Heinemann Australia’s Managing Director, Richard Goodman, is driven by a desire “to bring a fresh and innovative approach to what has been a relatively unchanged industry for more than 30 years”. Changing the duty-free retail model is no mean feat, but Richard, with the support of the Heinemann global team, would be the man for the job. He started his retail career at age 17, while studying for a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics. Quickly promoted to a leadership position, Richard, aged 18, realised that he had the opportunity to “turn my passion into my career”, and left university to focus on retail. He has now clocked up 16 years “at the coalface of retail”, and recently completed an Executive MBA at the University of Technology Sydney.
Joining Heinemann as its Head of Operations in February 2017, Richard became Managing Director in April 2018. One of the reasons he loves working for the retailer is also a reason for the company’s success. It is a family-run business, something Richard considers “both unfamiliar to and unusual in the marketplace”, with business driven by quality relationships and sustainable growth rather than shareholder value.Success comes, too, from embracing change.
“We see ourselves as innovators,” he says, and there is a concerted effort made to evolve the duty-free model. “We look beyond the scope of retail and the duty-free market, to identify any key learnings that we can take from the innovation that’s occurring,” Richard notes, and he reveals that he has been considering ways in which the business could capitalise on virtual reality technologies like Google Glass to improve its operations.
“Moreover, we’ve been working on an innovation project with an external consultant to truly understand why people buy, and the levers we can pull to encourage them to do so.”
Last year was a busy one for Heinemann Australia. Known for its presence at Sydney Airport, the company established a second site, comprising two retail areas, at the Gold Coast Airport in October. “We chose to partner with the Gold Coast Airport, and they with us, because our core values are very similar, if not the same. We’re about mutually beneficial outcomes, and improving the passenger experience,” Richard explains.
“We’re about mutually beneficial outcomes, and improving the passenger experience.”
When he took on the Managing Director role, he committed to focusing on sustainable growth for the business. “Heinemann is a large global player in the duty-free industry. For us, setting up a multi-site operation in Australia was very important.” This is
in line with a mandate “to explore profitable partnerships in the region, not just with airports, but with the entire airport community”.
Richard welcomes the opportunities he is confident the future will bring. “If I could sum up the future in one word, I’d say ‘collaboration’: many parties working together to share customer knowledge and data.” He is also keenly aware that “for Heinemann, the growth of our supplier base has been and will always be paramount to our success”. Further, Heinemann will continue to operate in line with its core values – service-orientated, personal and surprising.
Its new Armani Box at the T1 International terminal in Sydney is an Australian first that is a perfect example of Heinemann living its values. The innovative ‘pop-up’ Armani Box is an immersive and sensory experience that features a curated edit of the Giorgio Armani make-up collection, including an exclusive lip shade for departing passengers.
“We are excited to continually elevate the travel retail experience, creating truly unique concepts delivered through strong collaboration between the airport, operator and brand.”
Richard’s team is incredibly important to him, and he is inspired by them on a daily basis. “The reason I come to work every day is to see the smiles on the team members’ faces when they have an amazing sale, or receive a customer compliment, or we have a big win with a brand.” Adamant that “you can’t lead a business from a chair behind a desk”, Richard makes it his priority to “get out on the shop floor, listen to the team, and understand what they’re observing and feeling”.
“For over four decades, L’Oréal has been a historic market leader in travel retail. Our strong partnership with Heinemann is the key to our successful operation in the Asia–Pacific.” – Emmanuel Goulin, Managing Director, L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific.
It is easy to identify Richard’s passion for his profession, and his position seems tailor-made for him. “I’m the Australian steward of an amazing global brand, and many of the decisions I make concern how I can continue to elevate the Heinemann brand, not only in the duty-free industry, but across Australia.” He takes inspiration from a saying that originated with Confucius, but made its way to him via Will Smith: “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” It is clear which camp Richard falls into.