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Naomi Simson keynote speaker at 2018 ARA's

With next month’s 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards proclaimed to be a roaring success, RUSSELL ZIMMERMAN believes the event will offer a fresh perspective for retailers both large and small.

One of Australia’s most prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders, Naomi Simson, of Shark Tank fame, will grace the awards stage as the keynote speaker, Executive Director Zimmerman states.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is excited to host such an “innovative retailer and passionate business influencer for this year’s Awards” to be held in front of 500 guests on Thursday 18 October at the Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne – a venue rich with retail history and known for its revolutionary nature,.

“Naomi is not only a leader in the industry, she brings a wealth of business knowledge and will be able to provide valuable industry insights across various elements in the retail realm for retailers of all sizes.”

“We’re excited for Naomi to share her knowledge of the retail realm and insights into how retailers across the country can engage better with their consumers across various forms of technology and communication platforms,” Zimmerman states.

Retail realm theme

The theme for this year’s awards is “retail realm” and focuses on retailers “who think outside the shop, because it’s crucial for retailers to not just think of the shopfront in today’s marketplace,” Zimmerman states.

"The ARA believes that investing in the future of business, especially retail, should be at the heart of the government’s economic strategy"

“With retail now touching every aspect of consumers lives, this year’s ARA Retail Awards will search for retailers who encompass every element of the Retail Realm within their business as the dynamic nature of retail means businesses needs to engage with consumers through a myriad of channels.”

“As the largest private employer in the country, retail plays a vital role in the daily lives of all Australians and we would like to acknowledge these people who are the backbone of our society.”

To tie in with the theme, ARA has handpicked a panel of industry experts to judge each sought-after award.

“This year’s award categories – customer experience, retail workers and industry leaders – encapsulate elements of the retail realm from supply chain management, business growth and technology, to customer experience, payments and employee development,” ARA believes.

“Therefore, this year, we’ve searched the industry for exemplary retail professionals who are not only skilled in these technical areas but have been influencers in the retail sector themselves.”

Retail strategy

The ARA believes that investing in the future of business, especially retail, should be at the heart of the Government’s economic strategy.

The Australian retail sector has faced a period of change over the last decade, with increasing competition from international and online retailers, globalisation and a fluctuating economy - all testing retailers’ courage and promoting significant structural changes at the heart of the retail industry.

The ARA policy team has called for all levels of government to invest in long-term business planning, low taxation, a flexible wage system and reliable, inexpensive sources of energy supply.

The ARA believes every new regulation, tax, law and public servant increases the compliance cost for business. It supports the fundamental principle of small government, which removes the laws and regulations that create unnecessary time and cost burdens for business. Retailers are clearly identifying the size and scale of bureaucracy within local government as a priority concern.

They often need to engage with multiple regulators, each with differing timeframes and requirements, just to solve a single issue. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks Australia 80 out of 137 countries for ‘burden of government regulation.’ Alarmingly, this places Australia behind a number of third-world countries.

Russell Zimmerman

Russell Zimmerman is the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). Email: info@retail.org.au

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