Leading Edge Retail recently held its first All-Member National Conference at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, bringing participants together across all its categories.

After a short hiatus due to the pandemic, the three-day event saw hundreds of small businesses, suppliers, and industry leaders gathered in person to connect and learn about issues and trends shaping the future of retail.

“The conference was about connecting independent small retailers and leveraging the power of a connected community. The Leading Edge Retail #LocalLikeUs initiative brings local businesses together across industries to share, learn and grow, whilst attracting more customers to their stores through exclusive offers and benefits,” Leading Edge Retail general manager of marketing, Olivia Anderson said.

“There was an overwhelming sense of community and belonging, and the knowledge that no matter what small businesses face, they can depend on the strength of their peers, suppliers and partners to help them grow.”

Masterclasses run by key leaders from Google, TikTok, Ingram Micro, LPC, and AFS Business Brokers, shared best practices and tried-and-tested strategies for small retail businesses.

In her keynote address, National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb underlined the importance of community when faced with challenges.

“At the end of the day, we are an ecosystem and within your local communities, you play a large part in the lifeblood of those communities. It’s certainly a difficult time to decide to stay in business. I think the key here is, again, your local communities and those relationships that you have with your customers. It’s about what you know about them and what you can provide them is going to be different to other stores in your local area and other competitors that you may be up against,” she told conference participants.

The conference’s trade show featured over 40 suppliers representing hundreds of brands, showcasing new and upcoming products and services at discounted prices for conference participants.

A series of mini-tech talks were held with suppliers who shared insights into new technologies that can benefit customers and organisations, as well as current trends that can improve how entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses.

Leading Edge Retail also recognised members who ran a successful business despite the challenges of the past two years.

Winners include Barcaldine Leading Appliances for Appliances, Paperbark Merchants for Books, Esperance Communications for Computers, Leading Edge Gladstone Hi-Fi for Electronics, Hum on King for Entertainment and Phil Peel Jewellers for Jewellery. Dynamic Supplies, Electrolux, Powertec and Ikon Collectibles were also presented with the Supplier of the Year award.

“It’s a delight to see the excitement and participation from the members, suppliers, and partners after two years at the conference. It’s a truly fitting display of our spirit of community, support, and learning. Considerable efforts by all our partners and our team have made the conference successful, and we look forward to the next one in 2023,” Leading Edge Retail general manager of category, Charlie Davey said.

The Leading Edge Retail Conference was made possible with the support of HP, Leader, Pax8, AudioXtra, Audio-Technica, Ingram Miro, Dynamic Suppliers, Ikon Collectibles, Renpho and Sony Music.

Margaret Terry from Leading Edge Retail head office accepting the award on behalf of Barcaldine Leading Appliances.
Member of the Year (Books): Paperbark Merchants.
Member of the Year (Computers): Esperance Communications.
Member of the Year (Electronics): Leading Edge Gladstone Hi-Fi.
Member of the Year (Entertainment): HUM on King.
Charlie Davey from Leading Edge Retail head office accepting the award on behalf of Phil Peel Jewellers.
Supplier of the Year: Dynamic Supplies.
Supplier of the Year: Electrolux Home Products.
Supplier of the Year: Powertec.
Supplier of the Year: Ikon Collectables.