Ben Francis, founder and director, Gymshark 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The biggest opportunity for Gymshark at the moment is to harness the potential of GSHQ, our new Birmingham-based office. The 42,000 sq ft space gives us the opportunity to expand our workforce to help us continue on the growth trajectory we’re…

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The future of high streets will very much be determined by a combination of localised offerings, a high level of personalization, and more service-led propositions, as opposed to simply identikit shops looking to sell consumers more commoditised stuff. Neatly fitting into this template-for-the-future is the barbershop. I personally had not really considered them as a…

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It’s taken a lot longer than it should – particularly considering the rapid rise and comparative sophistication of online shopping – but finally ‘physical’ retail is starting to get ‘phygital’. One area in which retailers are seeing demand grow, is for personalised pricing and promotions – delivered direct to shoppers’ mobile devices when they are…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Jason Gulbinas, CEO of Aila Technologies which features in this year’s report for its work with Rent The…

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Having worked across different sectors it is noticeable how retail is very much more about the transaction whereas with the travel industry experience is everything. The good news is that this could change because innovations in things like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) are bringing a greater level of personalised service to retail.…

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Earlier this year Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store to the public, enabling shoppers in Seattle to pick goods off the shelf and leave. Cameras and scanners monitor the movements of each person and the goods they handle before automatically charging their account as they leave the shop with their items. Amazon has trademarked…

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In a relatively modest timeframe Ocado has pretty much gone from what some analysts described as zero to the stock-market now pricing it as a hero. From being among the most shorted stocks on the UK market it has moved into the FTSE100 index and arguably become the darling of the UK retail sector following…

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Following the launch of the Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Joel Burgess, co-founder, Nutrifix. How did the original idea come about? I started Nutrifix to “scratch…

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FMCG/retail sector is in a phase of transformation, the likes of which we have not seen before. Business stakeholders drive some of the changes while others are clearly coming from the outside. Business models nimble enough to adapt will thrive, while many others will be caught flatfooted and perish. Here are five theses for the…

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Carrier bags, straws and single-use coffee cups have joined food waste on the growing list of concerns consumers have about the wasteful nature of much of today’s consumption. The UK wastes 10 million tonnes of food each year which has a value of over £17 billion, 60% of which could be avoided, and when you…

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Craig Smith, digital commerce director, Ted Baker 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Contrary to popular belief it’s not opportunity based upon other businesses not being around anymore as busy shopping destinations works for everyone. The big opportunities for us are around evolving our product offer in the right direction and wrapping…

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Name: Iceland The Place: 900 stores across the UK and 23,000 employees. Can I just clarify so our readers don’t get worried – obviously this Iceland will be some kind of terribly modern and ironic ice cream brand or something: No But what I mean is: clearly we’re not talking about the old High Street…

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The recent news that Stella McCartney has bought back the 50% holding in her fashion business from global luxury goods company Kering will enable the company to much more easily continue with its preference for bucking conventional wisdom. Such actions help differentiate businesses and set them apart from the competition. Being able to take an…

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Amazon continued its dominance as one of the most innovative companies in the world today by taking three of the top ten rankings in the 2018 Digital Retail Innovations Report from Retail Insider, sponsored by Webloyalty. It’s Amazon Go and Amazon Logistics made the second and fourth places while Amazon Echo topped the list in first…

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Restaurants and foodservice operators of all shapes and sizes are either grappling with how to use home delivery to their best advantage or they are at the least being caught in the cross-fire as the rival aggregators and delivery firms suck in more consumers as they battle it out for dominance. From the point of…

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Books and vinyl records should have been consigned to the dustbin by now – brushed aside by the digital revolution – if the earlier forecasts were to have been believed. But they are having something of a renaissance in just the same way as the seemingly dead milkman is also having a bit of a…

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Leading up to the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Charlotte Aschim, co-founder of TotalCtrl, which will feature in this year’s report for its work with…

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Food halls and markets are springing up in a variety of locations but there is a worry that they are mistakenly being seen as the solution to the growing issue of empty retail units that blight the shopper landscape. Speaking at MAPIC Food & Beverage in Milan last week on a panel discussion titled ‘Food…

