The Leading Edge Group has revealed changes to its operating model to provide a wider range of support for its 900 plus, independent retail members.
Following an 18-month review of its operations, the group recognised it needed to update its operating model to continue to succeed in the current retail environment.
Among the findings of the study, Leading Edge found that the greatest challenges faced by Australian independent retailers includes competition from other bricks and mortar retailers as well as online retailers.
This is in addition to delivering an effective digital strategy, margin pressures, driving in‐store foot traffic and finding the time to meet the overwhelming demands of running a small business.
To address those challenges, Leading Edge will make changes to the buying group function while the responsibility of marketing, customer service, member recruitment, operations and conferences will go towards a newly formed retail services team, being ultimately removed from the category team.
“The new model will enhance the current buying group function through improvements to the way we work and introducing additional services in marketing, retail operations, training and HR,” said Struan Abernethy, group CEO of Leading Edge Group.
"First and foremost, we needed to break down the silos that we had within the business to enable our category team to focus on their core Buying Group responsibility and bring in experts to deliver these additional services.
"The category team now has the one and only focus of developing beneficial buying relationships between our members and supply partners."
With these changes, Abernethy said Leading Edge is "confident" the business will deliver benefits to members and supply partners.
On top of that, Leading Edge will also introduce in‐field relationship managers, a customer service team, a conferences and events team, along with enhanced marketing, retail operations and HR teams.