In 2019 I attended the World Retail Congress in Amsterdam.
As I explored the fireside chats, the big stage interviews and panel discussions I couldn't help but feel a sense of magic in the air, especially in the first day!
Some of the speakers included Tatyana Bakalchuk, Sinead Burke, Tommy Kelly, Wouter Kolk, Judith McKenna, James Rhee, Marc Rosen and Mark Rutte who delivered the Keynote.
One could say, the heavyweights of the retail world!
Many main stage talks were hosted by a BBC presenter, Naga Munchetty.
All presenters and speakers were wonderful, I gained a wealth of insights and enjoyed mingling with circles of people in the industry.
From an attendee point of view, the whole event ran really well.
One of the messages; as you can see from the photo I took was 'where ideas go global' and I truly bought into that message - THIS was the event that would radically invigorate and transform retail, taking brands out of the struggle and into the stratosphere - at high velocity!
What a time to be alive! I was feeling like Mrs Retail, the CEO of Retail, the person who would make all of this happen!
I know, I can get excited and a little starry eyed with retail - I am after-all, the happiest retailer on the planet...
During the sessions, I heard stories of:
Connecting brands to Gen Z
How to reinforce customer relations
Disrupt or be disrupted
Culture of innovation
...and on and on. The schedule was packed.
There were plenty of leanings on offer and opportunities to network and create HUGE ripples of impact throughout the world of retail.
Fast forward to today, May 2021.
2019 more than 9,000 stores closed in the US alone
2020 more than 15,000 stores closed in the US (according to Forbes)
13,000+ people lot their jobs with the recent collapse of Arcadia.
That is enormous. Catastrophic. Unacceptable and an absolute tragedy.
It angers me to the core.
Here are just a few brands that have, over the years, disappeared, undergone huge closures or forecast to radically reduce their footprint this year/next year:
Toys R Us
Is retail a safe industry to work in?
What are future leaders currently thinking about the industry?
Is it any wonder that Millenials and Gen Z are choosing remote based roles; such as their own online businesses. Kids aged 8 are making 6 figures with ease through Youtube!
Other career choices are drop shopping products, affiliate marketing, influencing on socials, freelancing and more.
The opportunity to live a life on your own terms has never been easier.
So what would the appeal be to a twenty something to come and work at a retail store, only to be at risk of closure?
Where are the future leaders of retail?
If you have talent in your retail stores, now is the time to radically look after them.
In NEW ways, ways that have never been offered in the past.
Retail teams, in my opinion, are the most important part of your business.
They have direct influence over anyone stepping into your store.
They literally hold the power to convert that person into a sale - or impact the customer in such a way that could turn them away. I have left stores because of poor service and I can bet either you have or you know someone. This compounds and the result could contribute to closure.
Happier teams = happier customers = more sales = OMNI growth
Sadly, the reasons why retail turnover is considerably higher then the supporting corporate office comes down to these:
Mismanagement of expectations
Lack of learning and development
The International Retail Academy was born out of PURE PASSION for the industry
To fill the huge gaps that exist
To motivate, inspire and build competencies of teams
To see the high-streets thriving and stores buzzing with expertise and energy
I may not have been on the stage at the Retail Congress, but I felt just as every bit responsible to build a better future for retail.
Where ideas will go global, to accelerate your teams and leaders!
Are you ready?