Agility and flexibility are now key for hospitality sector businesses

After more than a year of using the Pret coffee subscription I recently paused it for a month. This was not because I questioned its worth at £20 per month for pretty much unlimited barista-made drinks, but quite the opposite. It had become so integral to my coffee-drinking that I’d been making lifestyle decisions around…

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Sustainable fashion: When fashion loses its sparkle

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what clothing retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From fur farms to fast fashion, excess…

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Hiring ex-offenders could help to ease staffing crisis

Back in 2002 when shoe-repairing and key-cutting retailer Timpson employed its first ex-offender, it was deemed a somewhat risky move and certainly deeply unfashionable, which is precisely why the rest of the industry was reluctant to follow suit. It transpired that such hires were incredibly grateful for being given a second chance and therefore proved…

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Retail Insider event with Sean Ghouse, retail director, Fortnum & Mason

Retail Insider held its latest event with guest speaker Sean Ghouse, retail director of Fortnum & Mason, at Hedonism Wines in London’s Mayfair followed by a tutored tasting of wines. The event sponsored by Talkdesk involved senior executives from Tesco, John Lewis & Partners, Rank Group, Carnival Group and Amazon hearing how F&M had focused…

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Operators risk losing customer relationship

Technology has been something of a lifesaver for many companies over the past 18 months or so, but there is an underlying problem that lurks behind the scenes which could prove to be detrimental to the future success of hospitality companies. During the pandemic there has been a surge in the adoption of digital-based solutions…

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Retail Insider Movers & Shakers 2021 report launch event

Retail Insider held its latest event with guest speakers Charlotte Morley, founder of The Little Loop, and Freddie Blackett, founder of Patch Plants, who helped celebrate the launch of the ‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 80 Report 2021’, sponsored by WonderLane. Attendees of the event at Mercato Metropolitano in central London included senior executives…

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Movers & Shakers in Retail 2021 report launched

Retail Insider is delighted to launch the 2021 edition of the Movers & Shakers in retail Top 80 report, sponsored by WonderLane, which champions the most digitally progressive people in the retail industry who are bringing real change to the landscape of retail. This year’s report continues with the objective of all our other editions in the preceding…

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Time to talk about dynamic pricing

When hints by government departments of potential fuel shortages hit the news, the natural result was drivers descending on garages to fill their tanks. The inevitable outcome was many forecourts having to quickly put up the shutters when they ran out of supplies. What did not happen was any increase in prices in accordance with…

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Taking stock of market opportunities

After its most-recent fundraising, digital payments company Stripe achieved a value of an incredible $95bn, as it follows in the wake of the likes of Uber, Deliveroo, Darktrace, Square, Airbnb and Palantir in hitting eye-watering valuations before even considering resorting to the public markets to access late-stage funding. The ability to secure financing from private…

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Sustainable Fashion: The Mystery Box

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month’s column asks if the magic box phenomena could be harnessed to unsold stock. Brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box. Everyone loves a gift box don’t they?…

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Innovative Retailer: Mercato Metropolitano

The Name: Mercato Metropolitano The Place: Despite sounding Italian and being founded by an Italian in Italy and generally smelling Italian all over there is surprisingly not an outlet of the sustainable artisan market concept anywhere in Italy at all. The Story: Less surprising maybe is the success which the urban markets have had in…

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Digital Retail Innovations 2021 Report Launch

Retail Insider is proud to have launched its Digital Innovations Report 2021 (sponsored by Webloyalty) with an event involving a group discussion on innovation led by Steve Robinson, founder of Omnicommerce. Guests from high street retailers, online operators as well as members of the report’s Advisory Panel heard Steve kick-off a conversation about how retailers…

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Gold burgers or £3 broilers?

For many people, the belief has been that a free-range chicken costing at least £10 is priced too highly, whereas in reality, the argument should probably be that it’s the £3 broiler that is underpriced. Our thinking has arguably been polluted by the availability of ever cheaper food prices – irrespective of animal welfare and…

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Transforming Retail Award Winners: Ribble – Best Connected category

We asked all our winners in this year’s Transforming Retail Awards to tell us how they felt about winning their category. So here is our Q & A with Ribble on their plans for the future featuring David Stacey, Commercial Director and Matthew Lawson Chief Digital Operator.  How do you feel about winning this Award? Matt: Over…

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Digital Retail Innovations report 2021 launched

It is with great pleasure that we can announce the launch of the latest ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations’ report for 2021 (sponsored by Webloyalty). If Covid-19 was the major driver of innovation in 2020 then 2021 was the year when retailers welcomed people back into shops and hospitality but tried to make everything as easy…

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Rise of the robots

You won’t have to grease their palms, shorter hours longer arms, rise just watch them rise, the rise of the robots,” sang The Stranglers back in 1978, when robots looked like metallic-covered humans in films, and the prospect of them impacting our everyday lives was very much the world of sci-fi fantasy. Fast forward to…

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Times are changing for traditional trading patterns

When growing up in a village just outside Doncaster in Yorkshire it was always very exciting to hear of any new high-quality restaurants opening up in the surrounding area, and my family and I would always make a beeline for them. It felt like we were getting a little slice of London’s dynamic food scene…

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Disruption drives differentiation in fashion sector

Fashion businesses are successfully adapting their models in myriad ways as Covid-19 has accelerated the industry’s key underlying trends including the increased embrace of digital channels, the rise of sustainability, and a greater focus on the supply chain. These were some of the major themes discussed at a ‘Fuelling Innovation in Fashion’ roundtable hosted at…

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2021 Transforming Retail Awards – winners announced!

