Amazon 4-Star: When Online Retail Hits a Bricks ‘n’ Mortar Wall

Amazon 4-Star: When Online Retail Hits a Bricks ‘n’ Mortar Wall I’m a great admirer of Amazon. So, let’s move away from the nonsense that Amazon is killing retail. Amazon is a retailer and is leading a retail transformation. It may not be founded on designing, producing and selling its own products (although that is gathering irresistible momentum) but it is no less a retailer than Toys R Us, or any traditional department store or shop selling “other people’s stuff!” Retailers of all origins and longevity would do well to learn quickly from its customer centric approach to everything. That…

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Bloom & Wild: Delivering a Fragrant Revolution

Bloom & Wild: Delivering a fragrant revolution I’d recommend that we all spoil ourselves with flowers. Not, for the hell of it, and not any flowers. Just those delivered by Bloom & Wild. Their story is not about flowers, no matter how beautiful they are, its about disrupting a market with one decisive initiative as its origin. Delightful Disruption Bloom & Wild are the original “letterbox” florists. As you might imagine this means that flowers are sent directly through you letterbox. Take any nightmare visions from your mind of flowers being forced through your doors like Christmas trees through a shredder. In…

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Lush: Creating Communities and always in Conversation

Lush: Creating Communities and always in Conversation Even those customers who would never consider crossing the threshold of a Lush store, never mind investing in a bath-bomb or a slice of specialist soap, are charmed and engaged by the customer experience they find. I’ve accompanied many clients and colleagues to stores and what astounds them is the life, energy and enthusiasm of the store teams. From a state of embarrassment, the doubters are soon lost in the depths of the store, listening intently to their guides and trying their hand at skin treatments, immersing themselves up to their elbows in…

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Retail & the Circular Economy: Square Pegs in a Round Whole?

Retailers can learn from the Circular Economy by becoming communities and not just sequences of job functionality. Positive actions & interactions stimulate others. Waste is minimised. Waste of resources, products and of time. And the waste of people – their energy, goodwill, knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm. I have to say that the concept of the “Circular Economy” is a rather recent discovery to me. Perhaps not the philosophy and the processes but the words themselves neatly summing up the principle of minimising wastage and maximising resources. It is of course highly relevant to retail and its traditionally linear processes and…

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Pitch Perfect: Sports Direct Playing the Field

Pitch Perfect: Sports Direct Playing the Field If you want to see some clues as to what the new Mike Ashley House of Fraser might look like, then a good starting point are the new Sports Direct/USC/Flannels superstores. One of the latest is at Lakeside where a 10,000sqm sports and lifestyle experience has taken shape. The Mike Ashley’ jigsaw put together piece by piece. Recent years has seen a subtle move at Sports Direct from just “Pile it high. Sell it cheap” to a more controlled, more organised and less densely displayed proposition. An upscaling of the brand portfolio has…

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A Retail Dilemma: “No Business, No People!” or “No People, No Business!”

A Retail Dilemma: “No Business,  No People!” or “No People, No Business!”   Thanks to everyone who contributed to last week’s post on John Lewis and their approach to investment in the face of cost-cutting and delivering profit. One really important issue raised is a fundamental dilemma for current retail strategists. “No business, No People!” Of course, if there is no business then there will be no people, so every attempt must be made to make any business viable and protect its workforce. However how you ensure this survival and growth is a matter of debate and strategic differences. Certainly, for John…

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Elvis & Kresse: Fighting Fashion Fire with Fire

Elvis & Kresse: Fighting Fashion Fire with Fire So much of the exciting retail scene of today is coming from people with a real passion. The passion is not necessarily for retail initially but comes as a natural evolution of a wider passion for a philosophy, for values and for life. Elvis & Kresse is one of those truly inspirational retail brands that you don’t come across every day. However, it is commanding a loyal following and represents a growing number of business producing beautiful products with a 360-degree ethical and sustainable philosophy. Retail with a passion Their passions are…

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From Foyles to Anthropology: The “Lure” of Eccentric retailing

From Foyles to Anthropology: The “Lure” of Eccentric retailing Last week, in a further example of market consolidation, the UK’s leading book retailer Waterstones bought up the Foyles bookstore business. This included the famous Charing Cross Road store, recently moved and re-furbished. The stories surrounding Foyles are no less than retail folklore. They help to explain its survival, the re-naissance of Waterstones and the revival of many independent book shops. This is in direct competition to Amazon who, you will remember, began life as an online book retailer themselves. Nothing can compete with the price, convenience and efficiency of Amazon.…

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Digital Signage Summit 2018: Disrupting the Store Design Model

Tim Radley, presenting at the Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit 8-45 a.m. – 24th September Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted https://digitalsignagesummit.co.uk   Looking forward to speaking at this very interesting summit on Digital Signage and the Store Experience. It’s a very relevant subject for retailers so hoping to set out the main issues, benefits and pitfalls with the opening presentation of the conference. Look forwards to see you there, bright & early!   The Impact of Digital Signage: Disrupting the Traditional Store Design Model   Whilst creativity, imagination and technical possibilities have grown impressively over recent times, the store…

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Let’s applaud John Lewis: Putting People over Profit

Let’s applaud John Lewis: Putting People over Profit   Let’s put this simply. Retail in the UK is undergoing destructive changes never seen before. There are less consumers with disposable income than previously. These customers prefer to buy online from Amazon and spend whatever else they can on experiences rather than possessions. Department stores are more at risk than most because their traditional model is focused on selling brands, most of which you can now buy cheaper elsewhere. Operationally they are also expensive to run, particularly against the back-drop of hikes in business rates and an apathetic government. Add into…

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Retail Metamorphosis: Lessons from Disruptive Lives

Retail Metamorphosis: Lessons from Disruptive Lives Hot on the heels of seeing the new John Lewis TV advert, here am I, watching a TV programme on caterpillars, butterflies and a variety of other creatures. And I’m thinking, as I ponder the challenges confronting the retail industry, that businesses would do well to learn a little from nature. A lesson in lifestyle From caterpillar to butterfly, the most common metamorphosis, the visual change is startling. The journey from an unassuming bug to a beautiful creature is truly magical. However special effects and admiration are not the reasons for this dramatic change.…

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Generous retailing: A little goes a long way!

