29 April, 2021

A Retail response to the crises: Turning a steep challenge into an unprecedented opportunity


A few days after several Maltese non-essential shop owners re-opened, the retail industry finds itself striving to work towards a value proposition tailored, more than ever, to the online world, seamlessly to the physical one.

Earlier this week, The Malta Chamber launched the second virtual event within a digital platform it published in February, creating an international marketplace for local and international players centred around retail and manufacturing.

This week’s event focused on retail, targeting various operators from the industry, putting them together with technology solution companies, corporate service providers, public bodies, and academia to learn, meet and engage in the current economic recovery phase.

Over 210 business representatives from 27 countries registered in the virtual platform launched by The Malta Chamber, facilitating business interaction amongst 63 local and international operators in retail and manufacturing, 78 service providers, 20 educational and public stakeholders and 17 project partners and EU funding experts.

The learning and engaging platform is focused on realigning retail and manufacturing business activity in the new norm, restructuring business operations, optimising the use of technology and identifying new markets internationally which embrace sustainable practices.

Speaking during a webinar on Wednesday titled Retail – The Future is NOW, sponsored by Western Union Business Solutions; Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Malta Chamber Deputy President and a retail operator himself, explained how fast movers are poised to beat the competition, not just to survive but also to thrive in the New Norm.

“The heightened willingness to purchase online has placed retailers with e-commerce integrated solutions, including online-only retailers, at a clear advantage. More than ever, this requires retail operators to contend with forthcoming changes driven by consumers’ expectations for a seamless omnichannel fulfilment, not resist it,” he said.

A second webinar, sponsored by RSM MT, focused on retail organisational fitness. Change management and business optimisation experts asked how retail operators can keep up with the rapid move towards the online channel and need to ensure eCommerce operations, not in a “crisis mode” but leveraging on potential opportunities.

The Pitching event, sponsored by BOV and Tech.mt, was the second one of its kind following a previous one which took place earlier this month. A combination of technical and organisational solutions was showcased during the pitching presentation, which included direct-to-consumer & Omni-channel solutions, supply chain & operations strategies and business-led IT transformation together with recruitment solutions.

Around 150 meetings were held during one-to-one online sessions which were hosted within the multipurpose platform, with all meetings pre-arranged by the participants themselves.

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