More than 800 retailers composed of CEOs, presidents, and top-level executives listened to some of the newest insights and freshest ideas from global retail experts at the 26th National Retail Conference and Stores Asia Expo (NRCE) last Aug. 15-16 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.
With the theme “Retail Reimagined” the 26th NRCE gathered the best in retail business, market research and intelligence, and technology and innovation to create a hub of knowledge in a two-day event and give practical tips to attendees on how they can reimagine their respective retail businesses.
“There is a paradigm shift in a pace that has never occurred in history. Whatever the trend today, may be outdated in the next few weeks or months. So, it is imperative that we always try to be on the lookout for something new, but at the same time, these ‘new’ additions should be relevant to the people we serve,” said Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) President Rosemarie Ong.
“Having witnessed both the beauty of genuine care and technology in providing excellent service and experience for the customer, I realized how wonderful the potential of combining the Filipino brand of service and global innovation. This will help our industry flourish and become more powerful,” she added.
PRA is the recognized trade association of retailers and retail suppliers in the country that organizes the NRCE annually.
Global tech evangelist on today’s retail state
Technology evangelist Jesus Vega opened the NRCE 26th edition with emphasis on the importance of collecting and analyzing data to give customers personalized and customized experiences. He said that retailers should treat consumers as friends and give them unique treatment according to their needs.
PLDT Alpha FVP and head Vic Tria talked about the retail practices of the next generation; while Amazon Web Services head of Digital Innovation Jaspal Johl shared the journey of innovation in the company, with the goal of easing some pain points for the customers.
Geislermaclang founder and chief communications officer Amor Maclang shared the importance of preparing in advanced for crisis; while Amazon Web Services Partner Segment lead for Cognitive CX (ASEAN) Simon Burke talked about innovating customer experience; and Tofugear Retail analyst Tiffany Lung shared some tips how the local retailers can become the next top retailer in the country.
From local to global: the metamorphosis of Regatta
Golden ABC chief marketing officer Alice Liu shared the inspiring transformation of Regatta as a homegrown brand to now a global modern leisure wear brand.
Trend specialist from WGSN Charlie Clark opened the second day with a talk on the things that consumers look from retailers today. She also said that building trust and having a stand on important issue including climate change are important to draw consumers to your brand.
Mintel (Singapore) Elysha Young talked about some of the forward-looking retailers across Asia, while Zebra Technologies Retail Solutions marketing lead George Pepes talked about empowering the frontliners to provide patrons ease and excellent customer experience while in store.
Nikki Baird, the VP for Retail Innovation at Aptos gave real life samples of digital strategies in the stores while US-Certified Neuroscience coach Ben Ampil talked about the importance of using neuroscience in learning about the preferences of customers.
The Nielsen Company executive director for Shopper Insights Lead focused on the upcoming generation of consumers—the Gen Z, who she said are visual creatures, artistic, and are always online, but crave authenticity.
Malherbe Design sales director for APAC Region Christophe Renoul talked about different strategies retailers can do in store to improve engagement and sales, while Checkpoint Systems VP and managing director Mark Gentle shared the importance of data and RFID in retail.
Panel discussions with business leaders and influencers
The day 1 ended with a lively discussion with next generation leaders Cristalle Belo-Pitt of Belo Essentials, Toby Claudio of Toby’s Sports, Xandra Ramos-Padilla of National Book Store, Hans Sy, Jr. of SM-EDD, and Sam Gregory Lim of Blims Furniture, with Prof. Enrique Soriano III as the moderator. They shared how they started getting involved in the business and how they discuss business matters within the family.
The day 2 panel discussion, on the other hand, offered audience tips on what brands should remember when engaging with influencers for their marketing. Panelists include some of the country’s top vloggers and bloggers such as Joyce Pring, Jako De Leon, Rod Magaru, Dems Angeles, and Kaycee Enerva, with Blogapalooza CEO Ace Gapuz as the moderator.
Side-by-side the main stage event is the breakout session dubbed as Retail Spotlight which featured topics specialized on supermarket and digital transformation for day 1 and day 2, respectively.
Fresh retail tech featured at the Stores Asia Expo
To complement the conference, the Stores Asia Expo featured “tools for global retailing” from exhibitors offering products and solutions for the retail industry such as retail solutions, e-commerce & m-commerce, shop fittings & store design, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, commercial and real estate developers, web developers, non-traditional advertising, financial services, storage and distribution, market research, HR solutions, and billboard locations, among others.
The Stores Asia Expo, which is the biggest in the Philippines and is one of the longest running retail suppliers’ expo in Asia, has drawn more than 3,000 visitors and decision makers from the retail and related industries.
Talks on the latest innovations in retail also took place at the Retail Learning Lab inside the expo hall.