Pop-Up for Tea: Tasteful Treats from Wedgwood

A mere meander from the horticultural highlights of the Chelsea flower show is a marriage made in heritage heaven between Wedgwood and John Lewis.   Just a few steps into the foyer of Peter Jones in Sloane Square is a land of serene ceramics and tasteful elegance, a month-long pop-up experience that turns tasteful into tasty as the setting for the Wedgwood Conservatory Cafe, a place of tranquil relaxation and quiet indulgence. The Wedgwood world is emblazoned in powder blue, provided on this occasion by graphic walls, plinths and packaging, the backdrop for six Wanderlust tea designs in yellows, reds,…

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8th Joy of Retail Spring: Defining Omnichannel Assortments

The question “how much product should I put in my stores?” has always generated animated and healthy debate amongst retail businesses. That question, and the discussions around it, just got a whole lot more complicated as the opportunities and threats of e-commerce and true omni-channel assortment allocation has made store capacities one of the most important decisions for retailers to get right.   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…

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The Sound of Silence: Stimulating Airport Retail

As an increasing number of airports opt to turn down the din, Tim Radley contributes to an article in Frontier Magazine which takes a look at whether low-noise environments can pave the way for happier shopping   While the warm and welcoming voice over the tannoy and accompanying ‘bing bong’ are often associated with happy holiday memories, loud terminals combined with the noise from the latest travel gadgets are leading to a sensory overload among passengers. In turn, this can heighten stress levels and dampen the desire to shop. The concept of the silent airport is a step in the…

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Sales = Traffic x Conversion: The Complexities of a Simple Equation

Knowledge of traffic and conversion is essential to measure and maximise sales opportunities across stores, however the knowledge of traffic and conversion by category display within the store reveals the mysteries of the shopping experience and promises the riches of increased sales productivity for every gondola, wall and precious retail square metre.   What retail success boils down to is selling as much as possible to as many people as possible. In the context of any retail business this is very much in line with the key departments of marketing and merchandising. The role of marketing, in its widest sense,…

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Sustainable Selfridges: Natural Partner for a Material World

Time never stands still for Selfridges. The dawn of every day is reason enough to energise the store with new messages, products and brands to perpetuate its reputation as one of the world’s most exciting retail experiences.   When seasonality subsides for a second Selfridges fills the void with self-generated events bringing every aspect of its considerable assortment to the attention of its captive customers – amidst its Spring activities for Easter and Mother’s Day there was still ample time for a powerful collaboration with major fashion brands based around sustainable materials in fashionwear. “Material World – What on earth…

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7th Joy of Retail Spring: Grading International Assortments

It used to be one of the great discussion points regarding customer demographics in the early days of international expansion. “Are all customers the same?” Clearly experience and time has shown us that they are not the same – not within a single country and absolutely not internationally. Any retailer expanding to new lands must be aware and take actions to focus and modify the proposition – starting with the assortment on offer.   Correct benchmarking and analysis of different international market trends in product taste, shopping behaviour and store delivery practices can successfully blend a strong central brand with essential local commercial factors. Failure…

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VMTrends: “The Dawn of the ‘Sensual Merchandiser!'”

Visual merchandising has always been difficult to define and as stores develop into multi-media and sensory experiences then the realm of visual merchandising will evolve further. It will embrace the sensual worlds of music, imagery, video, digital technology, smell, product interaction and lifestyle & promotional events. All this, which is traditionally the responsibility of marketing, store design, merchandising and other retail functions must be integrated with one strategy and one creative concept.   In an ideal world the vision and the delivery of the dynamic store experience should now come under the responsibility of an integrated team and ultimately one department…

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VM Trends: Tim Radley in Discussion – Retail Design Expo’17

VM Trends: “An End to ‘Easy’ Visual Merchandising!” Tim Radley, CEO of VM-Unleashed! will be in discussion at the Retail Design Expo 2017 Please come, listen and join in on Monday 8th May, 12pm. May 8-9, 2017, London Olympia.   Tim Radley is the founder of retail specialist consultancy VM-Unleashed! His expertise comes from 25 years of working with, and helping, a wide variety of UK and international businesses with their retail performance, store experience and all facets of what has become visual merchandising. Visual merchandising, in its widest definition, is core to delivering tangible improvements to physical stores. However , without exception, delivering successful…

