retail location strategy & destination delivery

Where there are people there is retail!

Retail as a leisure activity, an emotional pastime rather than a necessity journey has transformed the opportunities for selling “things to people” both for traditional retail locations as well as for the new breed of retail attractions.



Competition now for all retail locations is not just between retailers within a traffic centre but between retail destinations themselves as traffic magnets. The dangers and the opportunities are not now limited to new kids on the block, but to completely new blocks themselves.

Whether a traditional destination – town centre, BID, neighbourhood centre, retail park or shopping centre, or one of the myriad of new locations – leisure and entertainment centres, museums, theme parks, universities, airports and travel hubs – getting retail right firstly requires the correct strategy and secondly the perfect delivery.

Place managers, counsellors, BID Directors, town planners and all those responsible for the regeneration of town centres & high streets - the simple truth for thriving retail destinations is the right assortment of shops with each one as good as it possibly can be!

“The right shops & the best shops”


In achieving this, complacency has become the enemy of existing retail locations whilst inexperience remains the obstacle of the new retail destination.

With such a range of retail at hand, traffic generation must now ultimately be as a result of emotional attraction, however shopping locations must first and foremost ensure that they are relevant and satisfy the fundamental missions of their customers. The first step must be to know your customer or customer groups and to supply the retail and the retailers they want.

The first target is to protect and keep the most local demographics building on the important considerations of ease of access and the rising preference for local products stimulating the local community and businesses. Beyond this the building of a critical mass of appropriate and relevant retail can be used to attract customers from further afield where the benefits of choice or exclusivity, value or luxury, authority and inspiration can outweigh the disadvantages of travel and inconvenience.

Identify your realistic customer groups and construct a retail offer to appeal to them.

VM=Venue Mapping

Retail location analytics enables any retail location from town centres & shopping centres to leisure parks & airports to deliver the most commercial mix of retail stores by product categories, type of stores and market position. In contrast to prevailing culture this necessitates the creation of critical masses of traditional competitors for the mutual benefit of all. The battle is to build traffic and no single retailer can do this but all can sell more from the additional footfall flocking to a category destination. Customers don’t want to fail in their shopping mission, particularly when inconvenience is part of the journey, and only the offering of sufficient choice can persuade the modern customer to travel for shopping.

In this lifestyle and brand orientated culture it is not simply the combination of stores selling the correct categories that is important but that they represent the correct mix of retailers from independents and local destinations to regional chains and international brands. Lifestyle positioning is everything and allows the practicalities of shopping success to transcend to emotional engagement.

This is when you become a retail destination. When retail and services, shops, banks, beauty salons and bakeries combine to capture the target customer, where an endless cycle of events and activities serve to perpetually attract this same customer and where food supplied as fast food foraging or sophisticated dining complements the retail and satisfies the same customer appetite.

Know your shopper, know what retail and services they need, build the correct store numbers and size of stores, attract the correct product mix and you are well on the way to destination success. Retail location analytics will tell any retailer where they currently stand, compared to local competitors and to where they need to be, and supply the road map on how to achieve the goal.

The practicalities of becoming a retail destination can be formidable which is why working “one shop at a time!” is the perfect way to build the critical mass and to create the momentum of the retail snowball. Attracting professional chains is an important part of the process but the winning formula requires the integration of local retailers and independents to offer the unique flavour essential to any retail destination.



VM=Vendor Management

Being independent does not mean being incompetent. “Working one shop at a time!” can create professionalism in the smallest retail business in assortment planning, buying and merchandising, store design, display and visual merchandising, marketing, promotions and customer service. Independent is essential for independents, self-reliance a requisite of retail destinations but an injection of retail expertise at all levels of a retail business, BID, leisure or cultural institution can be worth its literal weight in gold.

Even with the correct retail mix, quantity will not off-set the lack of quality. It is the increased retail professionalism that propels independent traders to become “local destination retailers” that in turn transforms tired old towns into shopping heavens, neighbourhood wastelands into convenience wonderlands and fuels the evolution of leisure, travel and cultural destinations into viable and valuable retail venues.

Ultimately it is this combination of quantity and quality that will create successful retail locations, drive traffic and footfall and create the virtuous cycle that can save and regenerate the retail heartlands of traditional high streets and shopping centres whilst integrating successfully newer less likely locations to complement and compete on a healthy level for the benefit of everyone.


Our expert workshops:
Retail location strategy & physical delivery workshops:

VM-Unleashed’s 1-day workshop discusses all areas in the delivery of attractive & profitable retail locations through best practice retail location strategy & physical delivery.

It is personalised to the audience, to the sector and to the job function and objectives of the team present, however most benefit is achieved from an attendance from across a variety of departments from planning and finance, buying & merchandising, location strategy, environmental planning, marketing, sales and commercial.

The workshop process can also include a day of client visits and discussions leading to a review in the workshop of the client’s location and stores, as well as reviews and reference to competitors and current international best practice. The workshop itself is a combination of visual stimulation and process insights.

Every workshop is written and delivered to be as relevant and productive for each client as possible including both individual and team exercises and discussions.

