Retail leaders tackle new frontiers in the science of shopping

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Natalie Berg from Planet Retail UK. Natalie Berg from Planet Retail UK.

Stewart Property

Multi-channel retailing – or selling to the public through a mix of shops, online or catalogue – is dominating retailer strategies around the world.

This trend, and others, will be explored at the SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Research Conference in March 2012, which includes two hard-hitting presentations by international retail experts.

Natalie Berg from Planet Retail in the UK will provide a global perspective on key retail trends, and what may impact South Africa in the future. Berg points to private label, multi-channel and customer endorsement as key trends to watch. Colin Buxton of Toolbox Marketing, in the UK and Europe, will discuss how on the fittest retailers survive, even with multi-channel retailing and marketing.

The intensive one-day session combines insight from some of the best minds in the retail business. Leading lights from across SA and the world will bring delegates up to speed with international best practice and trends.

Introduced in 2011, this is the second SACSC Research Conference. “Based on the inaugural success of this focused, interactive event, it will become an annual feature on SA’s retail calendar,” says Amanda Stops, general manager of the SACSC. “It creates a much-needed opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest in sound retail tactics.”

This year the conference is themed ‘Surviving and thriving in the future’. It brings the complex relationship between retailers and consumers into the spotlight, with its knowledgeable programme of speakers facilitating a better understanding of consumers.

SACSC Research Committee Chairman and Research Conference Chairman Dr Dirk Prinsloo explains that retail success takes a combination of research, innovation and intuition. “The conference highlights research to enable conference-goers to better understand the market in which shopping centres and retailers operate,” says Prinsloo. “We hope that this knowledge will also inspire retail innovation.”

Retail contributes significantly to the SA economy. Even the simplest decisions – from advertising a promotion to selecting a site – can make or break a retailer or shopping centre. This can have a significant knock-on economic affect.

Prinsloo explains the programme considers macro and micro sector dynamics, to give retailers, shopping centre owners, marketers, managers and developers the competitive edge. Besides a focus on retail and consumer trends, the conference takes a peek into the future of the retail sector.

Tapping into the wealth of home-grown knowledge, Chris Moerdyk of Moerdyk Marketing and Media will introduce delegates to the consumer of the future. Professor John Simpson of UCT Unilever Institute will bring SA’s most affluent consumers into the spotlight to achieve a greater understanding of the top-end consumer market.

New technology, like geographic information systems (GIS), as a tool for better retail decision making, will be explored by Magnus Rademayer of Afrigis. Drawing from his own experiences, retired retailer Brand Pretorius will look at ways of surviving and thriving in tough times – a topic which will resonate with many retailers in the current challenging economic climate.

Hein Wagner will give a surprisingly different perspective on retail – a blind man’s shopping experience. Blind adventurer and motivational speaker Wagner will leave delegates with something to think about as he introduces them to “A blind man with vision”.

“SA’s retailers and its shopping centre community will engage with and learn from the best at the SACSC Research Conference, and put research into action,” notes Prinsloo.

 


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