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Innovation in global retail industry driving change in the local market

20 November 2014: Technology advancements and a softer economic climate are driving change and innovation in the international retail market and the Australian industry must pay attention and adapt to remain competitive. This is one insight shared by Mark Bilton, winner of the Michael Page 2014 Retail Executive Award, from his experience on the Westfield World Retail Tour held earlier this year.

Speaking at an event last week about innovation in the global retail sector, Mr Bilton shared examples from his trip to five international retail destinations and discussed the convergence of the digital and physical within the retail industry and the impact on the consumer experience.

“The 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis changed people’s spending habits and we are still on that trajectory; it is a changed retail environment. With the rise of smart phones and mobile devices, as well as online transactions, there has been a blurring between the physical and the digital experience,” he said.

Retailers in global markets including San Francisco, Seattle, Stockholm, London and Barcelona – the five destinations included on the 2014 Westfield World Retail Tour – are adapting to the changed landscape, introducing in-store experiences that tap into the latest technology and in some instances using data to customise the consumer experience.

“Consumers want to be surprised and delighted, and companies that do this well and can offer personal ways of shopping can help to change the perceptions of the brand,” Mr Bilton added.

As the Australian retail industry responds to advancements and innovations happening on a global scale, organisations are also recognising the importance of leadership to move the business forward. This is impacting the local employment market for retail professionals and generating a greater demand for senior executive professionals.

“We are certainly seeing a greater requirement for senior leaders who have foresight and can embrace new technology and the digital revolution as it unfolds in the retail industry, and this skill set is expected to be in demand going into the new year,” said Richard Wynn, Regional Director, Michael Page Retail.

“The retail sector is fast moving and local businesses have much to learn from their international counterparts. With this focus on knowledge gathering and the opportunity to learn the latest technology and innovations, we have lunched the 2015 Michael Page Retail Executive Award,” added Mr Wynn.

To find out more about the award visit www.michaelpage.com.au/retailexecutiveaward