Windmills, not Walls

Inspiring Words of Advice from Jim Fielding, President of Consumer Products & Innovation at Fox Television Group, on Stage at Inside Retail Live

At our Festival of Retail Ideas 2017, we heard so many insightful ideas that it was difficult to keep track of them all. When Jim Fielding, President of Consumer Products & Innovation at Fox Television Group, took the stage, he shared his imaginative vision of the future of retail and novel marketing concepts.

Jim Fielding, who has held key roles at Claire’s Stores Inc. and Disney Stores Worldwide and has 25 years experience in retail trade, predicts “tremendous winds of change” in the retail industry, mostly due to the importance of social media. Instead of detaching your retail business from social media however, Fielding argues that you should embrace the new opportunities – thus building “windmills, not walls”. He states that Fox has become “platform agnostic”, valuing different services that help the company reach bigger audiences.

Apart from connecting business to media, he stresses the need to embed consumer products within experience, which will play an important role in the future, as the focus shifts away from material goods:

“Experiences have a social currency, they’re sharable – you can take selfies of yourself at an Adele concert and that’s more exciting to you than a new handbag.”

That is why Fox is working on the intersection of stories and products, which links experiences to the retail trade. An example is Fox’s collaboration with MAC Cosmetics, which produced a Troll inspired make-up range, not only connecting Dreamworks Animation’s Trolls (2016) to an actual product but also drawing on 90s nostalgia to increase sells. Once again, social media has proven to be a key factor in retail today, as the campaign went viral on many platforms, creating massive advertisement for the MAC Good Luck Trolls collection.

Within the scope of what he calls “social consumerism”, he outlines the change in consumer behaviour, which can no longer be described as “impulsive”, but has become more conscious, especially among young customers. Accordingly, he calls discounting “a needle in the arm retailers need to detox from”, since competing on price is not sustainable for moving the industry forward. Fielding also predicts a shift away from big-box stores towards shopping in special environments focused on particular product categories.

Jim Fielding on the main stage of Inside Retail Live 2017

Jim Fielding on the main stage of Inside Retail Live 2017

All these changes, Fielding states, are making it harder and harder for retailers to understand their customers and be successful. With Amazon coming to Australia, these challenges will become even bigger. Fielding argues that you can not avoid the inevitable – his advice to retailers is to continue their work, while always looking for new ways of improving the customer experience. “Retail is tough”, Fielding contends, “but my motto is ‘so what’.”

For more interesting insights from Jim Fielding, go to YouTube to watch his interview with Orange Line. We will be back with more inspiring presentations from the Festival of Retail of Ideas. To make sure you don’t miss out on any new entries, follow Inside Retail Live on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Meanwhile, have a look at what else went on at Inside Retail Live 2017 and be among the first to express your interest for 2018.

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