The latest SBIA Roundtable conference was held on the Gold Coast on June 11,  prior to the Surf Industry Awards. There were 75 people in attendance, a good mix of brand representatives and retailers.

After general housekeeping and the president’s report form Anthony Wilson, a lively discussion took place. One of the major items discussed was the proposed service agreement between the brands and retailers. This has been an ongoing discussion since the March Roundtable and some of the main points made from the retail perspective were:

  • Retailers are content with giving information to reps as long as it used accordingly and fairly.
  • Retailers need more information shared on carried over styles to show greater transparency such as new colour, updated, etc.
  • Brands writing suggested orders were marked as low importance on the survey, however some brands believe it’s a great resource for retailers utilised. It could possibly speed up the process and make the job for retailers easy.
  • Brands need to communicate internal changes with employees

A customer service survey was sent out to both retailers and brands and the feedback makes for interesting reading.

The round table also had another facilitated discussion, again run by Clint Fraser from Davidsons, the subject being Improving the Customer experience. Customer service is the theme that continually raises its head in surveys and discussions, and most of the points made concerned the importance of knowledgeable and engaging staff.

Some of the ideas discussed included the following:

  • Obtaining and retaining key staff. It is critical to get staff that is in there for long term. Online platforms work well and staff are motivated to utilise this training.
  •  Getting staff to understand that they are part of the bigger picture and getting them to care about the results.
  • Focussing on the customer’s wants by meeting face to face with customers one on one to get detail of what their exacts wants/needs are.
  • Understanding the customer’s in store journey – from walking into the store, making a purchase and walking out and using social media to talk about it.
  • The importance of the first impressions when walking into a store – lighting, fit out and an exciting experience.
  • Training.  Face to face training is the most effective form of training, however online training is vital to get product information across.

The regular round tables are an integral part of the communication between SBIA members, both brands and retailers. The next one will be held later this year, the date and location published on the SBIA website and newsletter.