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Why are department stores struggling? A Retail Panel Podcast

NRA CEO, Dominique Lamb, joins Steve Austin, Christine Moody, and Gary Mortimer each week on ABC Radio to discuss and share insights into the retail industry, including technology trends and what it takes to survive in a disruptive environment.

This week, the panel discussed how department stores have been struggling in recent times with the explosion of online shopping, and over a thousand stores have subsequently closed over the past two years.

While some affected brands have lost their way in a growing competitive market and the entry of cheaper products from overseas, the panel discussed the success of brands like Darrell Lea, who have brought themselves back around by going back to basics – focusing on what their consumers love most.

Business is also booming for electronic goods store JB Hi Fi. JB Hi Fi provides value to a strong customer following and offers a great selection under one roof, with personalised service and the ability for customers to have their questions answered.

Discussion also steered towards the elephant in the room, Amazon.  The retail giant is patiently waiting in the wings, observing, collecting data and working out where they are going to head. Most businesses look to the next business quarter, but Amazon is looking five years down the track. Advancements like Amazon Go, their new venture where customers walk in, grab products and walk out, with no checkout or long lines holding them back highlighted the new retail future.

Where to next?

The Retail Panel also discussed upcoming technology trends, including:

  • ‘Smart wardrobes’ that know your weight, the weather outside, and what clothes you’ve got, and will suggest an outfit to you.
  • Virtual reality technology used to unify the benefits of online and in-store shopping.
  • Communication between online reviews written by consumers in-store where you can snap a photo of something pull up the reviews of a particular product while in store before you buy it, making sure you get the right product.

 You can listen to the podcast every Thursday on ABC Radio from 5pm or Listen here!

Steve Austin is joined by retail experts Christine Moody from Brand Audits, Dominique Lamb from the National Retail Association and Gary Mortimer from QUT’s School of Business to discuss these issues and more.