march of global giants
Retailers across the board have been exposed to the impact that increased consumer access to global retails has had on local operations. Australians, apparently making up for a long period without access to many international retailers, have relished the entry of huge global retail players such as Zara, H&M and Sephora. Having witnessed this thirst for international brands and a more diverse range of options, we can only expect more of these companies to join the rush to establish an Australian presence.
As consumers lives are increasingly digitised, they expect retailers to deliver products and services that fit seamlessly into their lives and provide additional value
Ivo Favotto, Executive General Manager for leading travel retailer Lagardere Services, has spent a lot of time in Europe and is unsurprised by the pressure that Aldi has placed on the domestic supermarket duopoly of Coles & Woolworths.
"I am aware of the power of Lidl and Aldi, and they will eventually prove a big challenge to Coles and Woolworths. And let’s not forget Costco."
Constantly improving the customer experience
Rapidly evolving technology has given businesses more power than ever before to understand their customers and deliver a personalised retail experience, and we expect this trend to continue. Consumers will increasingly demand a hyper-personalised experience and retailers will need to invest in talent that can support this demand.
Michael Ford, CEO of The Good Guys expects we'll see enhanced in-store experiences and service.
"Customers [will be] able to interact more with products before making a purchase decision, and the increasing use of new technology to assist with demonstrations such as virtual reality."
Stephane Younane, co-founder and CEO of Retail Prodigy Group and winner of the 2016 Michael Page Retail Executive Award sums up the transforming retail landscape and why retailers need to invest in bringing their customer service and communication strategies into the modern era.
"There will be even more pressure on retailers to find a unique and sustainable market position. Consumers are looking to be inspired and informed on distinct product and services. The power is with the consumers and they will decide where and when they want to shop. Brands will continue to go vertical with retail stores to take greater control of the consumer experience and to create a halo effect across the market."
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