The winners of the Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards 2021 have been announced during an online ceremony on Zoom – with Patrick Berghaeger from award sponsors Talkdesk unveiling the winning entries. The Awards always aims at highlighting some of the most exciting innovations to happen in the retail sector over the past year and there…

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Transforming Retail Awards: Q&A with Patrick Berghaeger, industry account director at Awards sponsor Talkdesk

1.     What attracted you and Talkdesk to being involved with these Awards? Having worked with Glynn to sponsor these events in the past, I knew our paths would cross again. Sponsoring these events always brought fruitful conversations with fellow technologists, allowing sponsors to network and connect without imposing attendees with a strong sales pitch, which puts…

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Supply chain problems could have positive impact on F&B industry

The chickens appear to be coming home to roost. Sadly, they don’t seem to have been roosting at Nando’s, McDonald’s and other foodservice companies, where shortages of the birds have at times prompted the temporary closure of certain units and resulted in menu changes. It’s not only the chickens that have been problematic though, because…

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Sustainable Fashion: Give Youth A Chance

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month’s column wonders if the youngsters need to be brought in to achieve real change in fashion. Brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box. A large amount of…

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Innovative Retailer: Tillingham Wines

The Name: Tillingham Wines The Place: Nestled in a farmstead on the hills around Rye, Sussex since 2017, and selling domestically both online and through distributors as well as exporting internationally. The Story: Wine. Simple innit? Just buy a few acres, grow the things and then get the expert in to make the stuff. Bottle…

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Delivery Pains

We used to have chief executives but they have been gradually replaced by CEOs and many of the items we bought from retailers previously fell under the umbrella term FMCG but this has almost been superseded by the US equivalent CPG. Whether we like it or not we invariably end up adopting an endless stream…

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Poor stock visibility is unfashionable and increasingly unsustainable

Trends and themes for London Fashion Week are always going to be closely guarded secrets until the models actually walk down the catwalks but this year we can be pretty safe in predicting sustainability will be evident in many collections.  Despite the industry increasingly recognising the need to address this issue the fact is fashion…

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Retail Insider’s Transforming Retail Awards 2021: Shortlist announced

Retail Insider is delighted to reveal the shortlist for its fifth annual ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards of 2021 kindly supported by Talkdesk. The aim of the awards is to showcase the very best examples of innovation across the sector as decided by our independent panel of judges. This year’s panel comprised: Clodagh Moriarty, digital director at Sainsbury’s;…

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Acquirers of top-selling Amazon brands find going tough

One of the pioneering firms who built a business around acquiring top-selling brands on Amazon and rapidly scaling them is now driving growth from other areas having found the market becoming increasingly saturated with competitors. Thrasio has achieved great success with its novel strategy of buying out the independent owners of some of the most…

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Just another day at the office

For hospitality companies in London, and in some of the UK’s other major conurbations, the potential for future prosperity remains very much in the balance because of, arguably, the most seismic long-term impact of covid-19 – the changing role of the workplace and the acceptance of working from home (WFH). The WFH phenomenon and its…

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The need for friction

The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another is one definition of friction as is conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments or opinions. Whichever way you look at it, this is something retailers and hospitality operators are keen to remove from their organisations.  There has been much…

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Making a statement with staples

How many people can name any brands of olive oil? Unlike beer, coffee and chocolate there are many household staples including olive oil that are very much taken for granted by consumers and it is only the mass produced, nameless, generic versions that find themselves in shopping baskets. Citizens of Soil are looking to change…

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Sustainable Fashion: The future of eco-labelling

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month’s column asks how environmental standards in fashion can best be communicated to consumers. Brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box. Last month this column reported on Zalando’s…

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Opportunity for retailers to address personalisation shortcomings

Personalisation has very much been under the spotlight during Covid-19 as shoppers have gravitated to online channels and expected an experience that mimics the one enjoyed in-store but it has all too frequently been found wanting. Phil Bacon, senior ERP consultant at Xpedition, says: “Lots of businesses will now be looking at themselves coming through…

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Entrepreneurial bravery required…

Sitting in the grounds of Grantley Hall near Ripon in North Yorkshire enjoying a coffee there is much to distract the eye including the pristine acres of grass adorned with flowers and manicured shrubbery, the bubbling River Skell, and the imposing Grade II-listed Hall itself. But what was most noticeable was the array of employees…

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The importance of product selection…

When Tesco introduced its first small format convenience stores some years back, it pinpointed the 100 key items it needed to always have in stock at each of these outlets. The list was an odd mix including the likes of Steradent denture tablets and Carlsberg Special Brew. The criteria was based on them being premium-priced…

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Innovative Retailer: Cuyana

The Name: Cuyana The Place: Well, lots of shops obviously. But this particular one iscurrently on an automobile trip round America. The Story: Have you ever wanted to be a rock star and shout “Hello Florida!!” from the front of a huge stage? No: I see. How about “If it’s Tuesday it must be Culver…

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Indie retailers continue to appraise their business models

