Movers & Shakers Q&A Melissa Shackleton, head of marketing, Hotel Chocolat

Movers and Shakers 2014 Front Cover

Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

Melissa Shackleton, head of marketing, Hotel Chocolat

1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?

Hotel Chocolat is a multi-faceted, dynamic brand with numerous opportunities. Our vertical business model means that we can be developing new strains of cocoa on our cocoa estate at the same time as conjuring up new cocoa cuisine recipes in our restaurants and also leading the way in chocolate innovation at our factory. Without doubt the biggest opportunity however comes via our customers – by constantly listening to them we can use their guidance to lead us in the right direction in terms of trends and buying behaviour.

2013_Melissa Shackleton_1

2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?

Being part of such an entrepreneurial, fast paced business means that I am continually juggling multiple projects. We are quick to jump onto emerging trends, innovating and turning things around quickly to react to customer demand. As a ‘completer/finisher’ this doesn’t always sit comfortably with me but it’s exciting and keeps us all on our toes, ensuring we never become staid or complacent. On the other hand, a large part of my job is ensuring that we retain a sense of equilibrium, staying true to the core part of our business, making sure it is stable and delivering as it should. The challenge lies in balancing the two.

3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?

There have been times in my career where I should have listened more strongly to my gut instinct. Instinct is one of the most powerful tools we have and it is important to speak up, even if you are in the minority. It’s important to stay true to what you believe in.

4. What is the future of the physical store?

People have an incredible emotional connection to chocolate. Whilst the digital world provides a great deal of ease and speed to our busy lives, many of our guests love to experience our physical stores. Meeting our passionate team members, trying chocolates and soaking up the vast knowledge and enthusiasm of our staff isn’t something that can be done via the internet. Not yet, anyway! We’ve built upon the huge success of our physical stores with The School of Chocolate, a concept currently available in London and Leeds, which enables people to get beneath the wrapper and learn even more about chocolate. It also means that out of hours, our stores remain busy.

5. What will the high street look like in a decade?

I believe strongly in a more seamless, natural integration between high street and digital. Stores will not just be for shopping, but spaces that customers can relax in, almost an extension of their homes. I envisage smaller pop-up stores and also larger flagship entities that can be shopped virtually through the window when closed. Far from dying, in my opinion the high street is on the brink of a revolution – combining the very best of high street and digital.

6. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future? 

Without doubt. Whilst people often want to touch and see products before buying, little beats the ease of purchase from the palm of your hand. This is where brand trust comes in. If a customer believes in a brand and trusts them, they are more likely to shop virtually – particularly when gifting.

7. What other retail business do you admire? 

I admire NotontheHighStreet.com. They do incredibly well housing a huge variety of products for every type of person. I’m also a big fan of retailers that have late last orders and delivery the next day. This can sometimes sway where I shop, rather than the brand.

8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do? 

I’m a huge fan of sport and have always harboured a secret urge to be a sport newsreader or football manager.

9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement? 

I’m really proud of how Hotel Chocolat has grown and how I have grown with the brand, but there is always room to grow. I rate myself a fair 7!

 

Read full story

Innovative Retailer – Rent The Runway

The Name: Rent The Runway The Place: Headquartered in New York and currently only operating in the United States with a small army of campus reps drumming up business in their core graduate student market. Grab ‘em young. The Story: Two young female business graduates and a lot of taffeta. There are all kinds of […]

Read full story

Viewpoint – Retailers must answer the ‘why buy?’ question

Retail Insider and K3 Retail bring you a monthly column taking a look at some of the most pertinent and interesting topics of the day in the big wide world of retail. Retailers must answer the ‘why buy?’ question Retail is not only undergoing a digital revolution – with sales moving from physical stores to online […]

Read full story

Aldi considering direct sourcing for own label

As Aldi looks to increase its range of products and add extra services in order to secure a greater average basket size and attract a broader mix of consumers it runs the risk of complicating its business (see earlier column). The simplicity of its limited range and basic utilitarian customer offering is a key component […]

Read full story

Majestic Wine storms up table of top performing drinks websites in October

For the third consecutive month Majestic Wine climbs further up the table of best performing drinks retailers’ websites to move into the top 10, according to tests conducted on the online stores of the top 25 UK drinks sellers in October. The site moved up three places into 10th spot this month following its climb […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A with Chris Griffin, founder of Anatwine

  Chris Griffin, founder of Anatwine 1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business? To perfect the methodology of stock management and merchandising in order to drive increased revenues, profits and customer satisfaction, without increasing stock liabilities. 2.What is the biggest challenge to your business? Managing the different ways different organisations categorise their data. A […]

