Sunshine Coast Region: Our Essence

Opinion Piece: Conference tackles how to manage the changing retail face of retail

With technology and the sharing economy drastically altering the retail landscape, business owners only need to look at the decline of former retail giants like Blockbuster to recognise it’s never been more important to adapt to survive.

Small Business Week is a timely reminder to remain vigilant and informed, and I urge retailers to take steps to better understand the industry and future-proof their businesses.

The retail industry covers a broad range of sectors, business sizes, distribution models, legislation and market challenges. For this reason, as part of Small Business Week, the Sunshine Coast Business Council Retail Evolution Conference will explore what is happening across this expansive and, at times, complicated industry.

We are bringing together a broad range of business executives, academics, and bricks-and-mortar retail operators to share their industry experience, research and learnings while discussing the recent challenges and new opportunities in the retail space.

No doubt presenters will speak to the many myths and truths regarding the challenges retail face due to online competition and discuss using customer-focused retail and retail experiences as a competitive advantage.

The region is home to more than 2,000 retail businesses employing 15 to 20,000 full-time equivalent employees. These range from small, individually owned stores through to large complexes such as the Sunshine Plaza and Kawana Shoppingworld.

Sunshine Plaza alone offers over 3,000 jobs in more than 220 specialty stores and majors and department stores including Myer, Kmart, Target, Coles and mini majors BCC Cinemas and Best & Less. Often it is these major stores who set the benchmark and initiate the evolutionary changes in both technology and distribution models, impacting on smaller businesses and driving them to change.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council Retail Evolution Conference is intended to provide attendees with informed industry insights and we urge businesses to take hold of the opportunities offered as part of Small Business Week.

– Sandy Zubrinich Chair, Sunshine Coast Business Council