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03 April 2018

Shopping CentreStudents, tech-stars and budding entrepreneurs in Adelaide who are keen to flex their creative muscles could be in the running to win $25,000 thanks to a new UniSA competition launched this week.

The Retail Game-Changer Challenge, backed by UniSA graduate Shaun Bonétt, the CEO of commercial property company Precision Group, gives local entrepreneurs the chance to revolutionise the shopping experience for consumers.  

Participants will design a concept and prototype for a shopping centre information system that helps to bridge the divide between digital and brick-and-mortar retailers. 

The winning team will receive $25,000, and more importantly, the chance to pitch their concept to Mr Bonétt for additional financial investment. They will also spend one week at Precision Group with business professionals recognised for their innovation and leadership in the industry.

Founded by UniSA graduate Shaun Bonétt in 1994, just two years after graduation, Precision Group now owns major shopping precincts, high profile and historical commercial sites and hotels across Australia and New Zealand, including the Adelaide Central Plaza. 

“Retail stores cannot compete with the internet giants on their terms,” says Mr Bonétt.

“Many retailers and shopping centres around the world are dying because they aren’t connecting with people anymore.  People crave service, they want every trip to a store to be an ‘experience,’ and they have a preference towards loyalty.

“A physical experience enhanced by virtual components will beat a virtual experience enhanced by physical sensations any time of the week.  If you create an experience that satisfies people’s needs, prioritising human interactions over everything else, then they will keep coming back.
“Our goal is to build an infrastructure that cultivates a seamless digital integration between the two key stakeholders, customers and retailers.”

The aim of the Challenge is to build a system that improves the customer shopping experience and allows retailers to engage more with shoppers.

“We need participants to be truly creative with what information is gathered, what insights can be mined and what services to the customers and tenants can be provided,” says Associate Professor Stewart Von Itzstein, Challenge panel member and UniSA’s Associate Head: Academic Programs, School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences.

“We encourage all South Australians to think ‘outside the box’ – what would entice you to shop in-store over online?

“You might be a creative engineer, data scientist, business entrepreneur, marketing guru or analyst, or a team with innovative geniuses from each of these areas.” 

“The chance to pitch your innovative concept to one of Australia’s leading business professionals is such an incredible and rare opportunity,” Prof Von Itzstein says. 

The competition is created and supported by Precision Group and managed by the University of South Australia.  Teams of up to six individuals from all backgrounds are welcome to pitch their concepts, as long as at least one group member is a student currently enrolled in tertiary study in Adelaide.

Key dates:

  • Thursday April 5th – Registrations Open
  • Tuesday April 10th –Information Session
  • Wednesday May 2nd at 5pm – Deadline for submitting applications
  • Monday May 7th – Finalists announced
  • Thursday May 10th – Competition takes place

For further information, visithttp://unisa.edu.au/retailchallenge or contact Prof Stewart Von Itzstein at Stewart.VonItzstein@unisa.edu.au or +61 8 8302 3056


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