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Industry groups unite to better support offline, online retailers

Two Australian retail industry groups have joined forces to better support offline and online retailers in a rapidly changing business environment.

The National Retail Association (NRA) and National Online Retail Association (NORA) have today announced a new partnership, which will see the two organisations combining their strengths and areas of expertise to support all retailers, whether they operate online, in-store or both.

NORA executive director Paul Greenberg told Internet Retailing the partnership is not a merger, but rather a Venn diagram. Where there are overlapping areas of interest, the two groups will work collaboratively.

“We will be looking for opportunities where we can put our heads together and get one and one to equal three,” Greenberg said.

“NORA is very much focused on the networking side of things, but someone’s got to do the heavy lifting around policy, legal, tenancies, HR, labour and penalty rates…

The partnership reflects the growing convergence of online and offline retail in Australia, as traditional retailers seek out resources to improve their e-commerce presence, while pureplay retailers face new challenges around staff hiring and lease agreements in the bricks-and-mortar world.

Dominique Lamb, chief executive of the NRA, said the changing retail landscape was a key factor in the decision to join forces with NORA.

“The opportunities of online retail mean that traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers must increasingly embrace online shopping to fully service their customers and meet market demand,” she said.

“At the same time, many young e-tailers who find success are seeking to move to an in-store service offering, and are encountering for the first time many of the challenges of conducting a business in a physical store.

“Together, NORA and the NRA have the knowledge and experience to help all retailers bridge the divide, and ensure they are reaching every possible customer in store and online.”

In practical terms, the partnership means NORA members can request pro rata membership of the NRA at no charge, giving members access to the industry-leading services and advice provided by the NRA in human resources, rostering, award compliance, leasing and tenancy, and training.

NRA members in turn will have access to the skills and knowledge that has helped NORA’s members improve their business performance, understand the digital marketplace and engage with one another in the New Retail ecosystem.

Greenberg will also serve as a member on the NRA’s advisory board.

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