from shopkeeper to retailer


Many people may well ask…so what’s the difference between a shopkeeper and a retailer?

Well, historically it may just have been a matter of terminology for a business with a single or small chain of shops selling stuff and making a living.

However simply having the right stuff, or indeed the only stuff around, to satisfy the humble needs of a captive market is also a scenario now just for the history books, framed in sepia sentimentality.

For every type of shop & shopkeeper retailing is now a business. A business in a highly competitive market place where customer traffic, loyalty and revenue have to be fought for every step of the customer journey.


With choice in abundance, the customer needs not only the reassurance that you have what they need, but also an emotional brand reaction to your store. In short, customers need to “like” you, as well as need you!

Getting customers to like you, and then also not letting them down is not that easy, and requires strategy and best practice skills across a range of different functions from the commercial to the creative.

To get ahead and stay ahead, shopkeepers need to be professional, customer focused, visually aware, commercially astute and data literate in their dealings with suppliers, partners and their customers…they need to be retailers!

And being independent, if that’s what you are, must not mean being incompetent, invisible and ultimately insolvent. Independent shopkeepers which can propel themselves into the role of “Local Destinations” are worth their weight in gold to retail locations, and are attractive to customers because of their unique personalities and tailored offer.


Your time is right if you’re ready!

An hour in the presence of your customer could be worth a lifetime of business!

An hour every month in the presence of your customer is a lifetime of business!

What’s your hour looking like at the moment?



What’s involved in the evolution of shopkeeper to retailer, from just another independent into a “local destination” retail powerhouse?

assortment structure…commercially constructed ranges with category balance and profitable size, colour and price architectures.

product stories…grouping of product conceived as ready-made visual blocks including powerful categories, inspirational themes and coordinated collections.

space planning…calculating and delivering the most commercial option & unit capacities into stores, with correct conversion of square metres into fixtures and linear metres.

retail calendars…strategically and commercially planned seasonal dynamics with prepared product phasing, promotional messages, events and activities for omni-channel delivery

in-season management…predicting selling patterns, rates of sale, product sell-throughs with contingency plans for replenishment, refreshment, renewal and actions to sell.

promotions and events…defining a strategic and brand position on the use of promotions to add product value to add margin, and stimulate rates of sale to protect margin

visual merchandising…developing appropriate display principles and techniques supported by visual guidelines and planograms for display delivery and to facilitate “buying for space!”

store operations…introducing processes, activities , roles and responsibilities into stores from first delivery to cashing-up to increase efficiency, customer experience and reduce costs.

store compliance…traditional and technological communication with store personnel to instruct, monitor & correct guidelines and for dynamic training and information delivery.

store disciplines…daily, weekly and monthly rules, regimes and tools to assist retailers in housekeeping and the display and commercial maintenance of store displays.

store selling…remote training and dynamic communication to educate and inspire retail associates in product and service to deliver higher conversion through display and sales.

store layouts…operational and shop-floor allocation of space delivering physical customer journeys for “ease-of-shop” navigation and sightlines for product inspiration.

store environment…cost-effective store designs combining brand-box furniture, lighting and materials with dynamic displays, product interaction and lifestyle events

location planning…expansion & consolidation of store portfolios bringing together locations with target customer demographics, high traffic and low competitor densities.

brand proposition…a clear, consistent and attractive proposition delivered through product, store experience, communication and service to transform a retail business from “just-another name” into a “must-have brand!”


VM-unleashed helps shopkeepers evolve into retailers…

We identify opportunities to introduce professionalism and retail-thinking into your way of working and collaborating and communicating with the world

We evolve the retailer mind-set through workshops & exercises

We work to add commercial best practice into your assortment structure

We directly introduce new processes and retail principles

We help to deliver new store elements, visuals, displays & brand materials

We develop training and communication tools for store personnel

We evolve the “brand proposition” to build value and loyalty with both retail partners, suppliers and the final customer


So now, what about you?

Are you on the road from shopkeeper to retailer?

Are you in need of some retail evolution in your business?









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