Brian Walker

Launched by Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), this year’s 28th annual retail conference was organised at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre and aptly themed Insight, Intelligence, Innovate! No less than 400 retailers, traders, and educators attended the one-day event.

I was among many other esteemed speakers from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Australia.

As the founder of RDG in the Australasian markets, I was invited to share my substantial senior experience in specialty retail, franchising, and shopping centre sectors, as well as to discuss my leadership techniques as applied in different multi-channel retail arenas.

I was delighted to attend and the crowd too were excited and engaged.

I spoke very much on the future of retail. Certainly looking at those (Amazon and Alibaba) models, and the way that retailers are adapting and embracing the future and building more future-proof retail offers. However, we also took time to reflect on how small to medium retailers face heavy competition, not just from those models but also from the larger standing global retailers entering into the Asiatic retail market, and so it was an opportunity to discuss the proven steps of business fitness and helping retailers build their Omni-channel retail ecosystem strategy.

Omni-channel strategies are helping retailers make a real change.

With the entire retail industry facing disruption due to today’s fast-moving and technology-fuelled customer behaviour, only those who learn to adapt, innovate, and embrace digitisation will remain relevant and sustainable. Omni-channels provide a viable answer to this challenge.

The highlight and focus of Insight, Intelligence, Innovate, in my view, was exactly on viable Omni-channel retail ecosystems. All the key conference speakers shared their experience with the Asian retail market, imparting knowledge to retailers of all levels.

Singapore’s Minister of Trade Mr Chan Chun Sing spoke of his experience as well.

In his opening address, Mr Chan Chun Sing reflected on the volatile climate that the Singaporean retail market is currently going through, as well as the role of digital trade and ecommerce in today’s Singapore – the same challenges that are currently disrupting Australian and global retail.

In that context, I was especially excited to discuss the rise of digital Amazon and Alibaba models and the growth of integrated retail ecosystems and platforms.

The importance of cashless retail stores, which are a very important part of the digital trade, was also stressed on several occasions in relation to how Omni-channels should be executed.

My presentation highlighted the practical value of the conference. Implementing this strategy was also part of the theme and narrative of the conference, so those who attended certainly received great highlights and great business fitness tips.

In hindsight, Insight, Intelligence, Innovate! was all about understanding the different ways retailers could contribute to producing best in class retail for the Singaporean market. It was indeed a brilliant and informative conference for all 400 engaged attendees.