Former director general of the BRC took a look at the retail state of the nation

Stephen Robertson rounds off the conference at PCR Boot Camp

The conference section of the PCR Boot Camp closed with a keynote speech from the former director general of the British Retail Consortium, Robert Stephenson.

The theme of his keynote was the retail state of the nation and he examined how consumer spending had been a bit of a rollercoaster since 2008 as wages remained flat in the face of rising prices.

However, he also noted that on the retail front, the UK was leading the world in terms of e-commerce penetration in to the wider retail market, with 10 per cent recorded this year forecast to rise to 16 per cent by 2016.

In addition, he cited figures that show how online is now involved in around half of all retail purchases, whether this be Click&Collect, Home Delivery or research online prior to purchase, and noted that “the definition of retail might be online rather than bricks and mortar in the next ten years.”

The keynote also featured ways in which retailers could boost their own figures in the future despite the competition from retail. Most importantly was the fact that online sales could never replicate or replace good customer service.

He focussed on hiring the right people for your company and cited the quote from Apple’s head of talent, Dan Jacobs “I’d rather have a hole than an asshole in my team”, and reinforced the importance in finding out what customers needed and fulfilling those needs.

His keynotes rounded out a solid conference for the day, which saw a multitude of ideas on how to bring out the best in your business and how to connect with your customers.

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