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Josem attends Westfield breakfast series
Submit On: 17-08-2010

Interesting talks delivered by Coles, trend-tracker Howard Saunders, and Jon Bird from Idea Works.

Stuart Machin, Coles' Director Stores and Operations spoke at Westfield's Melbourne event about the way the company is driving improvements to performance through a three phased strategic approach.  He said that the first phase is half way complete, and clearly has made a difference for both staff and customers.

Josem sees that a major deliverable so far is the changing culture within the firm.  Store people are empowered to do more to serve customers, and this has been encouraged by "sharing the vision" adcross all of Coles staff.

Machin identified the Tooronga Village store as the latest to incorporate the company's new in-store layouts and designs.

Technology is clearly playing a role "going forward" by reducing stock-outs and improving the performance of the supply chain as well as using technology to improve customer in-store experience.

Retail trend watcher Howard Saunders pointed out how post GFC, some stores are closing, and some stores have to restrict shoppers by having them stand in queues they are so popular.

He identifies that value stores are increasing the experiential value customers get from visiting their stores, thereby closing the gap on luxury stores.  He showed the audience examples of beautiful store layouts of stores famous for selling $5 to $20 mass-market products. 

He makes the point... "You can't go back".  The bar has been moved higher, and share of wallet demands more effort to satisfy customers in more and more innovative ways.

His 3 trends... Push for posh, Anti big, and Einsteiin time. 

An entertaining talk with some serious messages for retailers - "show your customers some love" by encouraging "hang-time" within your stores, thereby allowing them to get to know you better. 

He acknowledged the dilemma for store designers:  customers want efficiency during their visit, and retailers want customers to be diverted to spend time to explore the store. 

He noted that many retailers, after spending lots of marketing dollars getting the customer to visit the store, focus on helping shoppers slip out of the store as quickly as possible.  His point is that retailers mustn't lose a share of the wallet by helping them slip out of the store too quickly.

A central theme of his talk is to give shoppers opportunity to hang around and learn to love you.

Josem thinks this is where technology can help measure what most retailers ignore... Integrating loyalty programs with staff rostering and traffic counting systems can provide insights as to what works and what doesn't... You can't manage what you choose not to measure.

Jon Bird summarised the Westfield shopping tour highlights... too much to summarise here.  We refer you to Inside Retailing's special edition containing a report of the tour. 

Is anyone interested in a tour to meet the CIO's of world best practice retailers?   Josem is prepared to organise an event that covers the ever changing and fast moving technology space for retailers:

  • POS formats
  • Demand forceasting
  • Experiential technology
  • Supply chain and supporting channels of distribution
  • Traffic monitoring applications
  • Rostering techniques
  • Integrating online with store trading
  • Generating real shopper loyalty
  • Deriving value from cloud computing
  • Integrating best of breed point solutions
  • Applying Software As A Service thinking
  • Emerging hardware and software technologies from vendors
  • ITIL and IT as a service
  • Corporate ICT governance



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