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NZ industry comes together

The newly-formed Imaging Association of New Zealand (IANZ) held its first networking function for 2017 at the Progear showroom in Auckland, with over 30 imaging store owners and distributors attending.

Juanita Neville-Te Rito, The Retail Collective.

Last year the IANZ was formed to facilitate opportunities for people in the industry to network and discuss successes and challenges in this highly competitive market. 

To recognise the diversity of the industry IANZ invited Juanita Neville – Te Rito, founder and retailer extraordinaire from The Retail Collective, who spoke on delivering engaging experiences – from selling to seduction, and how to engage with customers at a personal level throughout the customer life cycle.

With a comprehensive background in all aspects of retail, Juanita has spent all her career as a retail marketer, strategist and within the business of retail communications and engagement.

Honourable mention: Juanita congratulated Graham & Jill Boswell (Snapshot in Hamilton), who have made some incredible changes to their store to attract, excite, inform, provide an environment of discovery and make it easy for consumers to come back again and again to engage and purchase. The coffee lounge at the front of the store connects with the community and provides another reason to visit the store – a great utilisation of the real estate!

Juanita bought to life insights, examples and experiences that were both powerful and refreshing, focusing on how retailers can reinvent their relationship with their customers to connect with their heart, mind and wallet.

‘There has been significant upheaval in the world of retail over the past decade. In fact, it has been the period of the biggest and most profound transformation in the history of retail. Retailing, just to be clear, is the selling of goods and services to customers and the photographic category is one that straddles both; specialised services and expertise plus the delivery of products.

‘Retail is cut-throat. Many retailers sell products and services that can be bought elsewhere. Many customers carry around information on their person to access anywhere/anytime to help guide their decisions. This then creates a wonderful landscape to explore the art of delivering engaging experiences,’ she said.

‘Touchpoints’ are important, and retailers need to understood their customer’s journey so they can ensure the correct products and experiences are there for the shopper and prolong the tale – the many touchpoints that can make them feel good, bad or indifferent.

As attention spans shrink (a recent study showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 to eight seconds – less than a goldfish), time is becoming increasingly more valuable, she said.

Retail today is no longer one-dimensional. It must comprise a whole ecosystem of virtual, digital and physical expressions of the offer.

Snapshot interior view from the front of the store.

‘Our shoppers have never before had such a complexity to their shopper journey and it can change each and every time. They are navigating their own way through shopping experiences in a time when then can buy anything and everything at the tap of a key. With the swipe of a screen we browse, pin, tweet, buy, compare products and provide star ratings.’

Juanita touched on the new shopper journey.

‘The implications mean that the “shopper journey” we historically thought about as linear, is actually more like a ping pong ball hitting touchpoints, unfolding anywhere, any time, on any device. This gives you, the retailer, a multitude of opportunities to connect with them. To survive in this new, complex, content-rich world and to convert shoppers into loyal advocates, it takes more than a traditional retailing strategy.’

Coffee at the front of the store and classes at the rear provide more touchpoints for customers.

She said there are key opportunities for independent imaging retailers: stand out; provide an enriched engagement; and become a community cornerstone.

‘It is all about delivering engaging experience, being authentic, have meaning, be distinctive, deliver seamlessly, being uncomplicated and deliver personalised relevant service,’ she said. Another important aspect is to look at your offering through the lens of your customers. 

‘Shoppers can be irrational and unpredictable but they do crave rich, seamless, engaging and frictionless experiences. They want to touch, feel, taste, smell and interact. Shoppers want to know about the authenticity of the product, or of you the retailer, that it is the real deal, that by buying from you is a good choice. They want to feel good about their purchase and that you didn’t “rip them off” – whether that be in not giving the right curation of choice, quality or value.’

The Snapshot kiosk area provides a far more pleasant, contemporary alternative to the mass merchant approach.

IANZ president Karen Chadderton said the association was heartened by the response received at the event by businesses, both retail and wholesale, wanting to join the organisation.

‘We would like to build a community of like-minded people so we can come together on occasions such as this to share ideas. It’s also important when you work in isolation that you can be part of something like IANZ,’ she said.

Readers are welcome to sign up to Juanita’s blog and by all means read some of the back issues. They are truly interesting and inspiring

To join IANZ, email
– Maryanne Dransfield, IANZ

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