Peter Wilson is head of shopper marketing at Idea Works. He will share the latest from his latest trip as part of the Westfield World Retail Study Tour.

RB: Briefly (in one or two points) explain what you'll be speaking about at the Conference?
PW: I will be providing feedback on the 2012 Westfield World Retail Study Tour – what new trends were identified in the markets visited and which retailers were seen to be driving retail innovation

RB: Why do you believe this/these topic(s) are important and relevant to retailers?

In an age where bricks and mortar retailers are feeling the pressure placed on them by their online counterparts, the need to present customers with a memorable shopping experience, across all channels, is mandatory.  This presentation will feature retailers, from around the world, who are achieving this.  It is hoped that this presentation will inspire many a conversation within retailers in terms of how they are catering to their customers' needs.

RB: Can you provide comment about the current state of the Australian retail sector and ONE tip you'd give to retailers.
Australian retail is  currently presented with several challenges.  Firstly, Australia has the highest smartphone penetration in the world (behind Singapore).  Coupled to this, the strength of the Australian dollar, and we stand to experience 'showrooming' at a phenomenal level.  Australian retailers need to counter this increasing threat by benchmarking their retail offering according to a small set of performance indicators:

  • Store hospitality drivers – is our retail real estate operating at an optimum?  Are retail sales staff geared to satisfy the customer's needs?  Are we managing our queues  effectively? – If not, the shopper will turn to their mobile for assistance.
  • Retail experience – are we delighting our shoppers?  Are we giving shoppers the clear and compelling reasons to visit our stores (and to return)?
  • Retail convergence – is every retail touchpoint working together in unison (bricks and mortar, online, mobile)?  Is our retail offering geared to the needs of the multi-channel shopper?
  • Loyalty – are we genuinely rewarding loyalty or is it just a one-way relationship where we derive all the value?  Is our loyalty offering compelling enough to warrant our customers to join and stay engaged? Is it easy to understand how customers accrue points?
  • Pricing – are we able to work with our suppliers to achieve parity pricing (or closer to comparable pricing).
  • Only through placing the needs of the shopper under the microscope, will Australian retailers achieve desirable levels of prosperity in an otherwise challenging time for retail