Le Labo: Scenting an Opportunity

The Morning Post:- 7th August “Le Labo: Scenting an Opportunity”   Le Labo is one cool, expensive perfumery retailer. Its origins are in France – hence “The Lab” – and it draws its inspiration from the halcyon days of perfumeries of the 19th & early 20th centuries. However Le Labo is not just about exquisite scents & smells but is very cleverly put together. As a brand it hits many of the sweet notes that come together to deliver a really successful business in today’s competitive market. Authenticity: Originally individual perfumes were for both men and women. It was only in…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Iceland: No joke for Department Stores

The Daily Post:- 6th August “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Iceland: No joke for department stores”   So, a funny thing happened on the way to the shops. To be precise a couple of funny things with more to follow without doubt. Let’s move forward a few months and I’m making my way into The Range, my local store for value home furnishings and décor. Inside I also find my new local Iceland supermarket selling value groceries. I’m a happy bunny because the 2 stores both appeal to me in terms of assortment, quality and price and so…

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Dyson: Designs on Disruption a Retail Lesson for Us All

The Evening Post:- 3oth July “Dyson: Designs on Disruption a Retail Lesson for Us All”   For those people who have been in the retail business for more than a few years, or have been working in a traditional retail business for what might seem more than a few years, it must appear as though disruption in retail is only for others! However, many so-called disruptors are simply self-evangelists of their own limited impact, and merely following in the footsteps of the truly trailblazing disruptors, buying a ticket on the latest gravy train. Truly today, disruptors have the means to change…

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Knowing the qualitative retail reality of your town centres

The Daily Post:- 13th June “Knowing the qualitative retail reality of your town centre”   I’ve walked on both sides of the retail High Street this week. On the one side I’ve been listening once again, as I’m sure you have, to more news of widespread store closures. This time it was House of Fraser. However what seemed so chilling on this occasion was the list of towns soon to be stripped of their flagship destination stores. There is something very finite about a physical list. There were also of course the various interviews with truly desolate local councillors and…

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The Shop at Bluebird: A Playground of Wonders

One of the pleasures of shopping in the physical world is the joy of discovery. However it’s not often that you stumble upon a completely new concept store in central London, especially not a 1,500 sqm one. Welcome to “The Shop at Bluebird” nestled in Floral Street, a stone’s throw from Covent Garden Piazza. Described by its creators Dalziel & Pow as a ‘playground of wonders’ it certainly creates a huge statement in an area rediscovering itself as a “jewel” in London’s retail crown.     If the name itself sounds familiar it’s no surprise as the Bluebird was an…

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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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Is your online sales & physical store numbers strategy in place?

Online & offline, the biggest challenge for historic retailers is to remain relevant and attractive to their customers. That will ultimately dictate the online sales potential and physical store numbers that will be viable for a business. Do you remember the days when the e-commerce part of a bricks ‘n’ mortar business was compared to the largest physical store? That was a realistic ambition. It also considered e-commerce as a nice bonus to have on top of the physical store sales.   There was no threat to the existing business just an additional opportunity. That seems like ancient history now.…

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Customer Experience Analytics: Which comes first…the Chicken or the Egg?

Which should come first, the chicken or the egg? How long will the chicken stay for, where will she go, and how many eggs will be in her basket?   The answers to customer experience analytics still seem tantalisingly out of reach for many retailers.   This year’s RBTE event at Olympia had its fair share of new IT initiatives as well as more established applications, refreshed, re-invented and re-packaged. And it’s a few years now since store traffic & customer movement analytics first burst onto the scene and certainly into my personal consciousness. It claimed to offer to physical…

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John Lewis: The Revolutionary “Loved & Found”

Still my retail highlight of the year for many reasons was to see the opening of the new John Lewis at the Westfield London extension. But whilst the popular headlines latched onto the innovative and original idea to train the store personnel with actors so as to be able to engage and sell more successfully, there was another less covered fact, which altogether has deeper repercussions for John Lewis and the retail industry in general.   John Lewis is on a quest to sell more unique and exclusive products in its stores. Not a token gesture and with an initial…

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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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