The first ever Seminar targeted specifically at the retail sector and was held on 3rd March 2008 to much acclaim by attendees.
Organised by KTCM in association with Fife Council and Adam Smith College, the Seminar attracted 40 people from various local retailers and organisations such as Federation of Small Businesses who were all treated to an array of key speakers with a range of retail backgrounds. Feedback from all attendees was extremely positive and many lessons were learned which could be applied to the operation of retail businesses.
Professor Christopher Moore from Heriot Watt University (George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence) gave a fascinating overview of a high level research project he had undertaken on the “Mindset of Successful Retailing”, drawing upon examples from across the UK and international retailing industry. This was not an academic debate but was illuminated by very practical issues and examples which retailers are undertaking across the world to stay ahead of their competitors.
Local entrepreneurs, Dom Panetta (the multi award winning hair salon, Migele Experience) and Dennis Alexander (Chickenshop.co.uk) also offered a fascinating account of their business philosophy and focus on how to meet customer needs, and why they have been successful in Kirkcaldy Town Centre for so many years. Dennis Alexander highlighted the need for and success of his online business, an issue which retailers need to embrace if they were increase their market share – his business from Kirkcaldy High Street has customers from all over the world though the website.
Isobelle Hodgson (“Visobelle Displays”) gave a practical demonstration of why visually appealing shop windows can be profitable for the business while John Cowan (“Real Retail Solutions”) offered an insight on the need to undertake a business review which would highlight some strengths and weaknesses to address.
Sunil Varu, Kirkcaldy Town centre Manager, said:
“The Seminar was an intense afternoon of learning for all but everyone of the attendees agreed that it was extremely useful and time very well spent. From Christopher Moore’s expose of international best practice to the business philosophy of Kirkcaldy’s ‘icons’ Dom Panetta and Dennis Alexander, the Seminar was fascinatingly enlightening. The quality of information shared by all the speakers was extremely high for any business wishing to know how to survive in the current climate economic climate. The consistent themes were strong leadership, understanding what customers want, and making shopping a convenient experience for customers in order to retain their loyalty and commitment.
From KTCM’s point of view, the more we can do to help local businesses to help themselves the better the overall experience of Kirkcaldy as a destination will become. The positive feedback suggests an inclination towards learning from others and making the business more successful, and we shall certainly organises more business development training programmes”