Top US consumer trends Guru to speak at the Annual Shopping Centre Congress

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Daniel Levine, Consumer trends, Avant-Guide Institute Daniel Levine, Consumer trends, Avant-Guide Institute

Stewart Property

Consumer trends guru Daniel Levine of the Avant-Guide Institute in New York will speak at the 16th annual SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Congress at the Durban International Convention Centre next month, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

Levine will be addressing not only powerful social trends that drive retail spending patterns, but also the strategies retailers can employ to capitalize on them.

“It is a rare brand that is large enough, skilled enough or lucky enough to influence social trends all by itself. More commonly, companies and brands follow trends,” he says.

“That’s why it’s powerfully important for retailers to understand them.”

He adds that he and his team at the Institute help businesses understand what trends are motivating buying patterns, and how to develop innovative marketing strategies in response.

The Institute has a sizeable team of trend-spotters in SA who feedback information on all kinds of products, services and experiences that are new, unique or unusual in some way.

“Some of the innovations we see coming from SA – like cardless ATM withdrawals via mobile phone – are far ahead of the rest of the world,” says Levine.

“SA has a tradition of leadership, especially in Africa, and this is robustly exemplified in the world of trends.”

As for global trends, Levine points to online shopping as something that bricks-and-mortar retailers across the world are facing.

“What’s frustrating for traditional retailers is that online buying behaviour is often accompanied by ‘show-rooming’ where customers go to real stores to see and handle products, before actually buying them online,” he elaborates.

Levine promises to offer effective and innovative counter-trends that retailers can use to retain and build their customer base during his presentation in Durban.

Ken Reynolds, Regional Executive: Nedbank Corporate Property Finance Gauteng, echoes Levine’s comments, “while consumers have the option of online shopping, retailers should capitalise on their buying behavior which requires them to visit the store, by paying attention to factors such as design, layout and most importantly, the service provided.  This applies to the centre as a whole which we, at Nedbank Corporate Property Finance - amongst other criteria - take into consideration when granting finance for retail development.”

Delegates at the SACSC Congress this year will be among the first in the world to experience the Institute’s new user-generated trends web portal, WikiTrend.

The 16th annual SACSC Congress will be held at the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa from 19-21 September 2012.


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