Small independent brands like Copperhouse Chocolate are attaching less value to their physical units having focused on other areas of revenue generation during Covid-19 and the various lockdowns. From a unit on Islington’s Chapel Market in North London Copperhouse Chocolate operates a cafe in the front end and has production facilities in the back where…

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Much greater focus needed on reusing goods…

Greater focus must be placed on reusing unwanted electrical goods rather than on recycling within the UK, which lags behind the rest of Europe partly as a result of the ongoing stigma attached to buying second-hand goods. Cris Stephenson, CEO of Environcom – the UK’s leading independent recycler of e-waste and provider of reuse, says…

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Creating buzz through limited edition releases

Visiting the Tillingham Winery in the rolling countryside on the edge of the East Sussex town of Rye was not only a relief to be out of stuffy London on what was a gloriously hot day but it also gave some insights into what hospitality businesses might well need to embrace in the post-covid-19 world.…

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The right stance

Visiting St John restaurant in the Clerkenwell area of London for the first time in about 15 years was an enjoyable experience, partly because of the familiarity I felt even though I can hardly call myself a regular. From my recollection, very little seemed to have changed over the intervening years apart from the fact…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Simon Leesley, MD at Stitch Fix UK

Simon Leesley, MD, Stitch Fix UK 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Stitch Fix is able to offer personalisation at scale, which given recent moves in consumer behaviour, habits and expectations due to the pandemic, is more important than ever. The seismic consumer shift from offline to online shopping presents an important…

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Sustainable Fashion: Can eco-edits close the attitude/behaviour gap?

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month’s column asks whether sustainable edit will help close the ‘attitude-behaviour’ gap for consumers. Brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box. Earlier this year online fashion platform Zalando…

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Shortages lead to price hikes

Sat near the entrance to the New Forest Inn, near Lyndhurst, enjoying an early evening pint of local beer and an expected quiet read of my newspaper, I was continuously interrupted by visitors popping their heads around the door enquiring about a table for dinner and being told the place was fully booked. This process…

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Retail Insider Movers and Shakers in Retail Top 100

Last year in difficult circumstances Retail Insider celebrated the tenth issue of the successful Movers & Shakers report. This year with a brand new sponsor, WonderLane, onboard and an excellent panel of judges we are raring to begin the second decade of this popular report. The process for choosing the ranked individuals begins, as always,…

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Improving the dine-in offers at supermarkets…

One of the great mysteries in foodservice over the years has been just how uninspiring the cafes have been within the major supermarkets. Despite the fact they are supposedly experts in food they have always delivered a poor dining offer within their own stores. Their long-standing argument seems to have been that everybody hates food…

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Tech needs to be seamless…

Having completed some chores the other day, I’d planned to grab a coffee while walking back home but then it suddenly dawned on me I could actually go into the pub and have a beer instead. A wave of power and opportunity washed over me – what would I drink, who might I meet in…

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Innovative Retailer: Geek Retreat

The Name: Geek Retreat The Place: Dotted around the UK so far with over 20 stores but another 14 listed as coming soon and with big further expansion plans… The Story: There aren’t really many sectors that seem to be doing too well on the high street at the moment. There are those places that…

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Transforming Retail Awards – the Best Connected category

The Retail Insider 2021 Transforming Retail Awards is now open for entries. Each week we will be profiling one of the categories available to see which kind of companies have entered and won over the past four years and to see if we can spot any themes emerging. This week we tackle the Best Connected…

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Maybe you’ll see the Future at FUTR Europe 2021

Retail has changed so dramatically over recent years and Covid-19 has brought forward so many of the trends that were beginning to take root. It’s not just about digital and the move of more sales online. The changes are so much broader that it’s tough to even define what retail is any more. It’s fair…

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Capital Appeal

Wandering around central London over these past few weeks has reminded me a little of the run-up to the Olympics in 2012 when the capital underwent a major spruce up as investments were made in roadways and other core infrastructure in order to impress the world’s TV viewers and the influx of overseas visitors. During…

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Sustainable Fashion: Are eco-bonuses the way forward?

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month’s column asks whether environmental standards in fashion can be used as levers in executive pay packages to effect change from above. Brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Frazer Locke, senior advertising executive, Amazon

Retail Insider, in partnership with novomind, held its latest ‘Zoom Cocktail Hour’ with Frazer Locke, senior Advertising executive at Amazon, who gave an overview of the company’s exciting advertising business that is becoming an increasingly important part of the organisation. He shared insights into how the advertising proposition fits into the wider Amazon business, detailing…

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Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards’ 2021 launched

Retail Insider, the influential retail blog edited by award-winning journalist Glynn Davis, is calling for entries to its 2021 Awards dedicated to digital and technological innovation. Retail Insider is proud to launch its fifth ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards after the successes of recent years. The aim of these awards is to highlight the best examples of innovation…

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Innovative Retailer: Lifvs

The Name: Lifvs The Place: All over rural Sweden The Story: This is a bit niche I can hear you thinking. Innovation in rural Sweden – what’s that go to do with us here in Blighty? I’ll do the questions, thank you: OK. What’s that got to do with us here in Blighty? Well, there…

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The Third Space

One of the few positive elements to come out of Covid-19 for many people has been the removal from their lives of the drudgery that is the daily commute to the office. Meanwhile, one of the downsides for many people during this prolonged period of lockdowns has been the enforced working from home scenario within…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Kresse Wesling, co-founder, Elvis & Kresse