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We’ve all seen it written in stone that millennials are willing to spend more on products from companies committed to delivering both a positive social and environmental impact. It’s the rest of us that have damned the planet and the youngsters are seeking to address things. This comes at a time when there is a…

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Philippe Chainieux, CEO, Made What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The market in furniture and homewares is seeing the same transition from high street to online that the fashion industry has gone through. As the digitally-native, leading design brand, MADE is best positioned to benefit from the opportunity the transition presents. What is…

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Name: Wheelys The Place: Any street corner, anywhere on the globe! Now that’s what I call a marketplace. That’s what I call “not possible”: Nonsense. You can go anywhere on a bike. And Wheelys combines all those hot retail trends right now. Like: Like sustainability, eco-friendliness, organic produce, franchising, elements of the gig economy even,…

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Traditional market research methods are under increasing pressure as the next generation of firms like Streetbees fully utilises technology to strip out people’s claims and aspirations and deliver results based purely on reality. The company has recruited one million people around the world who can be called upon by brand owners, retailers and food service…

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It started with carrier bags a few years back and more recently has extended to plastic straws and single-use coffee cups as well as plastic water bottles. After much prevarication consumers and retailers now seem to have the bit between their teeth over the issue of reducing the levels of waste plastic. Selfridges was on…

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These are tough times for retailers with a race to the bottom being seen in many areas of the industry, which is eating dangerously into margins and forcing companies to work more creatively or face severe problems in the future. This creativity is driving activity in the area of secondary revenue (known as ancillary revenue…

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Online business Made is confident that its growth will accelerate as the online share of the furniture and homewares category is predicted to double by 2022 and it plans to grab a greater chunk. Philippe Chainieux, CEO of Made, reckons the sector will follow fashion whereby a greater amount of trade will shift online: “The…

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Retail Insider headed up by award winning journalist Glynn Davis, is calling for entries to its awards dedicated to digital and technological innovation. Now in its second year, the Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards 2018 is designed to showcase the best examples of innovation in retail technology across the sector and will feature seven categories: ‘Best Overall Use…

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Name: Paul A Young Fine Chocolates The Place: There are a grand total of three shops all in the smoke: one in the City, the original in Camden Passage and another in Soho, all catering to the chocolate cognoscenti. But I expect you can buy them in supermarkets too, right? Get out, go on! Wash…

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Many craft beer bars have a focus on offering an incredible array of beers but in some cases they go so far over the top that mainstream consumers find it rather off-putting. They cannot cut through the dizzying array on offer in order to make their selection. It’s akin to rabbits in the car headlights.…

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At a time when we are seeing retailers on the high street come under ever more pressure there continues to be examples of massive expansion by merchants at some of the marquee shopping centres. The results from Next recently highlighted how it was dealing with a tough balancing act as it manages the decline of…

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One of the differentiating factors of Just Eat compared with its rivals Deliveroo, UberEats and Amazon is that it has a true virtual model. It simply acts as an online marketplace linking hungry customers with their local take-away operators. It certainly does not dirty its hands (and diminish its margins) by handling the actual deliveries.…

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Name: BUILT The Place: Oh it’s terribly new. Only a baby in fact. Just one store in the Birmingham area. Plus it only opened in September 2017 so we are all over it really quickly. The Story: Builders – a breed unto themselves aren’t they? They certainly are: We’ve all heard the stereotypical stories of…

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We know that retailers are facing challenging times, well spare a thought for the beleaguered newspaper industry. It has faced a torrid time at the hands of people choosing to read content online for free. Couple this with the mighty tough task of competing with the duopoly of Google and Facebook for the budgets of…

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  Prezzo, Chimichanga, Jamie’s Italian, Square Pie, and Byron are among the growing number of restaurant brands that are either ceasing trading or the shutters are being pulled down on many of their outlets. This is proof if it were needed that this is an increasingly tough environment for food service businesses to operate and…

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Following the launch of the Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Jamie Crummie, co-founder, Too Good To Go, which is placed at number 2 in the report. How…

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The next frontier of retail is in people’s homes. If customers won’t visit the store then the retailer could always visit the customer at their home. Waitrose is dipping its toe in the proverbial water here with the recent launch of its In-home wine tasting service. The company has recognised that it has over 200…

