Paul's Blog

The good news just keeps coming - New Retail rocks! February 24, 2016 11:00

It has been a great few weeks in the Australian retail landscape. Starting with the big end of town, the buoyant reporting results from Pacbrands, Speciality Fashion Group, RCG, and many others reflect a new tailwind.

Don’t do what Amazon does, do the opposite! January 25, 2016 22:00

When I was running DealsDirect in the noughties, the saying especially amongst pure play retailers was always “ do what Amazon does”  - A recognition that Amazon was ( and is) setting the bar of best practice and if you broadly tracked their methodologies albeit on a much smaller scale of course, you were on the right track. Wrong.

Don’t mistake "service" with "servile" January 23, 2016 13:30

I have been in New York for the last week. I am a regular visitor to the Big Apple and continue to marvel at the level of service here. Restaurants, retail, and hospitality - I have felt like a king for the week.

Naturally, my mind wanders to why we are not able to replicate that level on service, on the main, in Australia? Is it because our higher structural costs means less associates on the floor? Or because we don’t have the ‘tip and gratuity’ culture that the US has? Is our training in retail and hospitality not at the same level as the US? Or because we don’t have the ‘scale’ and size of the population?

Stop hiding behind your company’s brand – step out January 21, 2016 21:00

I have spent the last few days at the NRF Retail Big Show in New York.  And reflected on how the successful retail brands usually have a personal face sitting behind, or indeed, in front, of the corporate brand.

The Windscreen is always bigger than the rear-view Mirror – In Defence of Masters January 21, 2016 15:30

Let me start, with my conclusion - The decision by the Woolworths board and management to launch Masters was a sound one. A very sound idea indeed. That the strategy and execution was flawed, is now patent.

EQ, not IQ, is the new currency of Retail September 2, 2015 16:00

Australia has long been known colloquially as the “Clever Country.” I broadly believe this assertion to be true. We have a tier one education system, an enquiring and inventive national psyche, and are proving to be world leaders in technology adoption.


Being a Cheerleader for Australian Retail just got Easier August 24, 2015 19:29

I am attending the World Retail Congress in Rome from the 8th-10th September. Flying the NORA flag has always been a privilege since our inception less than three short years ago. But being an advocate, indeed a cheerleader for an Australian technology led, customer centric and global retail just seems to be getting easier.

I was browsing through the World Retail Awards finalists. Global awards of course. First up, eCommerce Retailer of the Year, and in the handful of finalists, Appliances Online and Michael Hill are right up there. Young Retailers of the Year, John Winning deservedly makes the cut. Read more...

The Flat World is our Friend, Not our Foe August 17, 2015 14:30

Taxation equity is an emotive topic. As a result, the discussions around the lowering of the GST threshold on imported goods from the current $1000, creates heated debate. The issue has a number of levels and cannot be responded to in a simple way. Read more...

Pride is the New Retail Currency January 22, 2015 04:18

My first email after landing in sunny Sydney this morning was from the editor of Power Retail. My brief: write a piece about the big ‘take homes’ from the NRF Big Show, which finished up in snowy New York City last week.

Despite the vastness of the event, around thirty five thousand attendees, I always try to hone on the one or two big things at these mega events. So, I guess I could write about the convergence of physical and digital retail and the number of keynotes that referenced that. Yes, there is a new word folks, “phygital”!  Read more...

NRF 5 - Summarising the second day of The Big Show January 14, 2015 15:43

NRF 4 - Wrap up of Day 1 at The Big Show, New York January 13, 2015 16:01

NRF 3 - Paul interviews Russell Zimmerman of the ARA at The Big Show January 12, 2015 19:56

NRF2 - From the NRF Big Show, talking about Airbnb January 11, 2015 16:06

Third NORA eCommerce Expedition travels to Sydney May 19, 2014 21:46

It was a pleasure to cut the ribbon on the third NORA eCommerce expedition with Anna Lee and Shannon Micallef of Team NORA, making up the hardy NORA new retail tour guides! Read more....

Secrets of Aussie online entrepreneurs May 1, 2014 21:18

I was pleased to join three exciting entrepreneurs and a CSIRO executive at the “Secrets of Aussie Online Entrepreneurs’ events at Monash University, Berwick Campus last Thursday evening. 

