Future of Visual Merchandising: Tim Radley- Retail Design Expo

“The Future of Visual Merchandising: – Are we there yet?” Tim Radley, CEO VM-Unleashed Speaking at The Retail Design Expo 3rd May 2018  – 10-40 am Olympia, London   You don’t need me to alert you to the fact that retail is in very unchartered territory at the moment as a combination of e-commerce & social media, expensive store portfolios, business rate adjustments and the customer’s changing behaviour towards almost everything from loyalty, possessions, experiences and value for money, all contribute to the tearing up the maps that we have always used to navigate safe passage to profit. The traditional…

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VM & Display Show: “The Commercial Context for Creativity”

The Evening Post:- 20th April Visual Merchandising: “The Commercial Context for Creativity”   It was a pleasure yesterday to be speaking at the VM& Display Show in London. Many thanks to all indeed for pulling yourselves out of the beautiful sunshine and coming along to listen to me. The show itself was full of innovative and creative businesses displaying everything retailers could wish for from the latest lighting and technology to a huge array of traditional props from plastic flamingos to incredibly detailed trees collected together in nothing short of mock rainforests.   And that was really good to see. The show…

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The Future of Visual Merchandising…Creative or Operational?

The Daily Post:- 16th April The Future of Visual Merchandising…Creative or Operational?   In the midst of answering client questions, and preparing for a couple of presentations in the near future, at the VM & Display Show and Retail Design Expo (well worth putting in your diaries) I am reminded yet again that “What is the future of VM?” is without doubt the most common question I am asked, both privately and for public airing. And of course, since the advent of e-commerce and omnichannel, with a resultant increase in the rate of retail change never witnessed before…this question just gets more…

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“Making Money from VM” – Tim Radley @ VM&Display Show

“Making & saving money from new store concepts, VM & display!” Tim Radley, CEO VM-Unleashed speaking at The Retail Focus Forum: VM&Display Show 19th April 2018  – 1 pm 18 – 19 April 2018 Business Design Centre, London   We live in a retail climate where online retailing is making significant in roads into the sales and profits traditionally commanded by physical stores. Customers and retailers alike are questioning the future direction of physical stores, some to the point of asking whether there is a future for physical stores at all. Of more relevance is a debate about what our future…

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The White Company: Living life in the Soft Lane!

There surely cannot be a better example of why online retailing will never replace the physical store than The White Company. The recent opening of the extension of Westfield London sees the latest incarnation of the home retailer, now lifestyle retailer, inviting the customer to literally dive into the sumptuous textures and fabrics that make-up its assortment.   If this is your brand taste then there is nothing to compare, however for any retailer of physical stores, and online as well, there is much to admire in its strategy, assortment development, customer service and its store experience. The White Company…

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The 2 different ways to encourage customers to spend

The Evening Post:- 5th April 2 different ways to encourage customers to spend    Do your retail sales blow hot & cold?  Well, with the sun shining today in the UK and for most, at least, the winter snow receding into memories if not from the balance sheets, it reminds me of a more than relevant story. Anyone remember the tale from when they were younger about the wager between the North wind and the South wind on who could remove the quickest the coat from the man walking in the country. To cut a long story short, the north wind…

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MissGuided: Heat Seeking Fashion Gets Physical

Born and bred online, young fashion retailer Missguided is now cutting its terrestrial teeth as it continues to roll out its physical flagship stores to major shopping centres in the UK. Full of attitude, high on fashion and riding a dynamic rollercoaster the task in hand was always to translate this successful e-commerce formula into real stores considering their limitations of space, product availabilities and operational restrictions. And while it learns well from the best of bricks ‘n’ mortar it brings new thinking and ideas to the physical space without the baggage of tradition constantly pulling it back down to…

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Does your store backroom space show you value your staff?

The Daily Post:- 5th April Does the amount of store gross sqm you dedicate to your staff really show how much you value them?   I’ve been visiting stores of a couple of similar retailers in terms of their sector and size of store. They have different market positions but have the commonality that customer service is very important to their proposition and ultimately their conversion and profit. Despite the market positioning differences, many elements in the store are similar from the density of displays, type of fixture, layout of the retail space and so on. However the thing that sets them…

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Hope Springs Eternal with the Beauty of a Retail Calendar

The Morning Post:- 5th April “Hope Springs Eternal with the Beauty of a Retail Calendar“   Helping a retail client to exit the Easter promotions and move into a mid-season sale the staff, and even the store itself, naturally succumb to some mild form of “Post Event Syndrome.” For sure April brings showers, certainly in the UK, but it also closes an intense period of retail activities driven by a condensed seasonal event calendar. From the gloom of February we brighten our days with Valentines pinks & reds and then onto early Spring, through Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s day and finally…

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Do you know the “new” rules for your next store design?

