At a breakfast event hosted by Retail Doctor Group, Myer CEO Bernie Brookes and Brian Walker of Retail Doctor Group spoke to an audience about the changing paradigm of reaching the retail customer.

According to both Brookes and Walker, in a retail landscape that is currently filled with uncertain and worried consumers, there are ways to thrive and survive.

“You have to re-wire the house,” Walker said.  “A fit retailer is one who recognises he has to aggregate his customer channels and market across them all to engage with the customer.   He can no longer ignore the power of the internet retail channel or for that matter the social media channel.” 

Indeed, as Walker pointed out during his presentation if Facebook was a nation, it would be the third largest in the world between USA and India. 

“Communication across these multiple channels brings the retailer offer to the customer rather than relying on the old method of bringing the customer to the point of purchase,” Walker said.

“This is the shift in paradigm that needs to occur to be a successful retailer.  The point of sale is as much in a customer’s living room as it is in bricks and mortar stores.” 

Walker also spoke of the necessity to target customers correctly as well as understand individual and community behaviour. Brian revealed insights from recent research Retail Doctor Group conducted with global Ebeltoft Group partners, proving that targeting customers on demographics alone is not enough anymore “We have to reach out to the hearts and minds of consumers, and we need to know more about their personalities and wishes to be able to do this effectively.”

Bernie Brookes was in agreement about the challenges in managing the most cautious consumer that we have seen in decades. 

Brookes gave the roomful of retailers advice on how to compete in this retail landscape and addressed the opportunities available to them.  Attracting more customers, sell more to existing customers and cross penetration through stores was key. 

Both Walker and Brookes were adamant the physical store space is not dead.  Indeed, as Brookes pointed out during his presentation, the top 20 internet retailers in America have just been revealed, with only two of these being purely on-line businesses. The rest are bricks and mortar who have embraced the change in paradigm and understand the big picture of bringing the point of sale to the consumer and their communities.