Life In Style 2020 Review - Part 1: Retail

Life In Style 2020 Review - Part 1: Retail

For the past 7 years, SMB Consultants has been exhibiting at Life InStyle which is a retail trade event presenting designers of unique products across giftwares, homewares and fashion brands.

The event focuses on highlighting Australian made, handmade, ethical and sustainably produced products by some of Australia's most innovative wholesale names; showing collections with a clear emphasis on style, design, creativity and quality. 

This trade show attracts thousands of local boutique buyers, interior designers, stylists and the media, all looking for the most exclusive Australian brands and a preview of upcoming trends for a discerning customer.

The event attracts store owners from all over Australia, New Zealand and some internationals looking at buying stock for their stores for the upcoming year/season. Some of these stores might not even exist yet, just a dream, all the way to large multi-store businesses that have been trading for decades.

The role in which SMB Consultants plays at this event is more of a tech expert like your Apple Store. 

As a technology consultant, our primary role is to discuss cloud-technology for all businesses and help them make a more educated decision on the right stack of cloud-based software to best suit their business. And all of our solutions are fully integrated Cloud-based solutions.

What do SMB Consultants offer at a trade show?

Being a retail buying trade show we don’t have any physical product to offer or sell...luckily as that would take forever to set up! We exhibit at a trade show as a technology partner and offer advice to both the wholesale exhibitors and the small business owners of retail stores.

We come prepared with hardware (Apple iPads and iMacs, cash drawers and printers) to be able to demonstrate and provide hands-on experience with the software we are experts. In this instance, we have Vend Point of Sale,Marsello Loyalty and Marketing, Shopify eCommerce, Tyro payments and SMB Consultants as experts to integrate it all together.

Another offering from us during a show is tech support. Not as in an Apple Genius Bar but more helping existing users of our partner software if they have any workflows or trouble they are trying to solve. We are a one-stop-shop for the retail and wholesale industries around cloud-based technology.

Why are SMB Consultants experts?

It started with both Jeff and Peter back in their retail days of a technology store in Sydney. They were finding more users of cloud-based software were buying hardware and asking for advice.

We cover three main verticals: 

Our partners consider us as experts as we provide an extension to their software by being able to integrate multiple solutions together which provides a solution stack. As experts, we have deep knowledge and understanding of the cloud-based software of our partners. This enables us to know and understand intricate workflows that can be achieved through the solution stack that the individual vendors aren’t aware of.

It is because of this that we can provide the right recommendation for businesses by understanding ‘THEIR’ requirements and not trying to push them into a software that isn’t right for them.

What cloud-based software is right for retail?

We get asked this question all the time, and the simple answer isn’t that simple. It really comes down to a few things:

  1. What type of business you have and how do you operate
    1. Do you indent order
    2. Do you buy/sell in foreign currency
    3. Do you backorder/special order products
  2. How tech-savvy are you (and your team)
  3. Do you have any existing software (online, instore, loyalty)
  4. Are you just a retail store or do you have a cafe attached, provide services like onsite installation or fittings

Being able to understand some of your business requirements is the first step in understanding what solution stack is suited to your business.

Let’s look at the two Life InStyle events per year, the first taking place in Sydney in February. The second moves to Melbourne in August.

Of the 100+ visitors of the stand this year, we saw that 71% of them were in Retail and 56% had an online store. Predominantly they were in the Homeware/Giftware Industry with Fashion (Mens, Womens and Childrens) a close second.

Nearly 60% had only 1 store and 80% fulfilled their online orders from instore stock.

It came as no surprise that 32% of our discussions were with store owners that did NOT have a Point Of Sale (POS). Whereas 11% still only use a Cash Register and 6% handwrite receipts.

What surprised us was that nearly 35% of stores still have no thought towards an accounting package.

How can you run a business without an accounting package?

Maybe the above survey was asked incorrectly and those that say they don’t have an accounting package rely heavily on their bookkeeper or accountant to provide that functionality.

Either way, having your point of sale and accounting package talking to each other can save you time and money. No longer does your bookkeeper or accountant need to manually enter daily sales, reconcile against daily takings, input purchase orders and more.

This opens it up for your bookkeeper and/or accountant to be able to give you valuable insight into how your business is performing as data is flowing daily into your accounting package. They would be able to generate reports faster and provide you with business intelligence on how your business is running. 


We are experienced at providing the right throughout decision on the best cloud-based solution for your existing and/or growing business whilst keeping your best interest in front of mind. Being an agnostic provider, we consult first then provide a recommendation plus the ability to set up and train you around the solution.

Please keep SMB Consultants in mind if you are looking into your existing solution or adding something new. 

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