In this special online series with Fordham, ragtrader.com.au sits down for five fast questions with five industry leaders. Here, the CEO of one of the biggest footwear groups in Australia talks innovation.
Accent Group CEO: Daniel Agostinelli
What were some of the omnichannel milestones/achievements for Accent Group this year?
We have had many this year, starting with the introduction of click and collect, click and dispatch and then same day delivery. Now we have endless aisle, which essentially allows our team to view the entire company stockholding. This is an amazing customer order system.
How was the retail climate this year and how do you see it going into 2019?
This year has been a little up and down but as we have announced to the market we are doing everything we can to avoid “lazy retailing” i.e. less discounting than ever before. This has led to lower comp sales, but definitely better margins and in turn, more profits.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for Accent Group going into the Christmas trading period?
We see our latest 40 new stores that we opened this year will be trading through the all-important December/January period. Our overall new product pipeline is looking exciting and we obviously hope our customers will like what they see. We also see some great growth opportunities via all of our eCommerce online sites.
What will be some of the strategic goals for 2019? Are there any more brand acquisitions or rollouts planned?
We will continue to strengthen our technology capabilities to ensure we further strengthen stock control. We also plan to strengthen our capability of running our two new “Super Stores” being Platypus Melbourne Central and Platypus Pitt Street. As well as that, we would like to at some point have one to two stores in an international market, most likely Singapore.
What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead for retailers?
eCommerce is growing faster than we ever expected, therefore the challenge for all retailers is that the continued investment in this area will be critical to ensure all customers are able to receive this new service they now demand. At the same time, our stores must continue to evolve and be innovative towards what our customers expect of them, so therefore investing in stores is also critical .