“The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”

The Daily Post:- 20th March “The Story of the Old Shop, the New Shop & the Other Shop!”   Now the story I’m about to tell is a true story, and its a story about one of the UK’s biggest retailing businesses. They shall remain nameless as their identity is not the issue but to illustrate that improvements are always there even amongst the most seasoned operators. The retail business had in place a store refreshment programme and had allocated a dedicated team to work through its store portfolio applying a refreshment programme to each store. The process took 2 days per…

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“What’s the Real Cost of Retail Store Disciplines?”

The Morning Post:- 17th March “What’s the real cost of retail store discipline” On a benchmarking tour of value retailers this week I found my initial curiosity and enthusiasm slowly but surely drained as I was repeatedly faced with dull store interiors, poor lighting, dirty shelves, torn graphics, display chaos and in some instances such a scarcity of staff that I could have used happily bedded down for a few hours without fear of being disturbed. The point is not about or indeed restricted to low price or discount retailers, but about the intrinsic value of basic store disciplines. What is the relative cost of implementing and enforcing store…

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9th Joy of Retail Spring: VMToolkit to Control Stores

Every retailer is different, and in most cases every store is different, from the obvious variations of culture and taste in an international  portfolio, the clear operational issues between directly owned stores and wholesale partners, to the more subtle challenges of different store manager personalities and store personnel attitudes. All this requires retailers to create and apply a wide-range of guidelines, tools and processes to get the very best from every store situation – the VMToolkit   VMTookit & operations efficiency benchmarking Having the correct VMToolkit ensures that ROI is focused on creating excellence and efficiency in the disciplines of…

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2nd Joy of a Retail Spring – What do my store staff really do?

As retail stores become more remote from the head office of the business, through more diverse and dispersed portfolios, it becomes more and more difficult to know what operations the store teams are performing, how frequently they are performing them, and to what standards.   This understanding is ironically more important than ever as stores serve and survive in a wider variety of contexts, graded and segmented in a growing number of ways, delivering more focused assortments to more different people in a retail world that operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.   However it is still a…

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When will head office let me get on with my job?

Store Managers headache no.03 When will head office let me get on with my job? Instant messaging, store operations and the blessing and curse of constant communication   For many retailers with multiple outlets, and any retailer with a wide store geography, international portfolio and a combination of direct and franchise operations, direct communication tools accessible via in-store tablets and mobile phones are a blessing of the highest order. These software communication tools are being rapidly deployed and have many operational and social functions.   The most common and appreciated function is simply knowing “what on earth is happening in…

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Why can’t head office communicate to stores in a coordinated way?

“Headaches of a Store Manager…No2” Why can’t head office communicate to stores in one coordinated way?   An inbox audit of any store manager’s email system will reveal instantly how well, or not, communication to stores is organised, channelled, filtered and prioritised. Common headaches apart from sheer volume of messages are repeated messages from different head office functions, or even the same function and person, to direct contradictions in instructions and apparently competing priorities for time and attention. Time is precious and definitely finite when it comes to staff roles , tasks and schedules and so prioritisation is essential –…

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“What on earth is happening in my stores?!”

“How can I actually know for certain what is happening in my stores and what my customers are doing, and so ultimately know what to do to improve their experience and my commerciality?”   It is still a widespread scenario that head office retail functions do not know what is happening hour after hour, day after day, inside their stores. The situation is symptomatic of the gap that still exists in many retailers between head office and stores, and the lack of communication and integration between the different retail functions. But how can any business hope to improve both the…

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