Generous retailing: A little goes a long way! Take 2 petrol stations, located only 100 metres apart. Let’s say for example BP and Shell. They are both recently refurbished with spacious forecourts and shiny new stores. They both collaborate with recognised retailers appealing to a similar customer. Let’s also say Marks & Spencer & Waitrose. Their petrol prices are identical and matched daily. They both offer loyalty schemes both for the petrol brands and for the supermarket operators. The staff are helpful and pleasant in both cases. So why is it that I have decided to patronise one of these…

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Digital Signage Summit ’18: Tim Radley “Creating Store Atmosphere!”

Tim Radley, presenting at the Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit 8-45 a.m. – 24th September Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted https://digitalsignagesummit.co.uk Looking forward to speaking at this very interesting summit on Digital Signage and the Store Experience. It’s a very relevant subject for retailers so hoping to set out the main issues, benefits and pitfalls with the opening presentation of the conference. Look forwards to see you there, bright & early!   The Benefits of Digital Signage: No. 1 Creating Store Atmosphere I’ve always spoken about looking at the physical retail store as 2 parts. There is the “Brand…

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Nudie Jeans: The Antidote to Mass Merchandising

nudie-jeans-antidote-to-mass-merchandising

The Morning Post:- 12th August “Nudie Jeans: The Antidote to Mass Merchandising” If you want to experience something which is so far away from mass merchandising as it is possible to be then look at Nudie Jeans, and if possible, visit one of their stores. Nudie Jeans is a Swedish clothing brand originating in Gothenburg, founded in 2001 by Maria Erixon, a former employee and AD of Lee Europe and Swedish designer JC. Erin. “A High-Quality Product Made in a Fair Way!” The concept behind the brand is that… “the more you wear and repair jeans, the more character they have.…

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“Commercial Retail” Overstocking & Under-Valuing the World?

The Daily Post:- 11th September “‘Commercial Retail”: Overstocking & Under-Valuing the World?”     I remember a comment from a best practice range review from some years ago. Having spent a couple of days reviewing the client’s own assortment and comparing with detailed visuals of best practice and competitor ranges, the chairman sighed and leaning back in his chair exclaimed “Who buys all this stuff?” At the time it was an innocent enough reaction, however it turned out to be not only insightful but also an eerily accurate prediction of the overstocking that was to come. The answer to the question today…

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John Lewis: What’s in a logo?

The Morning Post:- 10th September “John Lewis: What’s in a logo?”   So, John Lewis has dramatically unveiled to the world the delivery of its new strategy. A variety of channels, most noticeably a glorious new TV advert, bring to life the retailer’s desire to create an unparalleled customer experience based on its services and the historical strength of its people – or partners. As part of these ambitious initiatives it has rebranded and created new logos and identities for both the John Lewis and Waitrose chains. Sadly, but predictably, a large proportion of the popular debate has centrered around these…

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Retailers & Consumers: A Conflict of Space & Interests

The Evening Post:- 16th August “Retailers & Consumers: A Conflict of Space & Interests”   Many traditional retailers and their customers just don’t “get each other” anymore! A gap has appeared between the priorities of each, the desires, the realistic possibilities of buying & selling – a conflict of interest. The distance that divides the two camps is best seen when we look at the issue of space and more precisely space availability. On the one side we have retailers who are overladen with space. They have built huge store portfolios in times when the size of a retail empire was…

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Le Labo: Scenting an Opportunity

The Morning Post:- 7th August “Le Labo: Scenting an Opportunity”   Le Labo is one cool, expensive perfumery retailer. Its origins are in France – hence “The Lab” – and it draws its inspiration from the halcyon days of perfumeries of the 19th & early 20th centuries. However Le Labo is not just about exquisite scents & smells but is very cleverly put together. As a brand it hits many of the sweet notes that come together to deliver a really successful business in today’s competitive market. Authenticity: Originally individual perfumes were for both men and women. It was only in…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Iceland: No joke for Department Stores

The Daily Post:- 6th August “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Iceland: No joke for department stores”   So, a funny thing happened on the way to the shops. To be precise a couple of funny things with more to follow without doubt. Let’s move forward a few months and I’m making my way into The Range, my local store for value home furnishings and décor. Inside I also find my new local Iceland supermarket selling value groceries. I’m a happy bunny because the 2 stores both appeal to me in terms of assortment, quality and price and so…

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Dyson: Designs on Disruption a Retail Lesson for Us All

The Evening Post:- 3oth July “Dyson: Designs on Disruption a Retail Lesson for Us All”   For those people who have been in the retail business for more than a few years, or have been working in a traditional retail business for what might seem more than a few years, it must appear as though disruption in retail is only for others! However, many so-called disruptors are simply self-evangelists of their own limited impact, and merely following in the footsteps of the truly trailblazing disruptors, buying a ticket on the latest gravy train. Truly today, disruptors have the means to change…

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