Movers & Shakers Q&A with Nish Kukadia

Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

Nish Kukadia, chief executive of Secret Sales

1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?

Everyday we’re bringing ABC1 customers and brands together in a way that’s still an emerging concept in the UK. We know people will always love sales – that’s more an emotional need than a rational one. And brands will always look at interesting ways to reach premium audiences. Our biggest opportunity is to continue our fast-growth and solidify Secret Sales as a sustainable and relevant new layer in our retail landscape. We’re on track to achieving that by delivering a great service to our suppliers and giving our customers an addictive and exciting retail experience.

2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?

The biggest challenge is to grow with sustainable metrics. It is very easy when dealing with discounted apparel to sacrifice your margins, but there is no long-term sense in that. We genuinely partner with brands and making the right choices in both directions is important.

3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?

Although we have a brilliant, expanding technology department, and have always operated on our own bespoke system, with hindsight I would have over-invested in technology in the earlier years because I can see the value it creates today.

4. What is the future of the physical store?

I still enjoy visiting stores but like everyone see the shopping experience evolving fast. Multi-channel is a must for the bricks-and-mortar guys, but good value, experience and information is the key since instant internet access through smart-phones brings transparency.

5. What will the high street look like in a decade?

I would still expect there to be a high street, but the way each store functions will need to consider how customers will shop, primarily using technology. I think the stores will be more about delivering a brand experience as the majority of transactions will be online.

6. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future?

I believe so. Smart-phones are a lifestyle tool and I’m surprised we refer to them as that when they do so much more than allow for calling. They are a window to the world in your pocket and we have seen the speed at which customers view a TV advert and are then registered and shopping on our site. I can only imagine that this will improve immensely. As time becomes more precious and technology helps us free more time, we can expect the convenience of m-commerce to become a part of everyday life.

7. What other retail business do you admire?

Selfridges because they’re always reinventing themselves in creative ways, and they make me aware of interesting new brands, and John Lewis because I trust its service.

8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?

I would probably have continued to work in advertising and media. I still appreciate creative marketing and enjoyed the challenges in developing good communication.

9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?

Six because there’s so much more to do, but that’s the bit that keeps me hungry.

10. Who would you place in the Top 20 Multi-channel/e-commerce Movers & Shakers?

I wouldn’t be able to answer that because I don’t focus too much attention on what’s happening around us. Perhaps I should, but we have lots to get on with.