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest ‘Zoom Cocktail Hour’ with Kresse Wesling, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, who is disrupting the luxury goods industry while saving waste materials from landfill. She relayed the story of her discovery of end-of-life fire hoses heading onto the waste pile and sought to turn them into desirable…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Tom Broughton, founder and CEO, Cubitts

Tom Broughton, founder and CEO, Cubitts 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The world is now almost eight billion humans, of whom most will need spectacles at some point. We can help. 2. What is the biggest challenge to your business? It’s an obvious answer, but navigating Covid-19 – it’s been pretty brutal for a…

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Sustainable Fashion: Elvis & Kresse

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what fashion retailing is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From fur farms to fast fashion, excess…

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The Power of Neighbourhood Restaurants…

Before I headed off to King’s Cross station to board a train to Timothy Taylor’s Brewery in Yorkshire for my stag do, and before my fiancée went off to do her hen things, we both did the sensible thing and prepared ourselves by popping into a local café for a full fry-up. Fast forward more…

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Innovative Retailer: Thrasio

The Name: Thrasio The Place: Well, it’s headquartered in Massachusetts, USA and has offices also in New York and Houston. But it has country specific websites in Japan, Germany and the UK and there are signs it may turn its Sauron-like gaze on the rest of Europe one day. The Story: You know those little…

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Steering clear of overly-cautious mindsets…

One of the notable features of the hospitality industry this past year has been the snaking queues of cars leading up to the counters of the drive-thru units of McDonald’s, Costa, KFC and a growing number of other foodservice operators. These outlets have been the perfect creation for servicing diners in a covid-19-ridden landscape where…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Chris Griffin, CEO of LRG Online

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest ‘Zoom Cocktail Hour’ with Chris Griffin, CEO of LRG Online, who detailed how he is building out Secret Sales as the largest discount-only, branded product site in the world. Since buying the Secret Sales business he has repositioned it away from a flash sales site to being…

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QR codes helping transform future of touchscreens

By Harry Horn When Scala showcased QR codes back in 2015 as a technology whose likely breakthrough was on the near-term horizon there was plenty of scepticism. People questioned its prospects having seen it fail to make an impact since it was first developed back in the 1990s.  Well, it certainly found its place big-time…

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The tech-led drive for delivery

Incredible as it sounds half the world’s internet users aged 16 to 64 have placed an order for takeaway food for delivery in the past month, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social. I’m certainly one of them and I don’t know anybody who isn’t. Maybe this statistic is not too surprising really because the…

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Sustainable fashion: Eco-collaboration

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what clothing retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From fur farms to fast fashion, excess…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Sarah Miles, CEO of Feelunique

Sarah Miles, CEO of Feelunique 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? We have several exciting growth opportunities, all of which are underpinned by the investments we have made in our technology infrastructure and brand relationships during recent periods. Firstly, we have a great opportunity with our marketplace platform, which has delivered soaring…

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The shift in city dynamics

There was a time when it was possible to secure a table at popular restaurants and bag a seat in the more fashionable bars in London without too much trouble. But, over the years, things became ever more difficult and a night out has required meticulous planning months in advance if you are particularly selective…

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Innovative Retailer: Pets At Home

The Name: Pets At Home The Place: Large stores all across the UK (around 450 of them), a full online presence, and some new small stores too. The Story: If you could describe a retail business that was going to do well in an international pandemic restricting people’s spending and movement – what would it…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with retail entrepreneur Chris Griffin

Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting another small, perfectly formed, programme of Zoom Cocktail Hour events (supported by Novomind) with an interesting mix of special guests from very different parts of the retail universe. Speaker: Chris Griffin, CEO & co-founder of LRG Online (Secret Sales) Date: Tuesday 23rd February Time: 5pm to…

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Three ways technology will save retail in 2021

By Michael van den Berg Whilst we navigate a third UK lockdown due to the pandemic, businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries have had to review and rethink their strategies to adjust to changing health and safety compliance. In particular, the retail sector has been heavily impacted by the current restrictions. According…

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Micro-fulfilment centres coming of age

The odds on retailers utilising automated micro-fulfilment centres (MFCs) for groceries and also general merchandise (GM) categories have certainly shortened now that growing numbers of consumers have become accustomed to shopping online.   Although Covid-19 boosted the levels of online sales to arguably justify an investigation into such solutions Steve Hornyak, chief commercial officer at…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Nick Devlin, CEO of Naked Wines

Nick Devlin, CEO, Naked Wines 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Naked Wines was founded with the belief the wine industry could be better and our mission is to disrupt it for the benefit of our customers, winemakers and our people. Put simply, too many consumers are paying too much for mediocre…

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Sustainable Fashion: The price is right… or is it?

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what clothing retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From fur farms to fast fashion –…

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2020 – Tale of Two Glasses

To describe 2020 as a challenging year would be a massive understatement. Pre-March things were going largely as predicted but then everything quickly changed. Nothing is ever black and white of course and although Covid-19 has brought about seismic changes some of these have been positive whereas others have undoubtedly been devastatingly damaging. Regardless of…

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Innovative Retailer: Games Workshop

Name: Games Workshop The Place: Ships to countries all over the world with a network of around 400 Games Workshop stores and several thousand further retail franchises but headquartered in Nottingham. The Story: You’ve got to love a company that describes its intellectual property rights as a ‘fortress wall’ and its network of shops as…

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Retailing skills will be vital for hospitality’s future.