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Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, president of techUK and non-executive director & advisor 1. What is the greatest opportunity for consumer-facing/retail businesses? Once upon a time the retail industry was all about selling, now its biggest opportunity is providing unparalleled, interactive experiences to customers. The rise of subscription services and the pervasiveness of connected devices such…

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As retailers look to deliver more immersive experiences in-store there is a lot they can learn from the restaurant industry where some operators are creating very rich stories in their venues. Among them is Indian restaurant chain Dishoom that has been building a successful business initially in London but soon it will have an outpost…

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A few years ago if you wandered into a Poundland store you really would not have known what products you’d find on the shelves. This was because the business sourced many of its branded lines via third-parties because the brand owners would not supply the retailer direct. The issue was that the well known brands…

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Name: BirchBox The Place: Head quartered in New York because, um, that’s where the early adopting cool people live but it’s mainly an online outfit which operates in numerous countries and is now definitely in the UK too. The Story: Every now and again this column likes to give a shout out to a company…

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Regular restaurant-goers and those in the industry will know that every venue has its own versions of the Siberia tables, which in the case of the worst examples only the unwitting and timid would fail to reject when directed to by the front-of-house team. Those tables situated right next to the toilets, in draughty doorways,…

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When the headlines deliver a constant stream of stories about shop closures and the abandonment of new store developments it is hardly surprising that employment prospects in the sector appear extremely poor. When you add in the developments around automation then it all sounds pretty woeful for the jobs situation in the retail industry. That…

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Waiter: “Would you like this octopus dish?” Me: “No thanks, we’ve already had it. And it was very good.” Waiter: “Would you like another?” Me: “Not really.” Waiter: “It’s on the house.” Me: “Yes please.” This interchange took place during the early stages of lunch at the hot new Catalan-inspired restaurant Rambla that landed in…

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Retail Insider recently attended Retail’s Big Show, organised by the National Retail Federation (NRF), in New York City where the world’s technology providers show off their latest wares to senior retail executives.   Record numbers descended on this year’s event to get an insight into the way technology is moving and how it can help…

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Following the launch of the Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Andre Hordagoda, Co-founder, GoInStore, which is placed at number 5 in the report for its work with…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Tessa Cook, co-founder of OLIO, which is placed at number 26 in the report for its work with…

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Name: Clutter The Place: At the moment US only but expect global domination any time soon, which may include Blighty…So watch this space. The Story: Stuff. It’s a thing isn’t it? It certainly is: Got too much of it? Nope: So you are in the minority then, my friend. Well, I’m used to being special…

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Brewpubs are widely seen as a US invention because they are very much a feature of the beer landscape on that side of the Atlantic. But this is not strictly true because the brewpub phenomenon was ignited by activities in the UK by British entrepreneur David Bruce who founded the Firkin chain of brewpubs. In…

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Restaurants and other foodservice companies are having a tough time handling the explosive growth now being experienced in home delivery. Increasingly impatient – and lazy – customers demanding instant gratification are fuelling the growth in food delivered to the home. The amount of meals cooked in the home is falling among younger people who find…

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Name: Stowga The Place: Anywhere in the UK there are big, empty warehouses really. The Story: Like all good business ideas, this one comes from someone spotting a problem and thinking – I could solve that. And who might that someone be? Charlie Pool, CEO of Stowga. He comes from an asset management background (Delin…

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Andrew Edmunds is a long established restaurant in central London that always features highly on top restaurant lists including that of Hardens, which currently has it placed as the fifth best within its price category and is it is also deemed the city’s third most romantic restaurant by the guide’s readers. I admit to venturing…

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Experience-led retail is without doubt the future of the physical store. The days when a trip to the shops would inevitably end up with people returning home laden down with bags of stuff look to be numbered. The combination of increasing online sales, and the trend for younger consumers to be buyers of social media-friendly…

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Simon Calver, partner at BGF Ventures 1. What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? We are all beginning to collect more data but the biggest opportunity now is to use that data to build customer insights that can differentiate your own proposition and create really sticky customers. 2. What…

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It was certainly sunnier at MAPIC, the annual retail property developers exhibition, in southern France than it was in the UK this month but what remained the same across both places was the stunningly hot climate for food and beverage (F&B) in the retail environment. Food & beverage was the main focus at the event…

