Generous retailing: A little goes a long way!

Generous retailing: A little goes a long way! Take 2 petrol stations, located only 100 metres apart. Let’s say for example BP and Shell. They are both recently refurbished with spacious forecourts and shiny new stores. They both collaborate with recognised retailers appealing to a similar customer. Let’s also say Marks & Spencer & Waitrose. Their petrol prices are identical and matched daily. They both offer loyalty schemes both for the petrol brands and for the supermarket operators. The staff are helpful and pleasant in both cases. So why is it that I have decided to patronise one of these…

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The Golden Age of Retail Personalisation: 100 years ago

The Morning Post:- 4th June “The Golden Age of Retail Personalisation: 100 years ago?”   Lest we get ahead of ourselves and think that we have invented the retail wheel through our technological mastery its worth reflecting that certainly up until today the golden era of retail personalisation was in a time before even H.G. Wells envisaged the role that computers would play in our lives. And should we consider that getting personal with customers is something extraordinary isn’t it currently really an online initiative striving to replace what has largely been lost in the physical world of retail. Don’t get…

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“Selling other Peoples’ Stuff! Is it the end of Generic Retailers?

The Daily Post:- 23rd May “Selling other peoples’ Stuff! The end of generic retailers?   So what are the common threads amongst many of the retailers suffering in the current market climate? They’re certainly well publicized. Of course there are the issues with over-sized expensive store portfolios, a slowness to embrace omnichannel, a lack of consumer confidence and a dearth of disposable income…but certainly at the epicenter of the evolving shopping behavior storm is the “good old” retailer of generic product and brands. The reason is the crumbling of one of the foundations on which the retail industry was largely built.…

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“Spoil you Staff with Space!” and “Your Space with Staff!”

The Morning Post:- 22nd May “Spoil you Staff with Space!” and “Your Space with Staff!”   Many discussions I have been having recently on allocating space within stores. The whole model is changing from those large product areas, static stockrooms, over-spaced or unruly queuing areas and pitiful backroom facilities for staff to one that reflects not only the requirements of the shopper but in fact what generates the income. Or it should be. And due to popular demand the whole area of backroom space and facilities is the most vibrant and vociferous discussion…not surprisingly. On average only 10% to 15% of…

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How Much of your Retail Space should be Allocated to your Staff?

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, questions that have never had to be faced before are now becoming uncomfortably relevant…   I have witnessed some unseemly “scraps” for store square metres in my time between competing categories all trying to get as much of their “stuff” on the shop floor as possible, in the best and the most prominent places. I’ve also witnessed with incredulity a proud boast from a well-known DIY…

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Death of the Salesman: Long Live Retail!

The Morning Post:- 14th May “Death of the Salesman: Long Live Retail!”   Over the years, I have been in many meetings and discussions where the question has been asked…”What’s the difference between sales & marketing?” My best explanation is that in fact, it is the same process but approached from different perspectives. To coin the introduction from many a hackneyed joke…”A man goes into a shop…and he buys something” The sales perspective from behind the counter is one of price and margin. It’s about making the sale and making the profit to be viable and successful. The perspective from the…

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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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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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Lush for Life: Believing in the Body & Soul of Beauty

It’s not often that the atmosphere in a store is so real and tangible you can almost touch it and taste it. And whilst the assortment on offer may look good enough to eat in Lush, it is the experience which is something to die for and not a misguided mouthful of soap-suds.   Complete strangers are struck instantly by the friendly welcome, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the staff, and the intensity of customer engagement where it seems every customer is the most important ever to cross this therapeutic threshold. Lush, of course, has been around for a while. Originally…

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