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6th Joy of a Retail Spring – Secrets behind Product Sales

Any good retailer knows from its product sales what its customers’ buy and equally what seems to be impossible to sell to them, but why? Do you know why? Is it simply the wrong product, or perhaps something more subtle in the colour, the size, the style or the taste, or simply something as obvious as the price point? Proper analysis of sales figures combined with benchmarking of competitor assortments holds the key to unlocking further the potential spending of our customers.   Through identifying the hierarchy of importance for product design elements and features a retailer can design and buy assortments with investment…

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MissGuided: Heat Seeking Fashion

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.   In reality the stores do exude all the brand energy and then some, with a bright and brash environment, a heavy emphasis on visual merchandising and mannequins, digital screens of all sizes…

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Creating a collaborative “Mind-set” to change retail locations

Who’s the real competitor? Who’s the real enemy? The massive changes that have swept across this land and others, the decimation of high streets,  town centres and the taking away of the retail heart of communities, though tragic and physically real are the result of a shift in mind-set. The mind-set and shopping patterns of the customer.   And whilst there are a range of practical measures that must be taken physically on the ground and through legislation to create a viable landscape to rebuild these once flourishing centres, perhaps as much a challenge to this renaissance will be the process…

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5th Joy of a Retail Spring – Profit from Queue Management

An effective and efficient queuing strategy has many benefits from minimising abandonment, increasing loss prevention, stimulating 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 what is the “sweat spot” for queue waiting time linked to impulse sales? how do I minimise abandonment yet expose impulse product? what should the relationship be between service time & waiting time? should service time relate to queue length and items per basket? are my…

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Retail Planning Workshops: Where to begin with your town?

Managing a single retail chain is complicated enough however when it comes to retail locations, town centres, shopping centres, retail and leisure destinations then simply the number of stakeholders and agendas involved can create an insurmountable complexity making the whole decision process impossible, never mind the delivery itself.   So if you’re in a quandary as to how to move forwards with a coordinated and workable retail strategy for your location then how to begin? One thing is for sure, effective change cannot be imposed but must be reached through discussion and consensus between all relevant parties. The successful delivery of…

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4th Joy of a Retail Spring – Maximising category performance

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. The key to maximise the performance of any category is to understand the product, define its benefits, and then communicate these visually to the customer in a way that is compelling and attractive.   Failure to understand how each part of the store delivery either helps or hinders the sales performance of each department and category , and to what extent, means that they will never achieve their true profit potential…

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Sitting Pretty: John Lewis gets Materialistic

Sitting Pretty on the crest of the omni-channel retail wave John Lewis continues to be a master at combining the strengths of the past with the opportunities of the future.   Sometimes exemplified on a substantial scale as in the mammoth overhaul of its operational structure for cross-channel availability and delivery, sometimes seen through delicate detailing as in its stunningly simple wireless headphone windows, it seems this most traditional of brands always has a new idea or two up its crisply creased sleeves.   A fine and innovative example of this forward thinking phenomena are the new seated focal points…

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Retail Locations Traffic Drivers: Trust, Friendship & Leadership

Traffic is the only thing that matters when it comes to creating successful and profitable retail destinations. It is the lifeblood that pumps money into the local community, creates vibrancy and confidence and attracts new and successful additional retailers to tempt yet more visitors into what rapidly becomes a positive traffic snowball.   This traffic does not happen by chance or by magic but is a result of a retail destination working very hard to deliver 3 essential attributes. Those 3 attributes can be defined as functionality, attraction and life.   The functionality of a town delivers ease-of-shop for the…

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3rd Joy of a Retail Spring – How much product in my stores?

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 and a store will never attain its potential sales productivity. Marrying the “beauty and the beast” of the assortment comes down to an absolute certainty and consistency within a business on a few key questions: am I displaying with the correct option density? am I converting square metres into linear metres…

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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 desperately seek.   However to achieve this change of role the bar of retail professionalism needs…

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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 shops!” A conundrum indeed for those trusted with providing a retail diet of substance, a…

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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 operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.   However it is still a…

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