We interviewed our members to hear their insights and adventures in the retail world. Meet David McConnachie, General Manager of L’Occitane En Provence Australia.
1. How long have you been in retail? / How did your retail career begin?
I have been in Retail over 23 years, and I love it! Retail is a highly dynamic environment and it’s always changing so it’s a great environment that keeps me so focused and passionate. My career began back in the UK, London where I joined the hugely respected Department Store group, John Lewis as a management trainee. I worked with an incredible group of managers and trainee’s that shaped my retail career. I have nothing but fond memories of my time there and all I learnt that stays with me today.
2. What is the biggest challenge working in retail and in your opinion what steps to overcome this challenge are:
The biggest challenge is the customers shopping behaviours and how they have changed how they shop, this hasn’t changed overnight of course, and this has been as online platforms have development and people shop from mobiles. It’s so import to have a 360 approach to sales channels and a compelling retail offer to excite your customer. Customers can be extremely loyal so never take them for granted and always think about the customer first, process second.
3. How do you keep your team motivated?
Our teams know we, “Care” as L’Occitane is a family owned brand and we have extremely inspiring owners who encourage us to be part of, ‘Great Place to Work” this means all employees have a voice in our business and this helps temperature check how we are doing. We are extremely approachable and visible with our teams and it’s working as we are a content team. We also handle any issues quickly so they don’t linger around which is important for the culture of the business.
4. Retail is a very competitive industry – How do you stay current and what trends are you focusing on at present and why?
As a global brand we have the support of our European Office and likewise Hong Kong. I am fortunate to travel a lot with the brand so I am always in various retail environments around the globe. I am also at my best in stores; I love talking to our customers and really seeing what’s happening on the floor. Social media is an amazing tool to also keep up current but we must also be ourselves.
5. Where do you see the future of retail?
Retail will keep evolving and we will all keep learning and trying new things. It’s always inspiring to attend a new opening of a store or shopping centre and witness how engaged customers still are with retail. Our landlords have a responsibility to keep our centres interesting and offering more entertainment and cool eating area’s so people see retail destinations as a place they want to spend a lot of time. We have so much product innovation also as do many brands; this keeps the retail environment fresh and will keep customers interested.