The typical agenda is as below, waiting your personal additions and requirements:

    • strategies for retail, customer targets and retail critical mass
    • analysis of number of outlets, size of outlets and overall capacity
    • analysis of retail mix by product category, type of store and quality of store
    • measurement of store experience level – design, vm, marketing, customer service…
    • analysis of “experience indexing” across stores and cumulative against competitors
    • quantitative & qualitative comparison with competitive destinations -”retail indexing”
    • analysis of the fashion position of the destination against demographics
    • assessment of barriers to traffic – access, parking, opening hours
    • assessment of retail community opportunities, marketing, events & promotions
    • opportunities for assortment development from essential mix
    • linking retail to the primary destination mission and purpose
    • development of essential retail skills
    • appropriate price, promotional strategy and delivery

Different modules can be combined to create personalised workshops.

For more information:
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
“VM=Venue Mapping” – retail location analytics to identify “shopportunities!”

“What do I need to do to create the optimum retail mix for my retail location with the correct number & size of stores, mixture of store types, quality of store deliveries, selling the correct assortment ranges and in-line with the visitor demographics and taste?”


A detailed analysis of the client retail location (town centre/SC/leisure retail location) against competitor destinations to measure weaknesses and opportunities to improve the retail proposition and to drive traffic.

    • town centres, BIDs, shopping centres, airports & travel hubs, leisure parks, holiday retail, universities, museums and cultural centres
    • analysis of number of outlets, size of outlets and overall capacity
    • analysis of retail mix by product category, type of store and quality of store
    • measurement of store experience level – design, vm, marketing, customer service…
    • analysis of “experience indexing” across stores and cumulative against competitors
    • quantitative & qualitative comparison with competitive destinations -”retail indexing”
    • analysis of the fashion position of the destination against demographics
    • assessment of barriers to traffic – access, parking, opening hours
    • assessment of retail community opportunities, marketing, events & promotions
    • a unique combination of legwork, brainwork and action planning


    • Identify fundamental weaknesses and opportunities in the current retail mix & proposition
    • Improve the mix of stores and the cumulative “retail index” against competition
    • Identify potential for independent retailers to become local destinations through improved processes, buying, marketing and proposition – improved “experience Index”
    • Prioritise ways to improve/refresh/regenerate the environment, improve the dynamic experience  and event activity for maximum ROI
    • Cost effective ways to improve existing retailers – independents & local chains
    • One Shop at a Time!”
    • Action plan and “hit-list” for introduction of new retailers
    • Quick-wins for existing retailers, medium goals for retail communities and longer term goals for town planners


    • Benchmarking client location stores and competitor destinations
    • Interviews with all stakeholders – councils, organisation, retailers, retail associations…
    • Analysis of all existing relevant market research, catchment and demographic data sources
    • Analysis of retail location events, marketing, promotions and seasonal initiatives
    • Series of workshops and final delivery presentation 

For more information click the link
Venue Mapping “Shopportunities” – retail location analytics
+44 (0)7967 609849


Our specialist services:
“VM=Vendor Management”– improved retail professionalism & store refreshment - “one shop at a time!”

“How do I efficiently and cost-effectively improve the retail proposition, processes, professionalism and performance of a retail community formed from independent retailers, local destination chains and national retail brands?”


Quick to action revitalisation of independent retailers and small chains (and stores of national chains if appropriate) improving individual physical stores delivery & performance, as well as part of the wider retail location regeneration

    • Working through retail community workshops, individual store surgeries, shop revitalisation plans, quick-win actions, ongoing catalyst initiatives and retail destination sustainable support
    • Specific store involvement set against the wider “Shopportunities” retail location plan
    • Working with each retailer to improve the assortment structure planning, store space planning, visual merchandising, shop refreshment, events, marketing & promotional calendars, staffing & customer service, store operations, and store rules & schedules
    • Identifying and delivering customer focused, visible improvements for “quick ROI wins!”
    • Working collaboratively with all retailers to leave a “lasting legacy”


    • Revitalise existing small retail businesses individually and as a retail community to improve individual conversion and sales performances whilst increasing footfall and traffic as a retail location group
    • Identify “quick-wins” to effect tangible sales improvements
    • Support and assist in the implementation of priority ROI actions
    • Maximise available grants, local and national funding
    • Support with “quick-wins” the longer term plans of BIDs and town centre planners
    • Generate community collaboration and energy and a “retail destination heart!”
    • Generate a culture of “self-help” and “community help” leaving a living legacy


    • Assessment of goals and objectives of existing business plans for the retail community
    • Development of working structures & timetables – Retail community workshops, individual store surgeries…
    • Creation of ROI plans for each retailer with working strategies, responsibilities & timetables
    • Initial assessment for each retailer of KPI store performance, assortment structure planning
    • Initial assessment of promotions and marketing calendar
    • Initial assessment of store operations, replenishment and store regimes
    • Creation of the “retail community refreshment plan” with milestone objectives, responsibilities and initiatives
    • Ongoing “hands-on & hands-off” retailer support programme

For more information click the link
Vendor Management “one shop at a time!”– retail professionalism & store refreshment
+44 (0)7967 609849


Whether you are an established player, or a new kid on the retail block, we can probably help improve your efficiency, your expertise, your store delivery and of course your sales performance and profitability.

I look forward to hearing your questions, whether large or small.

Always expert and easily accessible.

Thank you.
+44 (0)7967 609849

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