For £175, Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano will deliver a white truffle menu box to your home while Davies and Brook at Claridge’s is up for delivering a meal kit of roast chicken for four people at a cost of £145. Other high-end places such as Le Gavroche, Hide and Smith & Wollensky are offering similar…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Freddie Blackett, founder & CEO, Patch

Freddie Blackett, founder & CEO, Patch 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?  At Patch, we believe that plants bring homes to life. However, in recent years, we’ve observed a widening gulf in the gardening industry – between its retailers and customers. Populations are increasingly urban – 85% of Western Europe will be…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Catriona Marshall, owner of Running Bear Sports

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest ‘Zoom Cocktail Hour’ with Catriona Marshall, owner of Running Bear Sports, who talked about the differences between holding senior positions within large global organisations and running your own small operation. Having spent time at Mars and Kraft in FMCG followed by senior roles at Pets At Home…

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Sustainable Fashion: eBay – The Covid clearing house

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what clothing retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast…

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Sympathy for students

One particular evening a couple of years ago remains very clear in my memory. I was sat in a bar with my then nine-year son who told me he didn’t like pubs. When his mother joined us a short time later she consoled me with the opinion that I’d dragged him out, away from his…

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Innovative Retailer: LuxDeco

Name: LuxDeco The Place: Online/global with UK distribution warehouses but no showrooms. The Story: Did you ever get bored of your house and eating at home all the time during the pandemic? Oh yes: Ever wondered if a thousand pound chandelier would improve things? Umm: Ever wondered if having the correct serving tray could make…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Paolo Woods-Wyatt, CCO of Tails.com

Paolo Woods-Wyatt, CCO, Tails.com 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? At tails.com, the team have spent the last few years investing heavily in our infrastructure – people, technology, supply chain. We’re now in a place to leverage that to continue to scale the business rapidly. We have plans to continue to launch…

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‘Digital Retail Innovations 2020’ Report Launch

It is with great pleasure that we launch the annual ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations’ report for 2020 (sponsored by Webloyalty), which is arguably the most dynamic edition to date as highlighted by DNANudge heading up this year’s list of the Top 60 innovations. Covid-19 has been a major driver of new consumer behaviours and…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Ken Daly, CEO of JML Group

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest Zoom Cocktail Hour with Ken Daly, CEO of JML Group, who talked about rocketing online sales and the importance of hit products to fuelling the company’s £100 million annual sales. The business was already enjoying growing online sales through its own direct channel when Covid-19 drove a…

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Transforming Retail Award Winners: Infarm – Best Newcomer

We asked all our winners in this year’s Transforming Retail Awards to tell us how they felt about winning their category. And here is more detail from Jeremy Byfleet, UK operations manager, Infarm on how it feels to be awarded Best Newcomer. How do you feel about winning this Award? It’s great to be recognised…

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Movers & Shakers in Retail 2020 report launched

Retail Insider is pleased to launch the 2020 edition of the Movers & Shakers in retail Top 100 report highlighting the most digitally progressive people in the industry who are making a major contribution to changing the landscape of retail. Produced in conjunction with sponsors K3 BTG, this year’s report continues with the objective of previous editions in…

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Sunnier in the suburbs

On leaving the Royal Academy last Sunday after viewing this year’s Summer Exhibition it felt like a much more airy and less frenetic experience than previous year’s, with the art seemingly less crammed together on the walls.  But then I realised it was nothing to do with the art at all. It was instead all…

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Innovative Retailer: Bread Ahead

Name: Bread Ahead The Place: Started in the oldest market in London (or pretty much anywhere) Borough Market   but now has several sites in the West End and has just opened up a big old emporium at Wembley (but more of that later). The Story:  Bread – the staff of life innit. And hasn’t it…

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A decade of change in six months…

Taking my regular cycle route to the top of Alexandra Palace in north London recently it was impossible to miss an enormous stage being constructed on one of the car park spaces. It turned out to be set-up for a two-week run of Puccini’s La bohème by the English National Opera dubbed “ENO Drive &…

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Sustainable Fashion: Counting those carbon calories…

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what clothing retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast…

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Transforming Retail Award winners: Lost Stock – Sustainability Award

We asked all our winners in this year’s Transforming Retail Awards to tell us a bit more about themselves and their winning entry. Lost Stock won out in the sustainability category for their phenomenally successful venture to support garment workers in Asia while also diverting unwanted stock from landfill. 1.      How do you…

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Extra restrictions kill the swift pint option…

Many times over the past couple of weeks at the end of the day I’ve thought about popping out to the pub for a quick pint while I read the paper. But I’ve then changed my mind and instead cracked open a can of beer or poured a glass of wine at home. Once lock-down…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Mark Fox, CEO of Roadchef

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest Zoom Cocktail Hour with Mark Fox, CEO of Roadchef, who talked about his mission to elevate the perception of the motorway service station. With a major £75 million investment made across the estate of Roadchef service stations and the introduction of new brands like Leon Mark detailed…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Freddy Ward, co-founder, Wild Cosmetics

Freddy Ward, co-founder of Wild Cosmetics 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? We believe there will be an unstoppable wave of change in the way consumers think about sustainability and how their buying behaviours impact the world we live in. Wild is well positioned to help consumers on this journey and to…

