For the customer experience.

Connecting with customers across online and bricks-and-mortar channels came to the fore at a retail industry event in Sydney, hosted by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

The overriding manifesto was that a brand is only as strong as the experience it creates for its customers and the need to find new ways of connecting with customers by creating that ‘experience’.

Accent Group chief executive, Daniel Agostinelli said retailers had to respond by becoming “customer obsessed” and finding the right environment for them. “What they want is now. We are about to launch after hours next day delivery and Saturday delivery, but these services come at a cost.

“We are looking for growth at all times, but it is not easy to get and is getting harder. What we are trying to do is spread our wings in our little world and play in most of the markets that is footwear.  Finding what is new and innovative that will resonate with the consumer. Creating the theatre in the store and the experience the consumer is getting, and get their attention,” he said.

Caption: Daniel Agostinelli (Accent Group), Erica Berchtold (The Iconic) and Peter Allen (Scentre Group).

“We are always on the lookout for the mix to create that theatre.  Recently a music artist launched a new single in one of the stores. You may not get sales on the day but you start to get customer loyalty.”

Scentre Group, CEO, Peter Allen said customers have become more selective and more interested in spending on the experience. “Retail is a dynamic industry but nothing is constant. Retail is about change. And we have to predict what that change is going to be in order to connect with the customer. The experience is emotional and this connection is important and having the right retailers with the right services.”

Allen said customers are also willing to pay more for a good experience and an example of this was the growth in valet parking.” Convenience it would seem goes with the experience.

The Iconic CEO, Erica Berchtold said it was critical to have a range that makes the consumer feel good and meets their expectations. “We have over 1000 brands which can be overwhelming for the customer and how to assist customers navigating their way through that is essential because customers don’t like having to wait.” Customers have also become more specific about when a product is to be delivered, she said.