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Operating a retail store where the produce is sold via refillable containers brought in by the customer was ahead of its time even in the hipper parts of East London, which resulted in innovative business Unpackaged having a tough time. Despite the challenges and closure of its only store in 2012 its founder Catherine Conway…

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Name: Elvis & Kresse The Place: The manufacturing workshop is in a picturesque water mill in deepest Kent – Tonge to be exact. And there are no shops. The Story: This is a story of a company that wants to redefine luxury in the most surprising way. Kresse Wesling is co-founder of Elvis & Kresse…

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When kitting out the bedrooms of my house the decision about new wardrobes involved me employing a carpenter. But the cost was astronomical for the size and complexity required. Each of the carpenters from whom I took quotes suggested the best alternative was to source the wardrobes from IKEA and employ a professional DIY person…

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Tony Mannix, CEO of Clipper Logistics What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Agility is a word we’ve lived by at Clipper since we started, and it’s a concept we believe has been key to our own success. It’s allowed us to develop award-winning solutions, such as our Boomerang™ returns service, and our recent…

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Following the launch of the Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Noel Hunwick, co-founder of Inamo, which is placed at number 19 in the report. 1.How did…

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The major grocery chains built their portfolios of massive stores on the back of the phenomenon of the UK population getting into their cars, driving to their nearest out-of-town superstore, and doing their weekly/fortnightly/monthly mega shop. While plenty of people still undertake this ritual the trend is trailing off. Partly this is because more people…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Uwe Weiss, CEO of Blue Yonder, which is placed at number 11 in the report for its work with…

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Name: SweetGreen The Place: America basically. Currently standing at 72 units spread all over the country with another handful opening soon. The Story: Back in 2007 three business undergraduates at Georgetown University Business School tried to find some good food off-campus and failed abysmally. The good, healthy, nutritious salad options full of locally produced stuff…

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US department store chain Nordstrom is to open its first Nordstrom Local variant, which will act as a showroom where customers can buy a drink and relax but cannot take home any clothes. Instead they have to order them and wait for their chosen items to be delivered to their homes. This follows the strategy…

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Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount What is the greatest opportunity for your business? When we started work in the industry we used customer transaction data to understand what customers did – what they bought (classic recency, frequency and value analysis). This still dominates the whole industry and continues to consume millions of pounds in investment. But…

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Retail Insider this week celebrated the launch of the inaugural ‘Digital Leisure and Hospitality Innovations Report’ at an evening event with guest speaker Fernando Fanton, chief product & technology officer at Just Eat. The report, sponsored by Webloyalty, recognises the top 20 leisure and hospitality digital initiatives of the last year and draws attention to…

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  Subscription services seem to have been flavour of the month for a long time as the number of product categories where customers can receive regular deliveries of products to their homes has grown exponentially. Recent research from Zuora has shown that 89% of UK adults now subscribe to such services. That’s a sizeable 58…

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Senior retail executives recently gathered in central London at Sourced Market to attend the inaugural Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards’ designed to showcase the most exciting developments in the retail sector over the past year.  The Awards attracted multiple entries of a high standard giving the judges a difficult job. However they eventually whittled all…

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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…

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Retail Insider has launched the 2017 edition of the ‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report that highlights the key individuals in retail that are harnessing the power of digital to push their organisations forward. The constituents of this year’s publication show the dramatic shifts that are taking place in the retail sector as…

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Retail is undergoing a revolution as organisations grapple with having to deal with multiple channels and servicing ever more demanding and impatient customers across these various touch-points. To deliver on this requires clear visibility of both inventory and customers across the channels and the only way for established retailers to realistically achieve this is to…

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Much has been made of the desire by younger consumers for immediate gratification and retailers are increasingly developing solutions that satisfy this impatience among a growing percentage of the buying public. This phenomenon has fuelled growth in vending machines, with new solutions hitting the market that offer a range of goods that take us well…

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Name: Sephora The Place: Well, it’s part of LMVH which is French but most people think of America when they think of Sephora on account of it being the number one beauty retailer over there. Although actually it operates in more than 30 countries. But nothing in the UK? Sore point. Once a year or…

