Very excited to be attending the MSAANZ conference this Thursday and Friday at the Australian Museum, Sydney. Be great to meet folks face-to-face again and reflect on how the pandemic has treated the museum retail sector.
I’ll be presenting the preliminary findings from the 2022 Industry Survey (and there’s still time to participate if your organisation hasn’t already – go to this link).
I’m also on the Past, Present and Futures panel where we will talk about the impacts of COVID, tourism, economics and everything else we’ve had to deal with over the past 2-3 years.
As part of the Industry Survey we asked three questions about the pandemic (similar to the AMaGA Industry surveys I conducted in 2020) and it was interesting to see many similar, and also many different, learnings and opportunities identified by respondents. I’ll be presenting these via the panel but here’s a few quotes to get you thinking.
What did you learn?
- It was a shock especially for Victorians being locked down for so long. Working from home and not having the ‘stores’ at our fingertips was challenging but also great opportunity to work on the ‘wish lists’ that never got completed. Mental health issues caused a lot of concern for all our staff and our organisation supported and guided us all. Microsoft Teams has been a game changer.
- We had greatly underestimated the percentage of our visitors that were interstate or overseas visitors.
- I hate using catchphrases, but being ‘agile’. Being able to pivot sales to online, being able to step back and really focus on what is achievable and what isn’t that important for the business has been really important.
- Don’t have all your product eggs in one basket, always remember your domestic customer. When borders close, they’re all you’ve got.
- We’ve improved numerous processes and diversified our offering to be more in line with the overall gallery strategic plan. Our current KPIs are all trending up and we’re looking forward to seeing amazing results when higher visitor numbers return.
- Upskilling staff, hiring skilled staff, product development; online store upgrade (currently underway).
- New way of working and collaborating with suppliers and colleagues.
Also very much looking forward to hearing from the keynote speaker, Adam Thow of Kew Gardens, who will present an overview of Kew Gardens and their commercial activities.