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Diminishing probability of serendipity…

“The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” You might not have experienced much of this over the past six months because it’s the definition of serendipity and it’s become a bit of a scarce resource. Over the years it’s fair to say that my personal circumstances and work-related…

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Transforming Retail Winners: OneStock – Editor’s Special Award

We asked all our winners in this year’s Transforming Retail Awards to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their winning entry. Order management system OneStock jointly won the Editor’s Special Award for its agile Web to Store IT system which allowed Whistles to unify their stock (e-commerce, warehouses, points of sale, suppliers)…

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Innovative Retailer: Selfridges

Name: Selfridges The Place: One of the grande dames of the department stores of London’s Oxford Street (and now Birmingham and Manchester too) but one which has always been a bit wild and exuberant and just a teeny bit off the wall. Like Princess Margaret to the Queen’s Fortnum & Mason if you will. There…

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Being multi-channel must be the Apple of a company’s eye

Apple’s market cap recently hit an incredible £2tn, which represents a doubling in only two years, and this has happened during a period when sales of its core iPhone have been slowing. The reason for this apparent disparity is largely down to a realisation by investors that the value of Apple is not so much…

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‘Transforming Retail Awards 2020’ winners announced

The winners of the Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards 2020’ have been announced during an online unveiling via Zoom. The Awards always aims at highlighting some of the most exciting innovations to happen in the retail sector over the past year and there were plenty of those in 2020. The categories being judged this year…

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Retail Insider’s Autumn/Winter programme of Zoom Cocktail Hours announced

Back by popular demand, Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting another small, perfectly formed, programme of Zoom Cocktail Hour events with an interesting mix of special guests from very different parts of the retail universe. Each guest speaker will tell their own interesting story that will undoubtedly throw some fresh insights and…

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Transforming Retail Awards: Q&A with Gavin Matthews, partner at awards sponsor Womble Bond Dickinson

1. What attracted you and Womble Bond Dickinson to being involved with these Awards? We were attracted to the Retail Insider Awards because we believe that a vibrant retail industry is crucial to the country’s economic success and these awards recognise the best companies, big, medium and small which are revolutionising the way the industry develops. 2.…

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Transforming Retail Awards: Q&A with Andy Harding, UK MD of awards sponsor Openpay

1. What attracted you and Openpay to be involved with the Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards?The pandemic brought with it store closures on an unimaginable scale and challenges for many retailers which would have seemed insurmountable. Yet, through hard work and dedication, many teams innovated and pivoted to adapt to ever-changing customer demands. As the economy slowlyshows…

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Sustainable focus: Waste specific clothing

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion…

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Landlords must be willing to flex

Chatting to leading property player Roger Madelin recently, it was clear he was proud of the fact that in the early 1990s, when he was running property developer Argent, the company’s Brindleyplace project in Birmingham had been the first mixed-use site to introduce turnover-based rentals for retailers and hospitality companies. He went on to use…

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Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards 2020’ Shortlist Announced

Retail Insider is delighted to reveal the shortlist for its fourth annual ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards of 2020 kindly supported by Openpay and Womble Bond Dickinson. The aim of the awards is to showcase the very best examples of innovation across the sector as decided by our independent panel of judges. This year’s panel comprised: Paul Wilkinson,…

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Teasing the customer back

When growing up in Yorkshire, ordering the ‘scallop’ – a deep-fried, layered fish and potato cake – was the value option at my local fish and chip shop because it was significantly cheaper than going for a cod or haddock with my chips. Only later, when frequenting smarter restaurants, did I come across the alternative…

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Innovative Retailer: Cazoo

Brought to you by Retail Insider and Flooid Name: Cazoo The Place: Billed as the new disruptor on the block of one of the last consumer markets not yet transformed by digital commerce – yes, it’s used cars. The Story: It’s very early days for Cazoo. Seriously, this thing launched just as Covid-19 was getting going…

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Don’t just leave us with memories

Long-standing Covent Garden bar the Roadhouse has become the latest casualty of covid-19 with the announcement it will not be opening again. The toll of dealing with the current uncertainly around late-night London has meant its owners sadly do not regard the operation as viable. The statement on its website reads: “It is the end…

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Don’t just leave us with memories

Long-standing Covent Garden bar the Roadhouse has become the latest casualty of covid-19 with the announcement it will not be opening again. The toll of dealing with the current uncertainly around late-night London has meant its owners sadly do not regard the operation as viable. The statement on its website reads: “It is the end…

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Sustainability Focus: Lost Stock

Welcome to our section of the site which focuses on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one-use plastic, excess packaging to food waste…

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Keep the human contact

Regular users of the bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath have been getting hot under the collar over the recent introduction of an online booking and payment system brought in by the City of London Corporation to safely manage swimmers during covid-19. Previously, the denizens of this smart north London enclave could pitch up whenever they…

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Best Seat In The House

Charles Wells’ pubs in France have been a quiet success story as the portfolio of outlets has grown on the back of young French drinkers’ appetite for the unique British bar vibe the UK operator has shipped across the Channel. One of the key components of this has been the hubbub around the bar. Unlike…

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Monopoly Moves

Despite the incredible rejuvenation of the King’s Cross area of London it remains largely bereft of traditional pubs serving top-notch craft beers apart from one that has become a firm favourite of mine: The Queens Head on Acton Street. Located only a five-minute walk from the train station it was until Covid-19 in a decent…

