I am a big fan of shopping, may it be the just drool-but-do-not-buy kind of shopping aka window shopping, to the shop-like-there’s-no-tomorrow kind of shopping, to the quick-fillout-order-form-then-click-buy kinda shopping.
In my humble opinion, the Philippines right now is definitely one of the best places in the world  to shop what with the Philippine retail market being as it is today–dynamic, vibrant, customer driven.
Big credit of course goes to the Philippine Retailers Association, who for the past years, has been continuously supporting and empowering retailers, suppliers, CEOs and top level managers of upcoming and successful brands to become at par if not better than their international counterparts through organized conferences and forums.
And  true to its commitment of further boost the know how and skills of retail professionals under its clout, PRA’s much awaited 21st National Retail Conference and Stores Asia Expo (NRCE), is set to be held on August 9 to 10 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. With no less than Mr. William Schultz, President and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (which incidentally is celebrating 100 Years of Happiness), as the keynote speaker, the event promises to start and end on a happy note.

Taking its cue from the Philippine government’s well conceived tourism campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, this year’s conference will zero in on elevating customer shopping experience.  It gathers people behind companies with excellent track records in customer satisfaction to share their tips and secrets to successful brand-customer relationship.
The plenary sessions were designed in such a way that conference attendees will be provided with insights on the changing demands and tastes of customers and knowledge of how retail entertainment and store design can help improve customer shopping experience.
Here’s a run down of topics that will be discussed in this year’s conference:
First Day:

  • morning panel discussion on digital marketing and online commerce
  • panel discussion on how to address the  influx of international brands in the Philippines
  • presentation on “Global Brands in Local Shores: How Local Brands Can Compete and Succeed vis-à-vis International Brands” (Filipino brands that have remained successful in spite of the challenges posed by international brands)

Second Day:

  •  panel discussion entitled  “Retail Entertainment: Creating a New Level of Customer Experience,” ( how shopping and leisure are intertwined)
  •   panel discussion entitled “The New Turks of Retailing,” ( young entrepreneurs behind today’s hottest brands and franchises.

Topics such as competitive edge of socially responsible businesses, licensing opportunities for retailers, the retailer’s role in advocating a sustainable lifestyle, and transforming employees into brand ambassadors will also be tackled. Plenary session on using an initial public offering (IPO) as a tool for retail business growth will also be covered.
So if you are a retailer, supplier,  manager or CEO of a certain brand or company, I highly recommend that you attend this conference as you will surely learn a lot from the retail  industry’s big key players who will be present to share their insights, knowledge, and opinions on the current status of the retail industry.
The heart of the conference for sure will be the discussion of  topics such as how to gain competitive edge by being socially responsible and the retailers’ important role in advocating a sustainable lifestyle. I would sure love to see more brands living up to the challenge of sustainable growth and living as well as retail companies taking seriously their corporate social responsibility. Hopefully with this year’s conference, we will get to see a lot of companies who will jump to this challenge and succeed in the coming months.
Personally, I want to sit down and listen to the presentation on “Global Brands in Local Shores: How Local Brands Can Compete and Succeed vis-à-vis International Brands.”  I have seen how local retailers and brands have struggled to stay afloat for the past years.  They went as far as hiring the services of foreign models/hollywood stars to represent their brands  and have even resorted to sloppy marketing strategies to highlight their high global affinity (which sad to say failed miserably) in the hope that their products can keep up with high standards  in brand representation set by their foreign counterparts.  Hopefully from this presentation they will be able to gain insights on what proper marketing strategy or tool to employ in order to stay on top of the game despite pressure from international brands. We sure can improve a lot on brand representation as this is one area that most retailers seem to be struggling with.
The topic, Living the Brand: Employees as Brand Ambassadors, also interest me as I recognize the critical role store employees play in selling their product to customers.  As a consumer myself, I will surely come back to a store where employees know their products  well and who can attend to my queries and concerns competently.  Not all sad to say has those kind of employees. As it is, this is one critical area that most retail shops really need to address right now to gain100% costumer satisfaction.
The 21st NRCE is proudly presented by PLDT Alpha Enterprise, SM Department Store, Hewlett Packard, Robinsons Malls, Araneta Center, Ayala Malls, Meralco, IBM Philippines, DHL Supply Chain Phils., Inc., Festival Supermall, Wilcon Depot, Celine, The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, ABS CBN, Schutzen, Mobext, Inc., Crossover 105.1., Entrepreneur, Focalcast, Q Creatives, Cylix Technologies, Mediamagnet, Catalyst Media, Infinite Grafix, Travel Club, APL Logistics, Avolution, Live Media, Starmall and Bayantel.
For more registration and queries about the 21st NRCE visit http://www.nrceph.com/, call PRA at 687-4180/4181 or email info@philretailers.com or ebbs@philretailers.com