09 November 2018

Staying true to your brand and making tech seamless by YD Head of Retail - Vlad Yakubson

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Amidst all the fluff in retail, it remains true that the best strategies to execute are those that truly resound to your business. We had a “this is for real” talk with Vlad Yakubson, Head of Retail for YD, on what truly matters in the retail industry. Vlad is one of the speakers for the New Retail ’19 event this coming February, where you’ll be equipped with cutting-edge knowledge on how to thrive in the evolving retail landscape.
The absolute key is to remain true to your brand DNA and be absolutely focused on your customer.

RLC: What are some of the most innovative or intriguing things you’re seeing in retail at the moment?

Vlad: We all know that the industry is continuing to evolve and move at a pace not seen in prior years. What’s intriguing is how Gen Z and Millennials are changing the transactional experience. It’s truly a time where the customer dominates the market with more choice and accessibility than ever before. There are many start-ups and phygital brands that are taking innovation to the next level. For instance, there are trials in South Africa with a number of delivery providers track your exact location and deliver to you on the go. Convenience and ease of shopping are key competitive advantages. Stitch Fix is another great example of an on-line store providing a styling experience that’s tailored and personalised. Great way to make shopping easier without the worry of returning items that don’t fit.

RLC: What do you see for the retail industry moving forward over the next 2-5 years? 

Vlad: There will be a couple of key trends and strategies that retailers will peruse in the coming years. There will be a rise in e-commerce showrooms where the blend between on-line and physical bricks and mortar stores will be blurred. Think “store experience per square metre and not just sales per square metre”. As AI technology becomes more affordable and intuitive, more traditional brands will allow AI to make their way in stores. It’s not as much about robots improving technology and efficiency, it’s about enhancing the shopping experience.

RLC: What do you hope to see more in the retail industry and how do you want the industry to move forward?

Vlad: The absolute key is to remain true to your brand DNA and be absolutely focused on your customer. Every retailer has to listen to what their customer is telling them and evolve with them. Stay true and play to your strengths. Sometimes the absolute basics of service and store experience go missing when it becomes about everything else. Who said there was anything wrong with saying “How Can I help you?”

As AI technology becomes more affordable and intuitive, more traditional brands will allow AI to make their way in stores.

RLC: What do you think retailers could do to improve their business to continue to stay ahead of the market?

Vlad: Don’t over complicated and introduce technology just to be in the game. Everything has to be a seamless experience. Innovation and investment from all levels whilst having a clear strategy for your business will ensure you stay relevant. Our current and future generations expect more and want the ability to have it now. We need to keep up.

RLC: What kind of knowledge and inspiration can attendees at the upcoming New Retail ’19 event expect from you?

Vlad: The great news is that I’m involved in operating a very successful brand with yd. We have over 105 brick and mortar stores, our online store continues to grow to new levels and we are growing our social media engagement by 10% per month. What this does is it allows me to present a point of view that is relevant and successful and may help others in the industry. I’m a big believer in staying true to your brand DNA and always listening to your internal and external customers.  
About Vlad: 
Vlad is a brand specialist who takes a holistic approach to growing businesses. He has extensive experience in senior management and a proven track record of leading across multiple business functions in sales, marketing, visual merchandising, finance and property. He is the Head of Retail at yd. Australia, with previous roles in Mad Mex Fresh, New Vintage Store, Glue stores, and McDonald’s Corporation.
Join Vlad in New Retail '19 this coming February at MCEC Melbourne. There will be more than 70 speakers, thousands of delegates, and top brands exhibiting at this biggest gathering in retail.

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