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It's about confidence
23 October 2014

It's about confidence

I was in replenishment shopping mode when I dropped in to (I will name names) David Jones in Chatswood Chase last weekend to buy a black suit. It shouldn't be hard- I know my brand, style and size. But the whole experience- from needy sale racks blocking the entrance to lighting that made navy and black indistinguishable to the self service experience in the dressing rooms- seemed designed to put me off the idea. In the end I just couldn't bring myself to give them my money.
Nearby Williams Sonoma, on the other hand, oozes self confidence. It looks great, sounds great, and even tastes great. Before long I was spending money on stuff I actually didn't need.
Australian retail seems to lack the confidence to achieve this. Our retailers used to travel to see the Williams Sonomas of the world, then produce pale imitations here. That used to be good enough. Now the world has come to us and the bar has been raised. It's time we stopped benchmarking and started having our own ideas.
We can use all the limitations of the Australian marketplace- small market size, high staff costs and expensive fitout costs- as creative parameters to develop confident, innovative, and uniquely Australian retail concepts. Concepts that the rest of the world will travel here to benchmark. And we Australians are just the people to do it- let's get going!
Gary McCartney
23 October 2014
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