As far as a year goes, we get the same number of days and yet it appears sometimes that days, even months seem to have sped by so fast that we get to this time of the year and wonder if surely this year we missed something. Yet again, with 2 weeks until the jolly fat man in his red suit makes an appearance I’ve had to bring out “next year I’ll be more organised”.
2013 has been an interesting year both personally for the team at Retail Connect and for the retail environment in New Zealand and, as the saying goes “the only thing constant in retail is change”.
For the Retail Connect girls we were excited to launch our new company with a focus on getting alongside independent retailers and small businesses and offering guidance and support to survive in grow in the jungle which is retail. And while our core focus hasn’t changed, how it is rolling out is somewhat different to our carefully laid plans, and that’s all good, we love a challenge! Turns out we are #nowtechgeeks (cue much hilarity in EziBuy IT department).
And as we evolved as a company so too did the New Zealand retail sector continue to evolve and change. Our largest Omni-Channel Retailer was sold to the Aussies, the Australian invasion continued though our ANZAC friends are not as bold as previous years, another manufacturer shut its doors, The Warehouse continued to roll out a strategy which I believe will change the face of retail in New Zealand, men continued to rule the sector and one of our largest women’s retailers continued to sadly lose market share.
Omni-channel, bricks and clicks, fast fashion, showrooming, pop-up and big data continue to the terms bandied about on everyone’s lips, but has anyone stopped to think how our small to medium retailers can embrace the changing face of retail. Can 95% of the retail sector, the forgotten independent retailer survive the change? In the September issue of Apparel they asked “will there be independent multi-brand boutiques in ten years?” and the responses were 50/50 on the future of our independent retailers. It’s sad to think we are even having the conversation, but with the tide of change in our retail sector it is a prospect if we can’t ignore.
What hasn’t changed in 2013 is that Retail Connect continues to be passionate about providing the expertise to help our small-medium retailers survive and grow, we believe that New Zealand needs strong independent retailers to create a vibrant sector and will be working business by business to change the face of retail. Bring on 2014 and the challenges and victories that it will bring.