EDGE 2015 - We’re living in a world of disruption in commerce: Bernie Brookes

Says this will change the way industries operate
Bernie Brookes delivers his keynote at EDGE 2015

Bernie Brookes delivers his keynote at EDGE 2015

There have been three disruptions in commerce and they will change the way industries will operate if they haven’t already, according to former Myer CEO, Bernie Brookes.

He was speaking at a keynote session at ARN’s inaugural EDGE 2015 event in Port Douglas.

According to Brookes, the three disruptions consist of the move to self serving, the introduction of bar codes or scanning (which has given rise to data mining), and the growth if the World Wide Web.

“The Implications of these have been significant and will continue to have a monstrous effect in the way people think, shop, and accept things. A whole lot of industries will be or have gone through that change,” he said.

Brookes mentioned that industries such as media, travel, and retail are in the midst of this change and claimed the next area to see it is the medical field.

“It’s all about immediacy – having it quick and making it available fast. The move is from bricks and mortar to online and mobility has been a big part of that. There isn’t an industry that will be untouched soon,” he said.

Brookes claimed that understanding the disruption is the first step. This is followed by the need to understand the customer.

“The new shopper is living by the clock – they want everything now, immediately from online. They are also becoming more frugal and want self-expression. That’s the immediacy, that’s the currency and that’s the new norm.”

He also indicated that with those two chunks of information, businesses have to also keep in mind competitive pressures that are occurring within the retail space. He said there are a number of impacts, including the presence of an omni-channel.

“The customer now has the choice to either seamlessly shop online, in store, or both. The change in the Australian dollar is another because it changes the purchasing patterns of people.

“There is also the issue of cost pressures – such as cost of tax, labour, and compliance. We’re also seeing specialty retail emerging and the emergence of international players in Australia,” he claimed.

As such, to manage disruption well, Brookes suggested businesses integrate bricks and mortar with online to successfully market themselves. They should also introduce mobility, make use of data mining and use DNA tracking to build their database.

In addition to the need to invest in e-commerce, he also highlighted the need for businesses to build on their loyalty programs, compete more to stay on price, rethink routes to market, manage cost impacts, build on employee engagement, have something new and unique to market, and be highly innovative.

“Businesses need to be innovative not when things are tough but when things are well. Being consumer led is also another attribute businesses need to have, so whatever you invest on research, double it.”

He also mentioned other things like improving the speed of doing things, having a first mover advantage, stepping up levels of communication, rewarding staff, improving the art of being a merchant, understanding and learning from competition, internal transparency, and having a whole of business strategy.

“Traditional retail growth is dying, and growth is going to come from e-commerce. There’s no doubt that there’s an enormous disruption coming and it’s only going to become faster, and harder. Therefore, you need to think about ways to cut through it,” he added.