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Innovative Retailer: THG Ingenuity

Brought to you by Retail Insider and Flooid Name: The Hut Group The Place: Based in Manchester Airport City. And building a really huge HQ there even as we speak plus its ICON building, which is all about content creation. But also fulfilment and warehousing centres across the world. The Story: It’s a funny one. Ask…

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Sustainable Focus: Rites

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. Today an interview with the co-founder of luxury resale site Rites brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box This month our sustainability column is an interview with the co-founder of…

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Retail Insider Zoom Cocktail Hour with Angus Thirlwell, CEO, Hotel Chocolat

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its second Zoom Cocktail Hour with Angus Thirlwell, CEO of Hotel Chocolat, who revealed how developments at the business had been dramatically accelerated as a result of Covid-19. As the lockdown hit Hotel Chocolat relied solely on its website and this has continued deliver significant online sales uplifts.…

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Transforming Retail Awards – why YOU should enter!

Calling all innovative companies who want to tell the world about their amazing work… you have until 10th July to enter Retail Insider’s fourth annual Transforming Retail Awards. And the good news in these times of straitened finances for retail is that it is entirely free to enter and also very easy. Far from being…

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Managing the difficult challenge of reopening stores

When McDonald’s reopened my local Drive Thru restaurant my son absolutely demanded we made a visit. What was interesting was that as lockdown was in place there were no employees required in the restaurant. Cost savings you might think. Not so, because they had all been deployed outside where many more people were required to…

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Innovative Retailer: Atoms

Name: Atoms The Place: Headquartered in Brooklyn, US. No shops yet – it’s more of an online outfit. And it’s teeny weeny – less than 20 employees. The Story: Shoes. We all have to have them, it’s one of the very few universal products. The world must be shod! Can’t argue with it so far:…

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Retailers and restaurants enter a very different landscape

As non-essential retailers reopen their stores for the first time in three months they return to a very different environment to the one they left when lockdown was enforced. Over the coming weeks they will realise that some elements of their operations will be changed indefinitely and there will unfortunately be some casualties as a…

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Sustainable Focus: The return to plastic after Covid

Welcome to this column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry.  Today an analysis of the role of plastic in the Covid 19 crisis brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box In the past few years, really positive moves have…

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Rising to challenge of increased flour demand

Home baking continues to enjoy its meteoric rise in popularity as a result of Covid-19 that is making flour one of the few items to still suffer shortage problems in retail outlets. Whereas things like hand sanitiser and toilet rolls have long returned to normal levels of availability in supermarkets this has not been the…

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Retail Insider Zoom Cocktail Hour with Retail Futurist Howard Saunders

Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its first Zoom Cocktail Hour with Retail Futurist Howard Saunders, founder of Twenty Second & Fifth, who considered where the industry is heading and how consumer behaviour is dramatically changing. There was no escaping Covid-19 in Howard’s assessment which determined the world is in the midst of a…

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Retail Insider launches its ‘Transforming Retail 2020 Awards’

Retail Insider, the influential retail blog edited by award-winning journalist Glynn Davis, is calling for entries to its awards dedicated to digital and technological innovation. The Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards 2020, now in its fourth year, has under the current circumstances been pared down in terms of the number of categories and the kind of…

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Teen Panel part three: sustainability

This is the third and final part of our series talking to a group of young teenagers about their views and habits around shopping, leisure and technology. The theme this week is sustainability and corporate and consumer responsibility as we tried to find out how it affects their brand and company perception, and what practical…

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Covid-19 lessons from the Americans

You can call it ‘click & collect by car’ or contactless collection if you wish but it’s pretty much the same thing as what the Americans call curb-side collection and it is gaining some traction in the UK as a measure against Covid-19. Whereas the traditional click & collect, involving pick-up in stores, was developed…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A: Ivan Mazour, CEO and Founder, Ometria

Ivan Mazour, CEO and Founder, Ometria 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? In our modern world, we struggle for time, and are overloaded in every direction with information. The opportunity we have is to change the way retail marketers practice, and enable them to give back their customers time, rather than take…

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Innovative Retailer: Beaverbrooks

Name: Beaverbrooks The Place: UK-based with a multitude of stores around the country. The Story: It’s been selling bling for 100 years but the story of family-run jewellers Beaverbooks is very much one for the here and now. How so? Beaverbrooks could have written the mantra we all live by now. Stay Home Save Lives?…

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Zoom Cocktail Hour with Retail Futurist Howard Saunders

Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting its first Zoom-fuelled Cocktail Hour with special guest Retail Futurist Howard Saunders on Thursday May 21 at 5pm. Nobody really wants to be where we are right now so we are very pleased to call on the insights and humour (a fine cocktail) of Mr S…

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Warehouses becoming more attractive

Supply chains are the hidden part of retail that shoppers have historically had no interest in whatsoever but this has changed during the Corona virus as shortages of items on supermarket shelves have put the supply chain on the front page. Large numbers of people buying an increased number of specific items has had a…

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Sustainable focus: The rise of the curated edit…

Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. Today we discuss the different sustainable edits available in the market place and their chances of success brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box The number of fashion…

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Online differentiates winners and losers

When one of the UK’s most proficient and respected retailers decided to shut down its online operation it was a bit of a shock because the channel was expected to offset some of the sales it was losing through the enforced closure of its stores as a result of the Coronavirus. Fashion bellwether Next came…