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  Next has been a powerhouse of an online business with its Directory operation an early leader in selling clothing over the internet but things are grinding to something of a halt. In a fairly damning research note Berenberg recently warned rather colourfully that Next is running the risk of suffering the same fate as…

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Emma Heal, MD for UK Retail at Graze 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Whilst technology has changed the trajectory of various industries over the last few years, the FMCG/CPG sector has historically lagged behind in this development. Graze saw an opportunity in the many ways tech could enable growth in the…

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Retail Insider recently celebrated the launch of the 2017 version of its ‘Digital Retail Innovations Top 50 Report’, sponsored by Webloyalty, where the most innovative solutions in retail in the UK and overseas were listed and ranked. Feedback from the event – with contributions from Paul Wilkinson, head of technology research at Tesco Labs, Alan…

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For Louis Vuitton the recent collaboration with US-based streetwear brand Supreme to produce a one-off range of goods must have been bittersweet. On the sweet side the tie-up, which saw the two sell through pop-up stores in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Paris, Sydney, LA and Seoul, created a massive demand for the collection. Thousands of customers…

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Retail Insider is very pleased to announce the shortlist for the inaugural ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards in 2017. The aim of the awards is to showcase the best examples of innovation across the sector and we believe the shortlist below consists of a strong field of innovations and progressively-minded organisations. I would like to congratulate all…

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Interior design has undergone something of a revolution as digital technology has given consumers access to products and the ability to create ‘looks’ through the likes of Pinterest and Instagram. This has reduced the number of interior designers and undermined the position of retailers that supplied them with product. Andrew Martin is one such operator,…

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The most natural way of communicating is through voice so it is hardly a surprise that there is growing interest in the use of voice-enabled technology for shopping. The recent ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report listed Amazon’s voice-enabled Alexa solution as the number one retail innovation for the second year running. This…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Ofri Ben Porat, co-founder & CEO, Pixoneye, which is placed at number 33 in the report. 1. How did…

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Colin Porter, CEO of Joules 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The same as it has been for the last few years – UK and international growth. What’s fuelling the UK is recognition of the brand and our multi-channel approach. A pillar of our growth is the eight to 10 stores per…

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Sheep, python, alligator and crocodile farms have all been on the shopping lists of the world’s foremost luxury brands in recent years as the trend for vertical integration continues to gain prominence within the retail industry. Ermenegildo Zegna purchased a stake in a sheep station in Australia renowned for its Merino wool, Gucci bought a…

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1.What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? Offering richer, faster, easier and smarter, as well as more personalised, customer experiences. 2. What is the biggest challenge to these businesses? Establishing employee value propositions that are compelling to the best talent, with open, transparent, and fun cultures combined with technology…

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One of the things US craft brewers find particularly surprising about their UK-based counterparts is that the latter sell very little of their beer direct to the consumer. In the US many brewers sell pretty much all of their output through their own on-site tap rooms for consumption on the premises or for take-away, whereas…

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Retail Insider celebrated the launch of the new edition of the Digital Retail Innovations Top 50 Report with an evening event involving influential guest speakers and a tutored beer tasting. The event and report, both sponsored by Webloyalty, attracted senior executives from a variety of retailers including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Pret A Manger, and Kurt…

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Amazon has bagged the top three places in the Digital Retail Innovations 2017 Report with its Alexa technology retaining its position at the head of the table. The online juggernaut also took another position in the top 10, with its four highly-rated innovations comprising: Echo, Go, Logistics, and Dash. This is the fourth time Retail Insider…

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Name: Reformation The Place: America (again). I promise the next one will be in the UK but we like Reformation so we’re doing it anyway. It’s headquartered in Los Angeles – where else? But also has eight other stores including a couple of pop-ups scattered about in New York, San Francisco, Miami and the like.…

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    Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event with Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, who outlined how much of the success of the department store is down to the uncompromising focus on its wealthy core audience. In order to differentiate the business and attract the small group of the most affluent people from…

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Fast fashion is built around consumer appetite for a never ending stream of new products, which is to some extent fuelled by digital, and it is this that is also driving a mind-set of needing constant change in all things. This is manifesting itself in the way physical retail space needs to be increasingly dynamic.…

