Movers & Shakers Q&A – David Walmsley, director at M&

Movers and Shakers 2014 Front Cover

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David Walmsley, director, M&

1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?

How we join together the physical and digital experiences of M&S for our customers.


2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?

For the digital channels, the challenge remains being obsessive about listening to our customers and then turning the insight into action.

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

Tricky one to answer – I’m always keen to go faster, and get more done. I think moving to a genuinely agile process for our digital product portfolio is starting to reap huge benefits in this space.

4. What is the future of the physical store?

The future is very bright. As I said, for us it’s about linking the experiences. This goes beyond having a good click & collect service, or different ways of ordering from the full catalogue in-store, and is more about the core shopping experiences. Do you see the ranges in the same way in-store and online, and how does the smartphone in the customer’s hand play into this.

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

Hard to call, but something we’re following very closely. For now mobile is playing a key role earlier in the shopping journey – customers starting on their phones then moving to a store, or to their tablet or laptop to actually buy. We also think there is plenty of scope for charming and engaging people on mobile when they are ready to be ‘distracted’ for 60 seconds.

6. What other retail business do you admire?

Hatchards. The old Foyles store. Just because the people are all book obsessives and it shows in everything they do.

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

I’m doing what I want to do.

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

Is this an official appraisal? I always want us to do more, achieve more, drive more. I’m not putting a number on that though.

9. Who would you place in the Top 25 Multi-channel/e-commerce Movers & Shakers?

I can maybe talk about someone on the list I’ve worked with. Luke Kingsnorth at Charles Tyrwhitt worked for me at a previous retailer and was an absolute star. He is definitely one to watch.