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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Does your store backroom space show you value your staff?

The Daily Post:- 5th April Does the amount of store gross sqm you dedicate to your staff really show how much you value them?   I’ve been visiting stores of a couple of similar retailers in terms of their sector and size of store. They have different market positions but have the commonality that customer service is very important to their proposition and ultimately their conversion and profit. Despite the market positioning differences, many elements in the store are similar from the density of displays, type of fixture, layout of the retail space and so on. However the thing that sets them…

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“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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5th Joy of a Retail Spring – Profit from Queue Management

An effective and efficient queuing strategy has many benefits from minimising abandonment, increasing loss prevention, stimulating incremental impulse sales, loyalty building and customer service engagement.   Failure to control and maximise the queuing opportunities means a retailer will never find that “sweet spot” of happy customers willing to queue and engage whilst delivering additional impulse sales what is the “sweat spot” for queue waiting time linked to impulse sales? how do I minimise abandonment yet expose impulse product? what should the relationship be between service time & waiting time? should service time relate to queue length and items per basket? are my…

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Accessible Expertise: The Independent Retailer Support Kit

Being an independent retailer does not mean you have to be inefficient, unattractive, and uncompetitive.   In fact in the fight for retail traffic between competing town centres the role of independents is more critical than ever in creating distinct flavour and personality. When independent retailers escape the cloak of consumer invisibility and exchange it for the colourful and attractive garb of local destination retailers then shopping venues truly begin to attract attention, command respect and pull in the customer pounds that they so desperately seek.   However to achieve this change of role the bar of retail professionalism needs…

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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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“10 ways to make more money from stores! No.1 Rules….”

It was Les Wexner founder of the Limited group, a man responsible for the success of some of the most iconic of fashion retailers from Victoria’s Secret to Express, from Abercrombie & Fitch to Bath & Body Works and quite possibly the first retail guru, who said that “retail is detail” He was right and anyone in retail doesn’t need to be a modern day guru to know that. That detail begins with the buying and merchandising chain where getting detail right is essential to retail sales and profit, and where getting the detail right quickly is the added pressure…

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