Danielle Barclay Retail 2011 Interview

Danielle Barclay Retail 2011 Interview

Despite the current climate, Australian consumers are still very much active - they're just more attuned to value and will go the extra mile to seek a bargain. Shoppers may be watching their dollars, but they're spending them too!

The Retail 2011 Exhibition and Conference, Australia's largest trade show for retailers, will bring together every segment of the retail sector and provide solutions for better retailing.

Held in Melbourne from 13-15 September, and now in its twelfth year (and free for the first time!), Retail 2011 will show retailers how to stay competitive in this busy and volatile market.

Google Analytic's Retail Industry Analyst, Andrew Eckford, will deliver the keynote speech, identifying current trends, predicting future ones, and looking closely at what consumers' online activity can tell us about retail, and how retailers can capitalise from this information. It is not to be missed!

Consumer confidence has tightened and shoppers seek greater value than ever before - and it's not just around price. Searches for terms like 'reviews' and 'compare products' have doubled in the last two years, and it is now imperative that retailers connect with consumers by demonstrating real value, whether that be through offering higher quality, a wider range, faster delivery - or more.

Consumers are also increasingly searching for US and UK stores and brands. However, as Mr Eckford will elaborate on, this presents an opportunity for Australian retailers. Local shoppers would still rather connect with a local brand, but they're not afraid to search further afield if they can't find value.

The advent of user-friendly mobile and video technology presents further opportunities to clever retailers. Smart phones, iPads and Youtube have changed the retail landscape and empowered consumers like never before. They research, compare and decide online and on-the-go, and this activity will amplify significantly in the lead up to Christmas.

In this dramatically changing retail marketplace, now is the time for retailers to explore solutions and help their businesses adapt and remain competitive.

Retail 2011 Exhibition and Conference
Tuesday 13 - Thursday 15 September
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank
For more information or to register your interest for Retail 2011 Exhibition and Conference, go to www.retailexpo.com.au

Interview with Danielle Barclay

Danielle Barclay, the general manager for the incredibly successful Retail Engine and one of retails most conversant voices, notes her success to expending/using visual communication.

With retailers somewhat overlooking the importance of engaging customers through the senses of sound, touch, smell and taste, Danielle has noted that retailers should be using the physical retail environment to appeal to all fives senses to enhance a customers in-store experience, particularly at a time where many retailers are losing customers to online retailing. Consumers are increasingly becoming far more demanding in wanting a personal experience and their expectations are much higher. Danielle feels that there's still a place for hands-on interaction within a retail space, noting that more creativity is needed for this particular engagement with people.

Being a speaker at Retail 2011, Danielle will emphasise the importance of retailers stepping out of their comfort zone and not being afraid of taking up new challenges to get that competitive edge.

Question: What will you be talking about at Retail 2011?

Danielle Barclay: I have written a thought leadership paper with Steve Ogden-Barnes from Deakin University that will be published in September called Store sense: optimising the store environment by engaging the senses'.
This is the subject for our presentation at Retail 2011 - Maximising the four walls of retail by engaging with all five senses and integrating technology innovation to help reinvent the retail space.
Steve and I are both passionate about breathing new life into retail.


Question: How have consumers changed over the past five years?

Danielle Barclay: Technology and online is a big factor of course…apart from being able to purchase online I look at it as getting access to information when and where you want, this means consumers are armed with more knowledge and it is harder to get their attention.

Walking around with smart phones and tablets, smart TV's and appliances at home means consumers have higher expectations…this doesn't mean your whole store needs to be technologically driven but it does mean you need to showcase innovation and work harder to get customers attention.


Question: How can retailers ensure their store is appealing to customers?

Danielle Barclay: Invest in design and visual merchandising would be the first step…be clear about who your target consumer is and ensure your store suits their needs.

Look at how you can introduce technology to get customers attention and also get them access to more depth and richness of information.


Question: What tips do you have for retailers in terms of selling, their products, in the current retail environment?

Danielle Barclay: Not really my expertise but in terms of promoting products instore be innovative in your display and communications, utilise technology smarts where possible to attract people attention to displays and key messages.


Question: How can a retailer market their store to customers who prefer to shop online?

Danielle Barclay: Look at online as another channel not a competitor, ensure your store gives the customer an extra tangible benefit which can't be found online, whether that be great customer service, innovative displays, interactive experiences to gain more information about the product.


Question: Why is it important for retailers to "step out of their comfort zone"?

Danielle Barclay: Technology is moving at a rapid rate and online shopping is very convenient, the role of the store is changing and you can't rely on product offering and price alone anymore. To win the battle you need to stand out from the crowd, create an experience that people want to get out of bed and go and see, something people will talk about, something unique.


Question: How do you suggest retailers step "out of their comfort zone and not being afraid of taking up new challenges"?

Danielle Barclay: Look at trends, competitors and what is happening overseas. Spend time understanding your consumer and your brand and look at how you can evolve what you are currently doing.

Re-engineer the norm, question why you are doing things the same way, step into the customers shoes and think about the experience you are offering…does the store invite you in from the street, is the product displayed to connect with emotions, are you engaging all the senses…


Question: Can you talk about Retail Engine and its success?

Danielle Barclay: We have managed to find a niche area in the market - retailers need agencies who understand the four walls from a design, communications and innovation perspective, these things don't sit separately anymore…

We have been working with Telstra this year to take their traditional window displays and re-engineer them to create an interactive, experiential zone where customers can see, hear and touch 24 hours a day.
It's an exciting time to be in retail, a chance to be creative and reinvent.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

 

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