Lush: Creating Communities and always in Conversation

Lush: Creating Communities and always in Conversation Even those customers who would never consider crossing the threshold of a Lush store, never mind investing in a bath-bomb or a slice of specialist soap, are charmed and engaged by the customer experience they find. I’ve accompanied many clients and colleagues to stores and what astounds them is the life, energy and enthusiasm of the store teams. From a state of embarrassment, the doubters are soon lost in the depths of the store, listening intently to their guides and trying their hand at skin treatments, immersing themselves up to their elbows in…

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Retail & the Circular Economy: Square Pegs in a Round Whole?

Retailers can learn from the Circular Economy by becoming communities and not just sequences of job functionality. Positive actions & interactions stimulate others. Waste is minimised. Waste of resources, products and of time. And the waste of people – their energy, goodwill, knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm. I have to say that the concept of the “Circular Economy” is a rather recent discovery to me. Perhaps not the philosophy and the processes but the words themselves neatly summing up the principle of minimising wastage and maximising resources. It is of course highly relevant to retail and its traditionally linear processes and…

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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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