Retail professionals are under extreme pressure to deliver what they always have, but now in a retail landscape that is being transformed by changing customer behaviour and a migration of retail sales to e-commerce.   There is a level of confusion and indecision that has entered many retail teams, that comes from the evolution of omnichannel. The pace of that indecision is increasing as the repercussions of wrong decisions become commercially more significant and more critical. Getting retail right with every new store opening, with every new collection, was difficult to do with the “goal-posts in the same place” Now…

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Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing

The Morning Post:- 27th March Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing   Fresh back from viewing the advance guard at the extension to the Westfield London centre in White City. It is already impressive and will be spectacular, I have no doubt, when all the stores are open in a month or two. What you see in the first openings from retailers such as Lush, White Company, West Elm, Boots, Currys, and of course the showcase John Lewis, is a real and tangible response to the pressures put on stores through the migration of sales to online. In this omnichannel environment these…

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Fnatic Bunkr: The Physical Experience of eSports

If you read my post regarding Sports Direct and Game proposing to share store space to introduce eSports arenas and you’re not familiar with Bunkr then read on. Bunkr was a pop-up eSports store and social space set up by Fnatic, one of the worlds biggest and most popular eSports teams. The concept appeared in Shoreditch in London and although planned as a pop-up of a few weeks lasted for over a year. It closed recently but promises to return soon in a different location bigger and better than ever. It serves as very good food for thought for everyone…

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Selfridges: “Popping-up” Down the Corner Shop

On any visit into London its always worth a visit to Selfridges. It really has to be the most dynamic and imaginative retailer out-there always inventing, changing and challenging as it seeks to drive ever more customer through its shiny doors. It would be easy to be complacent, already having the most amazing assortment of brands, and seemingly every angle covered in the fight for footfall.     Last November saw the beginning of its unveiling of its new luxury accessories hall which when fully opened will apparently be the largest one in the world. No holding back there. However…

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Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for survival!

The Morning Post:- 23rd March Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for retail success! Sometimes it makes sense to draw a line in the sand, even when the sands are changing at an unprecedented rate. This is certainly the case in retail. We are not surrounded completely by doom-and-gloom retail news, however there is undoubtedly a lot of it. This reached a focus this morning with the announcement from Next of its latest results. Whilst not perfect and admitting some errors in assortment and availability, Next is a highly respected retail business with great expertise in buying, a consistent fashion position and…

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The New Era of Retail Collaborations: Sports Direct & Game!

The Evening Post:- 22nd March “The New Era of Retail Collaborations: Sports Direct & Game!”   Roaming through my rather cavernous Sports Direct in search of school sports supplies, I was considering the proposed collaboration between Sports Direct and Game. The idea is to share retail space and bring their brands together under one roof. It makes complete sense, serving different retail and leisure needs but to the same customer, whilst both offering something positive to the joint physical experience. The collaboration is also interesting in that it marries together two retail brands heading from very different origins but now to…

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“Retail is Performance Theatre – Twas it not always so?”

The Morning Post:- 21st March “Retail is Performance Theatre – Twas it not always so?”   I thought it time to write something about the issue of theatre in retail. This has been stimulated by the news that John Lewis has had all its sales personnel at its new White City store personally trained by a drama academy. Once again hats off to John Lewis for this initiative, one of the oldest dogs teaching new tricks to everyone else. However, the fact is, theatre in retail is not new. In fact, literally, the original face of retail was theatre. We were a nation…

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Missguided Opinion: Cracks in the E-commerce Golden Egg

The Evening Post:- 20th March “Missguided Opinion: Cracks in the E-commerce Golden Egg!”   Firstly, let me say I am a huge fan of Missguided. Whilst not the classic target customer I remember the palpable excitement of walking through their first store in Westfield Stratford, conceived in collaboration with Dalziel & Pow. It was such a refreshing store with so many ideas for the new era of physical shopping, not bogged down or held back by the mistakes and misconceptions of a retail history. The way it used the entrance to create amazing theatre and spectacle, the way it combined the latest…

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“The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”

The Daily Post:- 20th March “The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”   Now the story I’m about to tell is a true story, and its a story about one of the UK’s biggest retailing businesses. They shall remain nameless as their identity is not the issue but to illustrate that improvements are always there even amongst the most seasoned operators. The retail business had in place a store refreshment programme and had allocated a dedicated team to work through its store portfolio applying a refreshment programme to each store. The process took 2 days per…

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“What’s the Real Cost of Retail Store Disciplines?”

The Morning Post:- 17th March “What’s the real cost of retail store discipline” On a benchmarking tour of value retailers this week I found my initial curiosity and enthusiasm slowly but surely drained as I was repeatedly faced with dull store interiors, poor lighting, dirty shelves, torn graphics, display chaos and in some instances such a scarcity of staff that I could have used happily bedded down for a few hours without fear of being disturbed. The point is not about or indeed restricted to low price or discount retailers, but about the intrinsic value of basic store disciplines. What is the relative cost of implementing and enforcing store…

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“Take the Easy Money” – M&S Bakery Heaven in a Block!!

The Daily Post:- 16th March “Take the Easy Money” Wandering around a Marks & Spencer food court in the weeks before Easter is still a very pleasurable experience if you enjoy comfort eating at this inclement time in an inclement year. M&S has had its fare share of criticism over recent years, quite rightly in many cases, however it still remains one of the retail juggernauts emanating from sepia days which has managed to steer a reasonable course through the e-commerce revolution, managing a huge store portfolio, expanding its brand authority across a variety of new product sectors and establishing itself as…

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