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Steve Baggi, co-founder of Green Park and leader of its Retail and Consumer Practice What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Helping retailers understand the impact of digital transformation on the organisational design of their businesses and what that means for the leaders they employ and the retail estate model they follow. It’s all…

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  Name: Stew Leonard’s The Place: Not here, basically. America in fact, where there are currently five outlets with another one scheduled for New York sometime in 2017. It’s a ‘retailtainment’ phenomena. The Story: Way back in the 1920’s Charles Leonard opened Clover Farms Dairy in the state of Connecticut. Howdy pardner: Oh no, you’re…

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Even before any customers had actually been allowed into the first Amazon Go store in Seattle a whirlwind of publicity had been created, which forecast the advent of real frictionless shopping. Commentators loved the idea of people simply walking out of the store with their goods and their bank account being automatically debited for the…

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Beer is regarded as a pretty robust product. There is no real problem with it sitting in bottles and cans on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores at room temperature for some time. For big branded lagers this is probably fine but for an increasing amount of specialist craft beers this is an issue.…

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For technology-focused individuals in the world of retail there really is no escape from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. It is increasingly being applied to the likes of chatbots, which aim to imitate a human interaction with customers. This is pretty hot stuff right now. The ability to use this clever technology to engage…

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Name: Depop The Place: On your smart phone via the Depop app, which has over six million registered users. Sorry, how many? 6 million. I know. And it’s no slouch on Twitter either with 166,000 followers and a Facebook community with over 36,500 likes. But the app is where it’s really at. The Story: Currently…

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Despite the continued reduction in alcohol consumption in the UK (yes, it’s true, and it’s partly driven by Millennials’ lessened thirst for booze) the country is a leader in terms of sales made online – having the highest level among European consumers. Recent research from Profitero shows that 21% of consumers in the UK have…

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   Retail Insider held its latest Evening Drinks Event in London with two leading players from the technology end of fashion retailing giving their insights on the industry and how it continues to change through ongoing innovation. Andrew Robb, COO of Farfetch, and Jonathan Wall, group e-commerce director of Shop Direct, took part in a…

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Retail Insider is proud to launch its inaugural ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards in 2017. The aim of the awards is to showcase the best examples of innovation across the sector and we would like to invite relevant organisations to apply to be shortlisted in the relevant categories. If you wish to nominate for an award all…

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Online shopping continues to disrupt the retail sector. While in-store sales still make up the majority of revenue for retailers, traditional brick and mortar stores have been struggling to keep up with the pace of change as more shoppers turn to the internet for their shopping trips. However, new-technologies are beginning to now disrupt the…

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It is somewhat ironic that in the early days of the internet fashion was regarded as one of the categories that were not expected to make the move online. Apparently shoppers were too wedded to the idea of touching, feeling, and trying on goods. Or so the theory went. Try telling that to the clothing…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Abdul Alim, co-founder, OfferMoments, which is placed at number 40 in the report. 1.How did the original idea come…

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The retail industry has a great capacity to devise descriptive terms that should never see the light of day. Retailtainment and omni-channel are two such terms that really should have been consigned straight to the bin. A similar thought occurred to me when I came across a new term – grocerant. I guess you’ve worked…

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Name: Rapha Racing The Place: 13 units globally right now, but they’re nothing if not ambitious at Rapha and want to get up to 20 by the end of the year and then keep that growth level up each year. Crikey. The Story: This is really a tale of a biking gear brand not primarily…

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The Screen on the Green is a cinema in North London that has a majestic history, having played host to some thought-provoking bands. It is also the location for the Future of Food & Beverage’ seminar hosted by Portland. Retail Insider has long been an advocate of the theory that the leisure and retail industries…

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Trust is a big issue for large UK retailers at the moment. From rising food prices post-Brexit to the #StopFundingHate campaign, customers’ trust seems to be under constant pressure. Retailers know if they lose the battle for trust, their market share will slide. The latest research from Mettle measures customer trust in some of the…

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Shopping mall operators in the US are proving an interesting investment opportunity for some of the country’s hedge funds who see them as worthy of their attention. But don’t think this is because they view them as growth stories whose values will increase. It is the complete opposite. They are placing bets on expectations that…

