Retail research poised for action

Research is driving retail sector expansion and evolution across the globe as cutting-edge information pinpoints the latest consumer trends to heighten the way we invest in new malls, stores, formats, sales channels and marketing experiences.

South Africa will put the latest retail research in the spotlight at the SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Research Conference in March 2013. This significant forum taps into the retail and research knowledge of top minds from across South Africa and the world.

Sponsored by Broll, this intensive one-day session combines forward-looking information from a line-up of leading lights in the retail business. Hard-hitting presentations will bring delegates up to speed with international best practice and trends.

Launched in 2011, this is the third SACSC Research Conference. “Despite being a recent addition to South Africa’s yearly retail calendar, its popularity has soared because of the quality and value of the information delivered,” says Amanda Stops, CEO of the SACSC. “It creates a much-needed opportunity to gain a global perspective on key retail trends, and embrace those relevant to South Africa’s future.”

This year the conference theme is ‘Moving forward to opportunities ahead’. The programme highlights shopper markets, consumer dynamics and the highly-competitive advance of retail in tandem with digital and online progress.

Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll says: “The relationship between malls, retailers and consumers is complex. This conference promotes a clear picture of the market in which our shopping centres and retailers operate. Inspiring new ways to survive and thrive, it uses research to give retailers, shopping centre owners, marketers, managers and developers the competitive edge.”

The programme is jam-packed with diverse topics from the science of shopping. But they all have a common goal: to promote better understanding of consumers and the future of South African retail.

Cees Bruggemans, FNB Consulting Economist will shine a light on the South African consumer in 2013 and economic prospects. “We can look forward to a slowly improving global environment. But we now need to consider the impact of increased business uncertainty in the local labour market and political backdrop,” says Bruggemans. Bruggemans will provide insightful analysis of conditions facing South African consumers with income, credit, employment and confidence developments.

Jayne Ashworth, Associate Director of Retailer Service for The Nielsen Company South Africa will give delegates a peak into new retail formats, channels, basket and private label trends. Ashworth points to consumer spending patterns, top performing retail categories, consumer confidence and retail advertising spend, as key drivers to watch.

Some of South Africa’s top shopping centre developers will come together in a lively panel discussion. They will debate the advantages of new types of retail centre developments over traditional ‘tried and tested’ models.

Professor John Simpson of UCT Unilever Institute will explore the key to unlocking the potential of South Africa’s biggest market. Vasudevan Kidambi of Navo will examine how technology is driving demographic changes.

Delegates can benefit from insights into online marketing research from Elna Smit of Columinate and new methods of doing market research based on international trends from Neal Best of Cushman & Wakefield. Busi Mahlaba of Primedia Lifestyle will pivot on using market research to shape shopping centre marketing strategy.

“South Africa’s retailers and its shopping centre community will be able to put all this research into action, to benefit the entire sector and our consumers. The SACSC Research Conference is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to engage with and learn from the best,” says Stops.

The SACSC’s third Research Conference takes place on Tuesday the 12th of March 2013 at Johannesburg Hilton Sandton.

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