Hosted by the dynamic Bernadette Schwerdt of Copy School and supported by VECCI,  The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Digital Enterprise, an Australian Government initiative. Read more...

The New Year is the year for New Retail January 6, 2014 19:12

I was one of many in the industry who predicted a strong Christmas quarter for Australian retail and the early tallies coming back suggest this has indeed been the case. Read more...

Imagination and optimism: a glimpse into the future of retail October 15, 2013 19:57

On Monday the 14th October, seventy leaders of retail gathered on the Gold Coast for a Camp David-style leadership summit to engage in that deeper conversation – the future well-being of Australian retail. Read more...

Retailer’s perspective: inside ‘Alifest’ Netreprenuers Summit with DealsDirect September 13, 2013 20:54

It has been my pleasure over to be a guest of for their annual 2011 ‘Alifest’ Netrepreneur Summit in Hangzhou China. I had expected to see a significant shift in Chinese e-commerce since my last visit two years ago, but predictably I was blown away. Truly a slumbering giant has awoken and its footprints will reverberate around the world. Read more...

Hope for an Australian retail renaissance August 4, 2013 20:51

I believe that Australia stands on the cusp of a retail Renaissance, by which both retailer and customer will benefit.

Australian retail is at an inflection point. While many may claim we are witnessing our darkest days in the industry, there is also every sign that this country is on the verge of a significant retail Renaissance.

It was Thomas Friedman the Pulitzer Prize winner and futurist who, back in 2005, claimed that the world was flat. Just as tellingly he summed up his key thesis to business in a few sobering words:

“You are either doing it, or it is being done to you.” Read more...

New Retail requires consolidation, not fragmentation July 16, 2013 20:47

On the 2nd of July, in an interview in the Australian Financial Review, Bernie Brookes, CEO of Myer, bemoaned the fact that there are too many retail associations in Australia.

I agree with him.

I would argue though that the plethora of retail industry associations is a symptom. A symptom of a fragmented retail landscape in Australia. I would argue that the origins of the current situation lies in how Australian retail has responded to a sustained and challenging period of structural change and disruption. Read more...

Scammers: are online retailers being victimised? June 20, 2013 20:45

Let me start off by saying that I commend and congratulate the ACCC for its many initiatives aimed at protecting consumers from the ever-present danger of online scams.

As a peak industry body, the National Online Retailers Association (NORA) is committed to contributing in anyway it can to this cause, to participate in education and policy development with regulators and law enforcement and so protecting Australian consumers. After all, the new retail in Australia has a strong online footprint, and we want Australian shoppers to have a great experience shopping online. The fact that this channel is growing so quickly means – in many cases – they already are.

I was pleased to join a panel discussion in Melbourne on Tuesday, June 18, at the ACCC’s conference: Outsmarting Scammers, Staying Safe When Shopping Online. Read more...

Stand up and be counted – join the online retail race March 15, 2013 19:43

I have never been as excited, as I am now, about the potential for consumer direct, online retail in Australia. I have been privileged to have been an early mover in online retail in Australia, and this is well and truly our time!

The convergence of circumstances is pointing the tide fairly and squarely in our direction. The strong Australian dollar, a return to ‘value’ by consumers (frugal is well and truly the new ‘cool’), improvements in consumer direct logistics and supply chain, traditional bricks and mortar retailers (finally) getting online, the emergence of some powerful local pure play Australian retailers, improving customer experience, time poor consumers flocking to the ‘convenience’ piece of the consumer direct model, the list goes on. There has never been a better time for e-commerce entrepreneurs to up the ante, and for so called traditional retailers to embrace the digital channel. Read more...

Retailer’s perspective: pushing the pedal to the metal for survival March 12, 2013 19:41

The last month has not been a good one in terms of news from consumer electronics retailers. WOW Sight and Sound has gone into administration and looks likely to be closed, Dick Smith has put up the ‘for sale’ sign and Gerry Harvey has pared back his estimates around online sales and consumer electronics (CE) volumes. What does that mean for the DealsDirect Group, and to any entrepreneur with fire in the belly? – OPPORTUNITY! Read more...