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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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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“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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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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MissGuided: Heat Seeking Fashion Gets Physical

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. And while it learns well from the best of bricks ‘n’ mortar it brings new thinking and ideas to the physical space without the baggage of tradition constantly pulling it back down to…

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Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing

The Morning Post:- 27th March Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing   Fresh back from viewing the advance guard at the extension to the Westfield London centre in White City. It is already impressive and will be spectacular, I have no doubt, when all the stores are open in a month or two. What you see in the first openings from retailers such as Lush, White Company, West Elm, Boots, Currys, and of course the showcase John Lewis, is a real and tangible response to the pressures put on stores through the migration of sales to online. In this omnichannel environment these…

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Fnatic Bunkr: The Physical Experience of eSports

If you read my post regarding Sports Direct and Game proposing to share store space to introduce eSports arenas and you’re not familiar with Bunkr then read on. Bunkr was a pop-up eSports store and social space set up by Fnatic, one of the worlds biggest and most popular eSports teams. The concept appeared in Shoreditch in London and although planned as a pop-up of a few weeks lasted for over a year. It closed recently but promises to return soon in a different location bigger and better than ever. It serves as very good food for thought for everyone…

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Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for survival!

The Morning Post:- 23rd March Retail Beginning or Retail End? 7 essentials for retail success! Sometimes it makes sense to draw a line in the sand, even when the sands are changing at an unprecedented rate. This is certainly the case in retail. We are not surrounded completely by doom-and-gloom retail news, however there is undoubtedly a lot of it. This reached a focus this morning with the announcement from Next of its latest results. Whilst not perfect and admitting some errors in assortment and availability, Next is a highly respected retail business with great expertise in buying, a consistent fashion position and…

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