Accessible Expertise: The Independent Retailer Support Kit

Being an independent retailer does not mean you have to be inefficient, unattractive,
and uncompetitive.



In fact in the fight for retail traffic between competing town centres the role of independents is more critical than ever in creating distinct flavour and personality. When independent retailers escape the cloak of consumer invisibility and exchange it for the colourful and attractive garb of local destination retailers then shopping venues truly begin to attract attention, command respect and pull in the customer pounds that they so … Continue reading

From Independent Store to Local Destination Powerhouse!

Sometimes having your cake and eating it seems to be one of the few things that the retail customer can actually succeed in doing as they stroll the lengths and breadths of Britain’s struggling high streets. There are truly some inspiring and inventive concepts in the world of coffee shops and eateries or at the very least convenience and comfort.


However culinary creativity is not enough to satisfy the customer appetite for quality, professional retail stores yet avoiding the predictable parades of “the same old … Continue reading

2nd Joy of a Retail Spring – What do my store staff really do?

As retail stores become more remote from the head office of the business, through more diverse and dispersed portfolios, it becomes more and more difficult to know what operations the store teams are performing, how frequently they are performing them, and to what standards.



This understanding is ironically more important than ever as stores serve and survive in a wider variety of contexts, graded and segmented in a growing number of ways, delivering more focused assortments to more different people in a retail world that … Continue reading

Home Cooking: IKEA’s Eating Evolution

It is not many yellow and blue moons ago that the food proposition at IKEA revolved around the manifestation of meatballs, supported stoically by sausages in rolls and competitively priced ice-cream cones with a choice of 3 syrups.



Whilst these destination delights are fully preserved for both loyal patrons and new generations to discover, the market leading home retailer is evolving the variety of its culinary concepts to satisfy the voracious appetites of its customers’ demands whilst growing the already healthy size of … Continue reading

1st Joy of a Retail Spring – Understanding customer behaviour

1st Joy of a Retail Spring – Understanding Customer Behaviour

Make it your new year’s resolution to understand how your customer behaves inside your stores. In many ways having got them into your store you’ve done the hard part, and everything they do, and everything they buy now, is a bonus that cannot be ignored.



The key is understanding how your customer reacts to your store, your product display, your layout, your service and everything else that can convert a sale.

Understand what is … Continue reading

Tim Radley at the “Placemaking Strategy Conference 2017″

The “Retail Strategy Planning & Physical Store Delivery” Workshop.

Tim Radley, CEO of VM-Unleashed! will be speaking and addressing specific retail planning problems and questions at the…
“Placemaking Strategy Conference 2017″
Nottingham Conference Centre. March 22nd. 



For placemaking managers, city councillors, BID Directors, town planners and all those responsible for the regeneration of town centres & high streets - the simple truth of a successful and thriving retail destination is that you need the right assortment of shops and you need each … Continue reading

“The joys of a retail Spring!” – Essential Retail Insights

And now 2017 is well & truly upon us.


We bring to you…”The Joys of a retail Spring”
A timely and seasonal summary of retail know-how,  a dozen essential insights to sow the seeds of success in the year ahead.



Coming soon…


Week-by-week over the coming months, we’ll bring to you a dozen of the very best ways to understand your retail business in a more detailed and enlightened way, and explain how this knowledge can be galvanised and developed into increased efficiencies … Continue reading

Toms “One-for-One” Love: Fashionable Philanthropy

Invention may be born from necessity but inspiration and originality comes from the addition of a commercial heart. In the rarefied atmosphere of true originality there are few names to pollute the pure air of brands such as Toms selling products to improve the world with every purchase.



Its new stores are not only presenting a collection of clothing, footwear and accessories, or even the newly introduced coffee shop corners, but an ongoing story of philanthropy where every ring of the cash register … Continue reading

Packing the Hackett Punch: Attending to Vending Detail

Value is not a reality of price alone but the perception of benefit over price. Perception in itself can be the clear communication of reality or the addition of emotional attributes that ultimately constitute brand value.



For a retailer like Hackett in a competitive swell of quality menswear brands using every available tool to enhance the value of the brand heritage, leveraging every luxury thread to add value and quality, working with every breath of quiet customer care is an essential to converting … Continue reading

Hunter Gatherer: More than Just a Rainy Day

A perennial problem for any noteworthy brand with a reputation built on an icon is the development of a wider commercial proposition away from the sanctuary of its established safe-haven.



