Retail Insider held its latest breakfast event with Tatiana Fokina, CEO of Hedonism Wines, and Elizabeth Layne, chief marketing officer at Appear Here, who helped launch the ‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report for 2017.
Senior executives from John Lewis, Karen Millen, Tesco, Hotel Chocolat, House of Fraser and WH Smith were among those who heard how the role of the physical store is changing. They were also the first people to receive a copy of this year’s Retail Insider Movers & Shakers report, sponsored by K3 Retail.
Tatiana and Elizabeth highlighted to those gathered at The Delaunay in central London how the store continues to be a pivotal component of the industry. For Hedonism, the company’s sole outlet in central London is the main sales channel (driving 93% of revenues) while its online store is the shop window. The appeal of the physical store is its 700 sq m of luxury fit-out, which houses 10,000 lines.
“Wine is very much like cars, art and jewellery. People are most likely to want to talk about it and so a big part of our business is the in-store experience. A pure online experience for our customers never really happens. We really need to talk to them,” explains Tatiana, who adds that the recruitment process is therefore vital to ensuring the success of Hedonism.
Elizabeth equally recognises the value of physical space as Appear Here is a pioneering online marketplace that brings together retailers and brand owners with landlords that have empty space. A key component of the model is the ability for retailers to take space for as little as one day. The average is two months.
She says this is driving a trend for pure-plays to experiment with physical space in a low-risk manner on a short-term basis and potentially taking a longer lease if things work well.
Elizabeth also highlighted how there is an increasing number of larger retailers and brand owners who are diverting some of their marketing budgets away from digital advertising and instead taking on physical stores for short spell promotional marketing initiatives.
Retail Insider would very much like to thank Tatiana and Elizabeth as well as the sponsors K3 Retail, Atos and Webloyalty. Without their much appreciated support this event would not have been possible.