Mark Muller is the director of Mark Retail, shop design specialist. He will look at how the design of a store can drive profitability.

RB: Briefly (in one or two points) explain what you'll be speaking about at the Conference?
The design of a retail store is part creativity, part strategy. I will explain the Strategic Retail Design process that I have developed to help retailers maximise their chances of success.

RB: Why do you believe this/these topic(s) are important and relevant to retailers?
Strategic Retail Design is essential to ensure that the store design:
1. is guided by sound retail principles
2. is differentiated from competition to exploit the proposed target niche
3. meets the needs of future trends & industry changes
4. maximises product exposure and sales at the point of purchase

RB: Can you provide comment about the current state of the Australian retail sector and ONE tip you'd give to retailers.
It's no secret that most retailers in Australia (and the world) are currently experiencing very challenging times. Since 2008 they have faced problems on two fronts:
1. internet/ecommerce distribution channels eroding market share
2. the worldwide economic downturn increasing the customer's focus on price.
These two issues have fed off each other to amplify the effect. The solution for retailers is multi-faceted, however one tip I'd give is to focus what the internet can't do: have a wide product range ready to view/try/test, and in stock ready to buy and take home immediately.

Register here to attend Retail 2012 Expo & Conference to see Mark Muller live.