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Retail Wizards of Oz


Retail Wizards of Oz

The Australian retail industry is often criticised for simply following industry trends whether it be imitating last season’s fashion from Europe, copying in-store tech trends from Asian heavy weights or replicating cost-cutting, bulk-buy warehouses straight from the USA. But Australia is far from being a retail fashion victim, in fact, local success stories highlight retailers that are leading not only in their category domestically but are making an impact internationally. Here are a selection of the retail wizards of Oz casting a spell on Australian customers.


Spell: A heavy does of Integrity & Authenticity

Back in the late 1980s, Nigel Austin cottoned on to something big when he headed to the local markets in Geelong. Three years later he opened his first retail fashion store and instilled six key values that would underpin the Cotton On company. Today the brand remains is unwavering in its pursuit to provide customers with the trends they want, when they want it, at the right price, and has expanded to include more than 1,400 stores for its 7 brands in 19 countries. Even as one of Australia’s leading global fashion brands, it’s the company’s integrity that sets it apart as they stay true to Nigel’s six pillared business method almost 30 years later. We are fans of their down to earth approach to retail. Take a leaf out of the Cotton On book:

Cotton On Values:

  • Even Better: Learning Culture, Ambitious, Fearless, Innovate & Focused
  • Personal Leadership: Accountable, Confident, Listen, Commercial & Entrepreneurial
  • People First: Team work, Supportive, Empowering, Collaborative & Inspiring
  • Keeping It Real: Genuine, Down to earth, No ego, Resourceful, Respectful & Simplicity
  • Fun: Passionate, Spirited, Youthful, Engaged, Vibrant & Dynamic
  • Integrity: Ethical, Honest, Transparent, Responsible & Humanitarian

Check out more about their values here:


Magic Spell: Simplicity sprinkled with a touch Exclusivity

Originally born in Australia, Aesop is well-known both locally and internationally for its range of skin, hair and body care products. With more than 30 years of experience under their belt, the brand maintains its focus on simplicity whether it’s using as as many natural and plant-based ingredients as possible in their products, offering in-store spa experiences guided by staff with a high-level of expertise or creating beautifully unique store designs, each with a slightly different touch in line with the location. In terms of the customer’s experience in store, Aesop evokes both simplicity and exclusivity through the use of a combination of wood and natural materials in an intelligent, sustainable design. The brand is also big on close attention to detail with all stores adding something of merit to the location with a locally relevant design. Their approach to new products is also simple, as new products are launched only in response to genuine needs expressed by customers and after extensive testing. It’s simplicity at its best.

For inspiring ideas follow Aesop on Instagram:

aesop products.jpgBunnings Warehouse

Magic Spell: A Hearty Blend of Community & Relatability

For over 130 years, Bunnings has been serving the Australian public and the company’s acclaimed commitment to participating in the communities in which they operate by contributing to local, regional and national causes has been in place since its inception. As the country’s leading D.I.Y store, Bunnings aims to provide customers with the widest range of home improvement products in accordance with their lowest prices policy and backed by the best service from their team of more than 43,000 members. In fact, their deep rooted community engagement stems from the company’s belief that their team members are the true heart and soul of the business. Bunnings actively contributes to causes and organisations that benefit the local community and offers free D.I.Y. workshops for adults and children, online D.I.Y. tutorials, free trailer hire, same day home delivery, a hire shop, special orders, café, children’s playgrounds, ladies nights and their legendary Saturday sausage sizzle fundraisers. With a 2018 revenue totalling $12.5 billion, the combination of community and relatability has made Bunnings one of Australia’s greatest success stories.

For D.I.Y tips and tricks check out the Bunnings’ Youtube channel:

To see a Bunnings sausage sizzle in action visit:


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