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Sara Prowse, CEO, Hotter Shoes 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? International expansion, with continued growth in the US in particular. We are approaching this opportunity in two ways: through digital expansion; and through retail partnerships. 2. What is the biggest challenge to your business? External pressures. Consumer confidence is likely to…

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On budget day this week Alex Baldock, CEO of Shop Direct, gave a super presentation at Retail Week Live on the beauty of operating as a pure play retailer unencumbered by the hassle of operating high street shops. He did not refer to business rates specifically but there is no doubt that they are proving…

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For the first time in a decade H&M has made changes to the guidance it gives investors on its expectations for future performance. It is to now focus on achieving 10-15% growth in total sales each year rather than on the long established aim of a 10-15% increase in physical store openings each year. This…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Simon Harrow, co-founder of Elevaate, which is placed at number 25 in the report.   1.Where did the original…

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Retail Insider held its first Breakfast Event of 2017 with Ewan Venters, CEO of Fortnum & Mason, who highlighted how the 310-year-old iconic retailing brand has never been stronger following a raft of initiatives over the past few years. Since taking on the CEO role in 2012 he says he has sought to both recognise…

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Name: The Unlimited Company. The Place: 14 stores currently spread around the UK fairly evenly and an increasing online presence too. The Story: You have to have your wits about you when you shop here. How so? If you visit a store in Norwich you are looking for the sign that says ‘Simply Health Independent…

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Clare Johnston, joint-CEO, The Up Group 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The Up Group is Europe’s leading digital executive search and networking firm, finding exceptional talent for companies across the growth curve. Our clients are fast-growing pure-play businesses and more established multi-channel organisations undergoing transformational change, and they all increasingly require…

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Ebay was a real pioneer when it emerged on the scene in 1995. Not so much because it provided a platform for people to buy and sell goods but because of its ingenious ratings system. It’s clever and very simple self-policing mechanism for buyers and sellers to rate each other was the gem that eBay…

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If I had a pound for every time I’d heard businesses talk about simplifying their customers’ experience! Well, if they had managed to deliver on this not-so-straightforward objective then they would have been able to grab more than a few quid. Apparently, a slice of a massive $86billion would have been up for grabs. That…

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Name: Long Tall Sally The Place: Well, as you’re asking so nicely there are 10 stores in the UK, five in Germany, four in the US, and seven in Canada. As well as a big online presence of course. The Story: Back in the mists of time, well 1976 actually, an American called Judy Rich,…

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We all know you cannot walk along a high street or venture into a shopping centre without tripping over branded coffee bars. And just when you thought we must be close to reaching saturation point, think again. The UK branded coffee shop segment is set to reach to 9,400 outlets and hit £6 billion of…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Henry Harris-Burland, marketing manager, Starship Technologies, which is placed at number 47 in the report. 1.How did the original…

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David Lloyd, Director, Alibaba Group UK 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Digital technology is creating something close to a borderless world, opening up new markets and new customer groups for the first time. As an e-commerce company, our biggest opportunity is bringing those new customer groups online and introducing brands to…

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School can be a nightmare and one of the worst anybody can suffer is to be the last person to be picked when the selections are made for sporting teams. And let’s not even go near the potential embarrassment of being left on the sidelines of school dances/discos/proms. While being left out can be a…

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Name: The Library of Things The Place: So far one outlet based in Norwood – which is sarf London to you. And all neatly enclosed in one shipping container.   The Story: You know those weekends when you wake up and say to yourself: “This weekend I am going to learn how to play the ukulele?”…

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Regardless of how smart and glitzy some shopping malls are on the inside, the exteriors of pretty much all such structures resemble unsightly aircraft hangers with few redeeming features. In contrast, the beautiful buildings that house the stores, and the surrounding landscaped gardens, are key components that set Kilver Court Designer Outlet Village in Somerset…

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Virginie Charlès-Dear, founder, Toucan Box 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Our biggest opportunity is to be able to deliver outstanding products to our customers. We use technology and personalisation to create hands-on creative arts and crafts projects, today focusing on children aged three-to-eight years-old and in the future developing to other age…