Hunter rules the rainy roost for premium Wellington boot buyers and is currently circumnavigating the choppy waters of expansion developing an assortment for the wider world of inclement conditions, encompassing everything from jackets and jumpers to a full range of rugged and resilient rainwear.

Its new store concept, as illustrated by London’s Regent … Continue reading

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…Attain Retail Best Practice

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the twelfth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.12 “The Quickest Ways to turn my Average Business into a Best Practice Retailer!”



Retail Sense & Sensibility!” analytics into answers into actions


Retail in many ways is the most perplexing of industries as whilst it is built on quantifiable parameters and defined quantities its performance and success quite often seems unrelated to the logic of numbers.

This is, of … Continue reading

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…Display Product Stories

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the eleventh day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me… No.11 “The Most Commercial Ways to Group & Display my Product Stories.”



Whilst retailers are successful through selling individual options it is the presentation of product stories that attract customers and present a proposition that is appealing to customers.

Product stories will be a balance of category displays, coordinated themes, coordinated categories, silhouettes and hero product display.

Delivering the desired and required customer proposition … Continue reading

On the Tenth Day of Christmas…More Customer Visits

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the tenth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.10 “The Strategy to Increase the Frequency of Customer Visits.”



One KPI improvement that can have the most decisive impact of sales levels is to increase the number of times your loyal customers visit your stores.

Whilst this involves a range of marketing initiatives from store windows to social media campaigns the key to success is the strategic planning of the … Continue reading

On the Ninth Day of Christmas…VMToolkit to Control Stores

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the ninth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.9 “The tools we need to control our stores.”



VMTookit & operations efficiency benchmarking

Having the correct VMToolkit ensures that ROI is focused on creating excellence and efficiency in the disciplines of store VM operations and support functions that make a difference to your business, your stores and your customer..

the lack of the correct guidelines, processes and skills will result … Continue reading

On the Eighth Day of Christmas…Omni-Channel Assortments

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the eighth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.8 “Details of how we should distribute our assortment across our Omni-channels.”



The reduction of physical store capacities for an omni-channel retailer, supported by flexible and reliable inter-channel replenishment, allows the development of inspirational, best-seller focused, showcase store experiences.

The inability to edit  assortments effectively will continue to weigh down physical stores with the burden of carrying an unnecessary complete inventory.

Continue reading

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…International Assortments

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the seventh day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.7 “How we should change our assortment when we go to new countries?”



Correct benchmarking and analysis of different international market trends in product taste, shopping behaviour and store delivery practices can successfully blend a strong brand with essential local initiatives.

Failure to recognise differences in shopping behaviour across international markets will leave any brand’s stores inappropriate, inefficient and under-performing .

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…Secrets of the Product

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the sixth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.6 “The Secrets of why Customers Like or dislike our products?”


why customers-like-our-products

Through identifying the hierarchy of importance for product design elements and features a retailer can design and buy assortments with investment of time and money that will translate to sales and margins.

Failure to recognise the correct relative importance of product design features can result in wasted investment in … Continue reading

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…Profit from Queues

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the fifth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.5 “How to Make More Money from my Queues!”



An effective and efficient queuing strategy has many benefits from minimising abandonment, loss prevention, incremental impulse sales, loyalty building and customer service engagement

Failure to control and maximise the queuing opportunities means a retailer will never find that “sweet spot” of happy customers willing to queue and engage whilst delivering additional impulse sales

Continue reading

On the Fourth Day of Christmas…Category Performance

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the fourth day of Christmas VM-Unleashed gave to me…
No.4 “How to maximise performance of my Best Categories.”



The performance of any department or category is the result of the assortment itself and the delivery in store – its location, visibility, display, service, visual communication and many other touch-points

Failure to understand how each part of the store delivery either helps or hinders the sales performance of each department and … Continue reading

On the Third Day of Christmas…How much Stuff?

“The 12 Gifts of Retail Christmas” for a Happy New Year

On the third day of Christmas VM-Unleashed! gave to me…
No.3 “The Answer to How Much Product to put in my Store!”



Space planning & visual merchandising are the two cornerstones on which an attractive and commercial store are built

At the heart of this is the eternal question – “How much product should I put in my store?”

Get space planning wrong, allocate product incorrectly or deliver visual merchandising operations inefficiently … Continue reading