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I welcome you to the 6th edition of The Retail Leaders Conference (TRLC 2019), the biggest gathering of retail leaders and industry stakeholders in Nigeria dedicated to supporting the Nigeria retail industry to attain competitiveness and success. TRLC leads the Retail Industry in charting the preferred transformation path and in proffering practical solutions to the challenges and opportunities of the operating environment. This distinguished annual event also serves as the hub for retailers and partner industries to understand the latest trends, developments and opportunities in retail.

Recall that at TRLC 2015 (the beginning of The Future of Retail in Nigeria Series), we made challenged Nigeria retail leaders to take a 5 and 10year view of their businesses (2019 and 2025 respectively) and answer the key question of where they intend their businesses to be in the future. Since 2015, here are a few lessons we’ve learnt:

  • In an emerging and rapidly transforming retail market such as ours, unpredictability is the only constant;
  • The future involves a series of interplay of competitive forces and shifts;
  • Nobody can drive to the future on cruise control
  • Increased competition translated into more power and choice for consumers, and meant added pressure on the already thin average profit margins for retail businesses;
  • Customer experience is fast becoming the new retail currency in the emerging retail market;
  • Retail businesses that failed to stand up to customers’ scrutiny felt the effects in lost sales revenue and profits. Others simply became history as customers voted with their wallets; and

Leaders must be willing to take bold strategic and tactical steps to guarantee success and survival into the future.

TRLC 2019, therefore offers us the opportunity to assess the journey so far, reassess our retail business performance, leadership effectiveness and to rethink the future, and by implication, the actions we need must take now in other to secure a firm place of respectable growth, relevance and leadership in a fast changing industry such as ours. This Conference therefore will equip participants with unique insights to explore, identify, create and implement the right balance between the right balance of bold strategic choices that will sustain their business success today and transform it for guaranteed growth and relevance in the future. Such actions may include:

  • Refocusing attention on the new consumer that is so dynamic in behavior and preferences, very powerful, more demanding and less forgiving;
  • Re-engineering business structures and systems;
  • Building agile, transparent and demand responsive supply chains systems;
  • Embracing and using of apposite technologies to optimize operation for greater effectiveness;
  • Differentiating products and/or formats;
  • Building capabilities to put data at the heart of their organizations and creating the agility to respond to market change.
  • Rethinking how and where to serve the smart consumer and provide them with the right experiences they seek, thus providing consumers with compelling reasons for continued patronage
  • Re-examining cost structures critically for greater efficiencies
  • Embrace learning and development as investments rather than as just expenses – hiring right, right training and right motivation; and
  • Understanding where value will be created; constantly stress-test every assumption; challenging complacency; embracing challenges.

And most of all casting their nets wider for spotting and seizing new opportunities in the emerging retail landscape.

Let me briefly share with you what progress we have made since TRLC 2018;

  • Retail Association of Nigeria (RAN): Since the registration of RAN in 2018 and commencement of membership registration, I am happy to announce that we have witnessed high level of interest among members – retail and non-retail associates alike.
  • I urge you to register today, if you have not done so. There are lots of benefits you stand to gain by your membership of RAN. Furthermore I encourage discerning Retail Associate member (Suppliers of goods and services to retail) to sign up as Strategic RAN Partners for more beneficial opportunities for Associate members and huge money saving opportunities for retailers. To register today either as a Retailer or Associate member, please go to RAN.COM.NG.
  • Bervidson Strategic Retail Partnership Program: In the course of the year, we collaborated with United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Association of Supermarket Operators of Nigeria (NASON) to provide training for Retail Supermarkets in Nigeria. We also collaborated with Sanofi Aventis to provide training for Retail Pharmacies in Nigeria. We specially acknowledge and thank these organizations for supporting retail development and growth in the country and urge other well-meaning retail partners (suppliers of goods and services) to key into the Bervidson Strategic Partner Program for retail. Join us and together, let’s make the future of retail in Nigeria truly great. BERVIDSON.COM

Finally, I acknowledge every industry leader and stakeholders here today without whom there would have been no conference. I thank all our great speakers to the 6th edition of The Retail Leaders Conference, TRLC 2019. I thank all our Partners/Sponsors: Vidora Luxury, United State Commercial Service, Bank of Industry, Unified Payment Services, and Nigeria America Chamber of Commerce. I thank all our media partners: Permutation Media Concept,, WFM 97.1, Hot 93.3FM, Classic 97.3FM, Lagos Talks 91.3FM, Beat 99.9FM, Naija 102.7FM, Media Crush, Nimbus Media,, Ultimate Media Consulting, Connect Nigeria. TRLC.BERVIDSON.COM

This conference is also a networking forum for you and your colleagues in retail and other supporting industries here present to discuss current and future business relationship as well as unwind. Please relax, network and participate fully in all sessions, and maximally engage to get the very best out of the day event.

The future of the Nigeria retail industry may be constantly evolving and may seem uncertain and challenging, but it is also exciting and profitable for those who start to adapt now to new models, innovative strategies and tactics, and will be very exciting for those who will embrace the catalyst and the game-changers!

God bless you all. Thank you.

Joseph Ebata, President Bervidson Group

Featured image source: Bervidson Group

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This article was first published on 25th June 2019

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