Chamber News

A fresh look at Waterford retail

Fresh Look Waterford Retail Event

There was plenty food for thought following ‘Waterford Retail – A Fresh Look’, which saw a capacity crowd converge on the Granville Hotel for an early morning breakfast briefing to gain insights into customer behaviour in retail and data trends.

The event was hosted by Waterford Chamber, AIB Bank and Waterford Council, as part of Local Enterprise Week and was attended by leading retailers and service providers from across the city and county.

Opening the event, John McSweeney, AIB and Vice-President Waterford Chamber, offered a comprehensive overview of the current position in Waterford, enforcing the message that collaboration was key and asked for recommendations on how we should brand Waterford in terms of retail.

This was followed by an insightful presentation from Retail Excellence Ireland CEO, David Fitzsimons, who spoke of the 10 Pillars of the Future Store. He told the audience that consumers spend more in stores that are an authority on their product, embrace something different, offer hospitality and personality and sell product the way the customer wants it.

He also highlighted that stores that have a visual impact and stop you in your tracks from the outside in do much better in terms of footfall and sales generation, while the customer experience has to be to the fore in every offering.

Next up was Alan Makim, Head of Retail & Franchising with AIB Bank. Alan provided fascinating insights into consumer spending nationally but also specifically to Waterford. Interestingly, he outlined that 16% of retail spend is online in general, but when you break it down, only 3% of spending on groceries goes online. This is contrasted by the online spend in the clothing sector where 26% of the national spend goes through online channels with online clothing spend locally in Waterford slightly higher at 29%. In terms of retail leakage, while AIB figures show 69% of spend happens locally in Waterford, there is leakage going to other counties, namely Cork and Dublin the main areas of spend outside Waterford.

Following Alan’s presentation, both he and David joined a panel discussion, which also featured Steven Davy, Liquid Edge; Shana Chu, Styl.Wrap and Paul Dower, Waterford in Your Pocket, all of whom discussed the importance of data and technology for the future of retail. Shana spoke of how there are stores now all over the world where you cannot buy product – it’s all about the experience and then you order online.

Paul spoke of how important it is to brand Waterford properly and collectively as a business community we need to promote that message, while Steven said by using available data, you can make more informed decisions to benefit your business.

The event was closed out by Richie Walsh, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, who spoke of the availability of supports for the business community and the array of events which were scheduled for Local Enterprise Week.

This event is part of a strategic retail support plan which is currently being worked on by Waterford City & County Council and Waterford Chamber.


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“Tom Murphy Car Sales Ltd has been a member of Waterford Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years. It’s a membership that serves us well as we find it gives us a platform to interact with similar businesses and puts us in front of a wide audience. Having staged a number of very successful Chamber events, both at our dealership on the Cork Road and at venues chosen by the Chamber, it really puts into perspective the value of networking and meeting with potential customers face to face. We intend to continue the partnership between Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Tom Murphy Car Sales into the future, as the results speak for themselves and we see the value in being a member of Waterford Chamber.”

Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales



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