Articles

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, So Who Is The Cheapest Of Them All?

For months we are been surrounded by a wall of noise – mainly from media commentators and investment analysts who have loud opinion but no real idea – about the ‘power of Amazon’ and how it’s online model will crush all before it. Now we get to see the reality for ourselves. But an interesting study came to light recently that sheds new light on the survivability of the Amazon model into the medium and long term.

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It’s All In The Detail.

After twenty years of marriage you develop a form of shorthand communication with your life partner that doesn’t require overt threats. A look or subtle noise conveys the message – loud and clear. So it was with a friend of mine recently whose wife made it very obvious that he was dragging the chain somewhat on completing a backyard project to her high, but not unreasonable standards. So he went into full-on commando mode – as you do – and ripped into the project full steam.

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Not Being Online Can Be Liberating.

Throughout the history of retail we’ve had the innovators, the fast followers, the consolidators and the lemmings. Someone pioneers a new initiative. A group of exploiters copy it without really understanding it. A clever group work out how they can improve it. And when it becomes a thing, the lemmings blindly follow it. Many of them over a cliff. This phenomenon can easily be applied to e-commerce or its later incarnation – omni-channel retail.

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Christmas Retail – What A Turkey!

Some major – and not so major – retailers began selling Christmas in July. Not just a few items, but a whole range of products starting filling the shelves a whole four months before customers are really ready to get their heads into the ‘spirit of the season’. Combine that with the annual July toy sales period and you have a call on customer’s conscious shopping that is disconnected with the very idea of the emotion of the season.

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When An Idea Is Healthy, It Has A Better Chance At Success.

With the overwhelming bulk of retail operators today seemingly formulaic and functional, the retail concepts that have a genuine idea executed with integrity stand out. One such concept is a new fast food brand called Health Freak Café. Founded by Perth business identity Victoria Carbone, this new food option presents customers with what appears to me to be a first. A wide range of truly healthy food that is mouth wateringly tasty and cool.

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Love Is Not The Four-Letter Word You Associate With Banks.

Some of our big four banks have recently been spending a great deal of shareholders money on the endeavours of their marketing departments to make them ‘loved’. An exercise in utter futility. As a former chief marketing officer of a bank I can tell you first hand that Australians have and never will ‘love’ their banks. And to cap off this pointless waste, you have announcements like the recent one from NAB to announce record profits and mass lay-offs of 6,000 staff in the same sentence. A breathtaking display of complete ignorance of any other stakeholder group than institutional shareholders.

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Technology Desperate To Be Liked.

Retail has never been easy, but in its 3,000-year existence it has very simple and straightforward drivers. Every day retailers roll-up the shutters and set out to sell their wares to customers who must be convinced to part with their hard earned cash for what they perceive as value. Every transaction is another interaction, another experience that proves relevance. When I pay for the goods and services I buy, it is a vote that I like what you offer. Great retailers have always relied on the instant feedback of the cash register to tell them how they are doing – right now, today, every day.

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We Have The Wrong Attitude To Retail Ambition In This Country.

A recent article in the Australian Financial Review took a shot at retail brand Kikki.K’s “ambitious international expansion” and the early establishment costs of that overseas expansion. It pointedly commented on the obvious by stating “the Melbourne based retailer lost $8.4 million in 2017, after losing $5.1 million in 2016, as start-up costs overseas offset earnings growth in Australia”.

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A Billion Dollars For Car Manufacturing Mr. Shorten. How Much For Retail Manufacturing?

As the Australian car manufacturing industry spluttered its last gasp, Bill Shorten announced that – should his labour government ever be elected into power – he would establish a $1 billion dollar investment fund for new initiatives in car manufacturing. Lets be clear here. Australia has never had a competitive edge in the manufacturing of new cars for the mass market. It is also an industry that directly employed – at its peak – less than 100,000 Australians.

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Global Sourcing Has Stuffed Fashion – Globally.

Like all good things, global sourcing was a seductive morsel that led to a kind of economic gluttony that has had huge ramifications. Most of them for the worse. While the idea of sourcing at a lower cost than a business could make themselves on paper looks like an obvious endeavour to exploit, taken to the level that has now occurred, the only sustainable benefits have been achieved by the owners of the factories and supply chain providers to which production and distribution has been outsourced.

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