Amazon 4-Star: When Online Retail Hits a Bricks ‘n’ Mortar Wall

Amazon 4-Star: When Online Retail Hits a Bricks ‘n’ Mortar Wall I’m a great admirer of Amazon. So, let’s move away from the nonsense that Amazon is killing retail. Amazon is a retailer and is leading a retail transformation. It may not be founded on designing, producing and selling its own products (although that is gathering irresistible momentum) but it is no less a retailer than Toys R Us, or any traditional department store or shop selling “other people’s stuff!” Retailers of all origins and longevity would do well to learn quickly from its customer centric approach to everything. That…

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Bloom & Wild: Delivering a Fragrant Revolution

Bloom & Wild: Delivering a fragrant revolution I’d recommend that we all spoil ourselves with flowers. Not, for the hell of it, and not any flowers. Just those delivered by Bloom & Wild. Their story is not about flowers, no matter how beautiful they are, its about disrupting a market with one decisive initiative as its origin. Delightful Disruption Bloom & Wild are the original “letterbox” florists. As you might imagine this means that flowers are sent directly through you letterbox. Take any nightmare visions from your mind of flowers being forced through your doors like Christmas trees through a shredder. In…

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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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Pitch Perfect: Sports Direct Playing the Field

Pitch Perfect: Sports Direct Playing the Field If you want to see some clues as to what the new Mike Ashley House of Fraser might look like, then a good starting point are the new Sports Direct/USC/Flannels superstores. One of the latest is at Lakeside where a 10,000sqm sports and lifestyle experience has taken shape. The Mike Ashley’ jigsaw put together piece by piece. Recent years has seen a subtle move at Sports Direct from just “Pile it high. Sell it cheap” to a more controlled, more organised and less densely displayed proposition. An upscaling of the brand portfolio has…

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A Retail Dilemma: “No Business, No People!” or “No People, No Business!”

A Retail Dilemma: “No Business,  No People!” or “No People, No Business!”   Thanks to everyone who contributed to last week’s post on John Lewis and their approach to investment in the face of cost-cutting and delivering profit. One really important issue raised is a fundamental dilemma for current retail strategists. “No business, No People!” Of course, if there is no business then there will be no people, so every attempt must be made to make any business viable and protect its workforce. However how you ensure this survival and growth is a matter of debate and strategic differences. Certainly, for John…

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Elvis & Kresse: Fighting Fashion Fire with Fire

Elvis & Kresse: Fighting Fashion Fire with Fire So much of the exciting retail scene of today is coming from people with a real passion. The passion is not necessarily for retail initially but comes as a natural evolution of a wider passion for a philosophy, for values and for life. Elvis & Kresse is one of those truly inspirational retail brands that you don’t come across every day. However, it is commanding a loyal following and represents a growing number of business producing beautiful products with a 360-degree ethical and sustainable philosophy. Retail with a passion Their passions are…

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Let’s applaud John Lewis: Putting People over Profit

Let’s applaud John Lewis: Putting People over Profit   Let’s put this simply. Retail in the UK is undergoing destructive changes never seen before. There are less consumers with disposable income than previously. These customers prefer to buy online from Amazon and spend whatever else they can on experiences rather than possessions. Department stores are more at risk than most because their traditional model is focused on selling brands, most of which you can now buy cheaper elsewhere. Operationally they are also expensive to run, particularly against the back-drop of hikes in business rates and an apathetic government. Add into…

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Retail Metamorphosis: Lessons from Disruptive Lives

Retail Metamorphosis: Lessons from Disruptive Lives Hot on the heels of seeing the new John Lewis TV advert, here am I, watching a TV programme on caterpillars, butterflies and a variety of other creatures. And I’m thinking, as I ponder the challenges confronting the retail industry, that businesses would do well to learn a little from nature. A lesson in lifestyle From caterpillar to butterfly, the most common metamorphosis, the visual change is startling. The journey from an unassuming bug to a beautiful creature is truly magical. However special effects and admiration are not the reasons for this dramatic change.…

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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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