Waterstones Social Club: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Yet another survey was published last week showing how the number of closing retail stores on the high streets of the UK significantly outweighs those opening. Sad as that is, it’s no surprise to anyone in the current omnichannel climate. What is surprising is that the store category with the healthiest number of openings, compared to closures, is bookstores. A decade ago the mere thought that bookstores would be leading new store openings would have been dismissed as ridiculous. Amazon began life as an online bookstore, targeting the physical equivalent as its first conquest. It then went on to develop…

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Retail Location Community Planning: A New Angle for a Circular Approach

Retail Location Community Planning: A New Angle for a Circular Approach Retailers in general are re-thinking many of their commercial practices. Location planning departments will be at the head of the queue when it comes to looking for new answers. Scratching their heads for an alternative strategic approach to where and why they open and close stores. Traditional traffic analysis and demographic profiling should still be the bedrock of decision making. Locations that have the highest active number of target customers will be the most successful. Store concept modelling is also logically based. Commercialising a generic offer, a profitable store model.…

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Selfridges Designer Street Room: A Pavement Perspective

As you’d expect there’s been a bit of a media blitz surrounding the appearance of a Skate Bowl in the middle of Selfridges flagship store on Oxford Street. Never one to shy away from innovation it is nonetheless a refreshing story, a positive spin on the department store sector. Whilst the Skate Bowl is sensational in concept and delivery, it is part of a wider departmental concept, which is the new centrepiece of a forward-thinking strategy on how to use retail square metres. Despite Selfridges astounding and unsurpassed collection of brands, the commercial future is more than just stuff. The…

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Incredible Universe: “Welcome to the Global Shopping Mall”

Tim Radley speaking at the PLUGin event – “Welcome to the Global Shopping Mall – future of E-commerce and Retail” 31st October 2018: 6-30 to 8-30 pm Central Working Victoria, 25 Eccleston Place, London. SW1W 9NF For more information and to book: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/plugin-welcome-to-the-global-shopping-mall-future-of-e-commerce-and-retail-tickets-51031747330?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete   Those, with a longer retail tooth, will remember an extreme retail concept from the 1990s called Incredible Universe. At 17,000 sqm it was a retail heavyweight, selling everything electrical and technological, such as it was back then. The ultimate “Category Killer.” It was killed off by its operational scale and, even before the internet, by its…

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The Promised Land of Creativity: The Future for Visual Merchandisers

The Promised Land of Creativity: The Future for Visual Merchandisers There’s always much talk about the future of visual merchandising but surprisingly little about the evolution of the role of the visual merchandiser. It’s almost as though beautiful stores happen by magic. And that misconception is certainly one that still holds back the VM profession, its recognition and rewards. However, all markets and individual retailers are on a retail journey. The seas are choppy and rapidly changing and the flags of VM are firmly tied to this ship. So, let’s look at some key retail trends and see what the…

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The Consumer is Dead: Long live the Retailer Community

The Consumer is Dead: Long live the Retailer Community Consumer is such a terrible way to describe the people who come into our stores and spend money with us. It’s equally inappropriate and impersonal even for those who never dare to darken our doorways. Consuming is a process of devouring without consideration.  Power stations devour fossil fuels. Blue Whales devour plankton indiscriminately. Ultimately consuming is only about necessity. Consumers of a bygone age. In terms of retailing, the use of the term “consumer” originates from the “Golden Age of Consumerism” of the 1950s. During this time, mass production brought affordable…

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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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