We Ask the Expert: What’s Next?

Natasha Sholl By Natasha Sholl | 23 Jul 2019

Damian Madden, GM – Digital of The Woolmark Company, talks ROPO, voice, AR, global expansion, and where retailers should be focusing their efforts.

Ahead of Online Retailer Conference & Expo, we speak to Damian Madden, General Manager – Digital of The Woolmark Company about what’s next for e-commerce and why your staff are the key to innovation and driving growth:

What are the three top things that retailers should be implementing nowto plan for the future?

You should be looking at:

  1. Integrating voice totally across your offering both in terms of sales but also after sales.
  2. Using augmented reality as a channel.
  3. Shifting your concept of global growth from a country first plan to a people first plan.

Also, as a bonus tip, don’t always think about the customer, there are numerous staff facing innovations you can roll out that can have just as big an impact of your results.

What are the current major disruptors that brands and retailers need to be aware of? Can you plan for future disruption?

I think the shift to AR as a channel is key as it will allow customers to augment their own environments, taking some of the control away from the brands and they need to be comfortable with this. You also need to look at the rise of ROPO (research online, purchase offline) and the fact that retail is set to grow because younger generations want to return to stores for the experience they offer. Therefore it is important to ensure you maintain at least some focus on this in your strategy.

There is so much to get on top of when it comes to remaining competitive in the current (and future) landscape. How can / should brands and retailers block out the noise and focus on what is really important to them?

I would turn more power over to the staff. They aren’t only on the coalface so to speak but are also the main source of insight and innovation. They are really the key to driving growth in your business. So in terms of ‘noise’ just listen to what they are saying and work on making them feel an integrated part of your business.

Get on board early and lead the way or wait to see how everything plays out and learn from others? What’s your strategy when it comes to early adoption of new technology or trends?

It really depends on how closely it aligns with your current strategy. You certainly shouldn’t be jumping on something just because it’s the next thing. I always say to start with what you know, look at your history and see what technical innovations can fit in with that. If they do align however I would stress trying to be in as early as possible.

E-commerce: What’s next?  

A return to retail and the focus being shifted onto how brands can bond better with their consumers rather than appeal to them.

See Damian Madden present at Online Retailer on the topic – Ask and you shall receive: How to find your voice and sell more stuff. To see the full agenda for Online Retailer Conference & Expo (to be held 24-25 July at the ICC Sydney) or to buy tickets, click here.

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