Read full story

The future of retail is technology and it is here now

Do you think about technology? Probably not I suspect because it is all around us and so ingrained in our everyday lives that it has drifted into the background and we are not conscious of it per se. In its various forms – from smart-Phones and tablets to SAT NAVs – it is ubiquitous. Consider […]

Read full story

Viewpoint – Biting the store bullet is only one of the property challenges

Retail Insider and K3 Retail bring you a monthly column taking a look at some of the most pertinent and interesting topics of the day in the big wide world of retail. Biting the store bullet is only one of the property challenges DIY is among the categories with the lowest level of sales derived […]

Read full story

Innovative Retailer – AO.com

The Name: AO.com The Place: Headquartered in Bolton and what headquarters they are… but more of that later. The Story: In 1999 John Roberts thought he would shake up the selling of white goods good and proper. So he did. And everyone was happy. The end. It’s a bit short this week isn’t it. Can […]

Read full story

Still talking about click and collect?

It’s been 14 years since I had the most productive pint of my career, the one I was drinking with a colleague when we came up with “Click and Collect” as a name to define an idea that seemed mad to most observers. The idea was to let customers reserve something online and to then […]

Read full story

Big grocers and discounters all playing with complexity

These are transformational times for the grocery industry and the travails and challenges of the big supermarkets were laid bare at the recent IGD Convention in London. It has been the case that the big multiples have over the years continued to add complexity to their businesses as they have brought in extra services, added […]

Read full story

Digital Retail Innovations – Google Glass

  Retail Insider asks members of the Digital Retail Innovations 2014 report (sponsored by Webloyalty) Advisory Panel to take a close look at a specific innovation within the report.  Paul Wilkinson, head of technology research at Tesco Labs, peers through the lens to investigates Google Glass. 1. How innovative is Google Glass? There aren’t many […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A with Sarah McVittie + Donna North co-founders of Dressipi

Sarah McVittie and Donna North, co-founders of Dressipi 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? For Dressipi it is about creating a truly portable Fashion Fingerprint. Over time we are keen to ensure that every woman has her Fashion Fingerprint at her fingertips and can use it every day whether in-store or online […]

Read full story

Innovative Retailer – Sourced Market

The Name: Sourced Market The Place: For now only in the capital with the flagship in St Pancras station but there are several others in the pipeline including a site near Victoria station for 2016 and leases on the table for two others. All other sites are under wraps. If I told you I’d have […]

Read full story

Beer Tasting Notes from the Retail Insider Cellar

Retail Insider scours the globe to find the perfect beer for retail’s top executives. Brewer and beer: Schneider Weisse – Tap 5 Meine Hopfen-Weisse Strength: It’s hard to believe it is as strong as 8.2%. It’s much too subtle to make its power obvious. First impressions: Relaxed and easygoing but has underlying complexity. Has a […]

Read full story

‘Movers & Shakers in Multi-channel / E-commerce 2014 Top 100′ launched

Paul Coby and Mark Lewis of John Lewis top the fifth annual ‘Retail Insider Top 100 Movers & Shakers in Multi-channel/e-commerce’ report that celebrates the achievements of the people operating in this most dynamic part of the retail industry. They are followed by John Walden and Bertrand Bodson of Home Retail Group and just behind […]

Read full story

Retail Insider Wine Event – John Bovill, IT and e-commerce director at Monsoon Accessorize

Retail Insider held its latest Event this week – with a combined English Wine Tasting and talk by John Bovill, IT and e-commerce director at Monsoon Accessorize – that highlighted the challenges of both increasing the acceptance/awareness of English wines and taking retailers on the multi-channel journey. Senior executives from Tesco, Waitrose, HMV, and Dobbies […]

Read full story

Viewpoint – Massive opportunity for Luxury fashion online + Phones 4U demise inevitable

Retail Insider and K3 bring you a monthly column taking a look at some of the most pertinent and interesting topics of the day in the big wide world of retail. Do you remember when luxury goods and fashion would never sell online? It is not that long ago that conventional wisdom (whoever or whatever […]

Read full story

Budgens and Majestic Wine deliver most improved drinks websites in September

It has been a good month for high street retailers Budgens and Majestic Wine as they delivered the most improved website performances among top drinks retailers, according to tests conducted on the online stores of the top 25 UK drinks sellers for September. Budgens moved up three places into third spot in the table with […]

Read full story

Movers & Shakers Q&A with Yossi Erdman, brand & social media, AO.com

Yossi Erdman, head of brand & social media, AO.com 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The biggest opportunity for our business is to change the expectations people have when shopping for electricals. Rather than experiencing painful customer service, they should expect and receive quite the opposite. This includes great web content, free […]

Read full story
css.php