Introducing our first speaker spotlight for our upcoming webinar on May 23rd, Growth Potential: What Retail Industry Experts Are Saying About Retail Media. With years of experience in the retail industry, we are delighted to have Ben Sillitoe join us and share his industry knowledge with our audience. Learn more about Ben below.
How many years have you been writing about the retail industry?
I was founding editor of Retail Gazette in 2009, and that’s when monitoring, writing about, and engaging with this industry properly began. I always thought I’d be a football or sports writer when I was a kid, but retail found me and it’s been the most fascinating business area to follow all these years.
How did you develop an interest in the retail space?
As I said, the industry found me really. But I think it’s difficult not to develop an interest in retail as an industry because shopping is something we all have to do in our everyday lives. I always think it’s a great industry to cover because as a journalist you are often fed the company line but as a consumer you often know the truth is sometimes a little different.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love hearing about things before anyone else, and then finding a creative way to tell that story.
Who are your retail idols?
I have to be careful about showing any sign of favouritism in my role. Perhaps, the best way to answer this question is to say two of my favourite interviewees during my time covering the industry are former Topshop brand director, Jane Shepherdson, and the former managing director of Waitrose, Mark Price. Always very insightful and they consistently provide a bit of colour to the conversation.
What have you found the biggest change in the retail industry down through the years?
The growing number of retailers that come to market with a digital-first strategy that evolves into a more multichannel approach, as opposed to the traditional store-focused one where digital and other customer channels are simply add-ons. I started writing about retail in the aftermath of the Woolworths collapse, and I think that was a pivotal moment in this swing.
How do you think retail media will revolutionize the retail industry?
It’s such an opportunity for retailers and brands to forge new, sophisticated ways of working together, and therefore it has the potential to improve the relevance and overall timing of the marketing consumers receive. It’s a great incremental revenue stream for retailers feeling the economic pressure, but I think it’s bigger than that – it’s part of a new era for retailers. Retailers have a different type of digital asset to what they had four or five years ago, and they are asking themselves, ‘How do I make the most of it?’ – and that should influence quite radical structural change in the industry.
Thank you to Ben for sharing his background and thoughts on the industry with us. If you’d like to join Ben and Sam, to learn more about the challenges and opportunities faced by retailers, along with getting a sneak peak into a leading retail media technology, then register today and we look forward to welcoming you to our session on May 23rd.