Retail Insider Beer Tasting Event – with Robin Phillips, omni-channel and development director, Boots UK + Paddy Johnson, co-founder, Windsor & Eton Brewery


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Paddy Johnson, Windsor & Eton Brewery, and Robin Phillips, Boots UK

Retail Insider has held its latest event – combining a tutored Beer Tasting with Paddy Johnson of Windsor & Eton Brewery and a talk by Robin Phillips, omni-channel and development director at Boots UK – that highlighted both the vibrancy of the UK beer scene and the opportunities for retailers from developing multi-channel propositions.

Senior executives from Tesco, Budgens, John Lewis, and Boden were among those gathered at The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross station to taste some interesting beers and hear the thoughts of Phillips on multi-channel retail.

He began by highlighting the work undertook in his previous role at Waitrose (he left in November) where a key early objective had been to ensure the customer experience of the online ordering process and delivery of goods to their homes matched that enjoyed in the stores.

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Robin Phillips, Boots UK

This included recognising that customers typically selected from a core of only 200-300 products from the grocers’ full 20,000 range for their regular basket of goods and it tailored the site to these preferences.

One of the biggest surprises to Phillips was the customer take-up of Click & Collect – whereby John Lewis goods could be collected from Waitrose stores: “At the time, we wondered why people would want to collect from there? But there was great customer demand for it and they loved it. We could see this from the Net Promoter Score.”

Waitrose had also started to experiment with simple personalisation such as adding product recommendations at the check-out stage, which he revealed had increased average order value by 10% – thereby boosting profitability.

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At Boots, Phillips suggests he is very much in the role of “evangelist in the business, implementing a plan to address the rapidly changing needs of its customers and patients – making it relevant to customers”.

He says the retailer has all the components required for a successful multi-channel business – including the Boots Advantage card, 2,500 stores, a strong brand, and many unique products – and he now has the job of helping make Boots more than the sum of these parts.

Phillips recognises the opportunity Boots has from utilising the rich data it has on its customers and how it might be able to develop a type of ‘health fingerprint’ that carefully leverages the strong level of trust its customers have in the brand.

There is also a programme being undertaken to replace the old legacy systems at the retailer, which will be familiar to many other established businesses that are also going down similar multi-channel journeys.

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Glynn Davis, Retail Insider, and Paddy Johnson, Windsor & Eton Brewery

Phillips’ talk was followed by a tutored tasting with Paddy Johnson, co-founder of Windsor & Eton Brewery, (and Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider), who with great passion delivered a history of the beer styles of the six ales sampled along with tasting notes. Beers from Windsor & Eton, Fuller’s and Beavertown were among those tasted and encompassed a broad range of styles from IPA’s to Imperial Russian Spouts.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Robin Phillips and Paddy Johnson, as well as the team at The Parcel Yard who helped make it a memorable evening. Also a very big thank-you goes to the sponsors WebloyaltyPCMS Group, CBX Software and Oresa. Without their much appreciated support this Retail Insider event would not have been possible.


About the sponsors:

PCMS Group is a leading independent supplier of software and services to the retail industry; PCMS Store and Multi-channel solutions have been chosen by over 98 retailers including Arcadia, John Lewis and M&S.

CBX Software has simplified the business of global sourcing; transforming traditional methodologies into fast, friction free supply chains through our real-time cloud based Total Sourcing Management Platform (TSM). Over 20,000 users in more than 30 countries rely on CBX including: Target, Safeway, Kmart and others.

Webloyalty is a leading reward programme provider working with major online retailers to help them develop their relationships with their customers. Through their membership programmes, Webloyalty helps its online retail partners’ customers save money while providing an additional revenue stream to the partner.

ORESA was founded in 2008 to offer executive search service for C-suite, board and senior leadership roles. It has become one of the leading executive search companies for consumer businesses, with a client list which ranges from blue chip companies to investment-backed start-ups.