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Adapting to present circumstances will secure the future

During this lockdown period I was very pleased to order my first home delivery from my favourite fish and chip shop, which had suddenly partnered with Just Eat, thereby providing further evidence of how even the humblest of businesses are adapting amid the Coronavirus pandemic. A similar adaptive mindset has been taken up by B&Q…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A: Tony Buffin, CEO, Holland & Barrett

Retail Insider is pleased to bring you a Q&A with Tony Buffin, CEO, Holland & Barrett, that was conducted before Coronavirus. 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Digital growth and digital interaction with our customers is really important and this extends through product differentiation, range extension, and product customisation. We also want…

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What we can takeaway from the Coronavirus on food delivery

As a household we’ve hardly ever used take-away food delivery services but it probably comes as no surprise that things have changed of late. A recent celebratory meal that would have typically been enjoyed in a restaurant was replaced with a meal from a super little local Polish restaurant Autograf. I’d have normally collected it…

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Teen Panel Part Two: Technology

At Retail Insider’s recently convened Teen Panel a handful of tech-savvy 13-year olds told us about their consumption habits, their views on sustainability and how they live with the technology that they have all grown up with. In the second part of our series on the results we look at the devices and platforms they…

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We’re in a world of U-turns

A reversal of tactics is typically known as a U-turn and in politics it is regarded as a very bad move as it signifies flawed initial thinking. It is not generally regarded as quite as bad in the world of business because a change of direction can obviously be a sensible thing financially if it…

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Keeping the wolf from the door

Despite online being initially viewed as something of a saviour for ‘non-essential’ retailers forced to close their stores the reality has been more painful as many have been unable to operate online. A combination of issues over social distancing in warehouses and subdued demand for products within various categories has made it tough for many…

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View from the City – Ocado

If there is one thing we can be certain of over the past few weeks it is that food delivery has moved onto a new level of demand as the lockdown has driven significant adoption of the services of the main supermarkets. Customers have flocked to the major grocers and created seriously long virtual queues…

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You’ll miss it if it’s gone…

Taking the requisite daily exercise last Sunday involved passing my local coffee bar, Islands in Hornsey, where the owner was crouched over a crate outside his shuttered premises handing out free food to random locals out for an exercise-like stroll. With no customers and perishable food on the premises it was clearly better to give…

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Fortnight can be a long time in retail

It’s difficult to imagine that there has ever been a time when the retail industry has faced as many twists and turns as it has over the last two weeks. A mere fortnight ago things were relatively normal in retail-land as its inhabitants cast glances at a virus propagating overseas. But since then the world…

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Contact-less

Drive-thrus haven’t played a particularly big part in my life – perhaps because I’ve never owned a car even though I passed my driving test decades ago – but it’s clear they have become increasingly popular in the UK since they crossed the pond. Drive-thrus are a mainstay of automobile-loving, fast food-guzzling American society. Their…

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Innovative Retailer: Nike

Name: Nike aka The Swoosh The Place: Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, but surely one of the most globally recognisable brands anywhere on the face of the earth. The Story: This is the story of obsessive design. Focused on one product. And how constant and unrelenting iteration of that same product can eventually lead to a…

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Eyes on the bigger prize

When Amazon launched its Prime subscription service in 2005, many thought founder Jeff Bezos had lost the plot because of a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars through offering unlimited shipping for a modest $79 (£63) a year. The move delivered a welcome recurring revenue stream but the big question among many –…

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Sustainable focus: First Mile Part Two

Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry.   Today part two of the interview with First Mile founder Bruce Bratley – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box Right now First Mile founder Bruce Bratley…

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The rise and rise of the meal kit

A trip into almost any UK supermarket these days will alert the observant shopper to the proliferation in meal kits and two- and three-step cooking packets. It seems as if just about everyone is getting in on the kit act which handily combines the illusion of cooking from scratch with the personalisation element that so…

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Teen Panel part one: Shops

A great deal has been written about Millennials and latterly Gen Z with regard to the way they interact with their social media and devices and how they shop. But due to their age little regard is paid to the consumers of tomorrow until they reach 18 and suddenly have the capacity to pay with…

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Sustainable focus: First Mile

Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month a two-part interview with the founder of First Mile Bruce Bratley – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box Recycling is an unglamorous but necessary element…

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Line management

Upmarket leather goods-maker Goyard has a compact store in Mayfair’s Mount Street that always has a queue outside snaking down the road. This isn’t simply down to the store’s popularity with global fashionistas, it’s also due to Goyard’s policy that only allows the same number of people into its store as there are employees on…

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Sustainability focus: RePack

Welcome to our section of the site which focuses on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one-use plastic, excess packaging to food waste…

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Working on the casual Dockers brand

Khaki specialist Dockers led the revolution in dress-down Fridays in the late 1980’s and is now positioning itself as the daily workwear brand of choice among thirtysomethings who no longer wear a suit any day of the week. After distributing its casual wear manual to HR departments after the financial crisis of 1987 Levi’s-owned Dockers…

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Valentine fun…

Here at Retail Insider we are always interested in the ways retailers get the most out of our seasonal celebrations – and none is more interesting than Valentine’s Day which has been twisted round more tenuous tie-ins than most other annual festivities. If you had told us yesterday that cook in the pot noodles could…

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