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One of the big trends among Millennials is the embracing of a mentality of renting goods rather than purchasing them outright – hence the growth in market leaders like Rent the Runway. The obvious assumption here is that these organisations will take sales away from traditional retailers. This is not entirely correct. Hence the counter-intuitive…

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The CEO of home-wares retailer Dunelm Group, John Browett, certainly has plenty of digital credibility – dating back to his days running the online business of Tesco in 1999 and then on to turning around the troubled Dixons business as it grappled with, and then embraced, the internet. His ease playing across multiple channels was…

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The Name: Enclothed The Place: The office is in Islington while the warehouse is in deepest Berkshire, well Slough actually. The Story: This is a tale of men, pants and a reinvention of the way males shop through the subscription model. Crikey. You’d better start: Three years ago two young women decided that it was…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&As with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Ricardo Silva, chief marketing officer of wiiGO, which is placed at number 7 in the report’s International Innovations table.…

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Benjy Meyer, founder, VenueScanner 1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The UK market for events is valued at over £50 billion annually and there is very limited consolidation in the market. The current experience for discovering, comparing and booking venues and associated event services is not designed in a user-friendly way. It’s a…

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Life is not getting any easier for store-based retailers as the online specialists continue to outspend them with their larger IT budgets, which will likely put greater power in the hands of these smaller operators as they continue to commit more capital to new technologies. According to the new Martec International report (IT in Retail…

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One of the UK’s great institutions was celebrated this week, with the announcement of the winner of the award for Britain’s Best Cafe of 2016, which was decided by the voting of thousands of cafe-goers around the country. At a lunch in the City of London the Super Sausage Cafe of Potterspury, near Milton Keynes,…

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Home delivery is not exactly the most profitable aspect of any traditional retailers’ business but it does seem that merchants are not exactly helping themselves when it comes to managing this profit-draining service. The biggest issue is the continued stance of virtually all retailers to treat every customer exactly the same. They are clearly not…

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What was particularly interesting about the recent Wired Retail event was that it highlighted how newer technologies and thinking are taking apart some of the beliefs that the earlier digital developments put in place. For instance, Randy Dean, chief business officer at Sentient Technologies, argues that with the advent of AI (artificial intelligence) the incumbent…

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Mattresses are an odd thing. Living in a relatively urban location in north London discarded mattresses are a regular sight on street corners, which has always seemed rather strange. My household does not go through them at quite the same cracking rate as others. Whatever the circumstances behind this apparent rapid turnover in mattresses –…

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Ross Bailey, founder, Appear Here  1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business? If you look at what companies like Airbnb and Uber have done to the travel and hospitality sectors, I believe Appear Here has the potential to bring as much disruption to the retail industry. Lease lengths are falling dramatically, and retailers are…

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Talk about a polarised view – the physical store seems to either be a millstone around the neck of some retailers whereas for others with a predominantly online presence there is desperation to get some exposure to good old bricks and mortar. Amazon seems to be on the cusp of opening convenience stores – up…

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The Name: Metro Bank. The Place: The first one opened in Holborn, London, in 2010 and there are now 42 branches in the UK with the pretty hefty aim of opening one a month for the next five years, which makes a grand total of… a jolly big number. The Story: Shiny, shiny, shiny. Metro…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&As with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Vincent McKevitt, founder, Tossed, that is placed at number 13 in the report. 1. How did the original idea…

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It seems that we might now be well and truly entering the era of the data and digital analyst in the retail industry. Recent research from OC&C Strategy Consultants found that 60,000 new digital and analytical roles will be urgently required by 2020 in the fashion industry alone. This is a big number and highlights…

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The first Retail Insider Innovative Retailer Top 25 report has launched with the objective of shining a light on the most innovative retail businesses that are proving great inspirations to the rest of the industry. Sponsored by PCMS Group it highlights retailers from across the board – from the youngest of operators right the way…

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If I told you that luxury house builders are beginning to reduce the size of the rooms in some of their latest developments in London you might think so what? But this move is indicative of the change in the way a growing number of people are living and as a result retailers should take…

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The Name: Starbucks The Place: Well, obviously the whole universe is bloomin’ full of them, around 24,000 stores spread all over the world. The Story: Let’s pretend I am a hipster. This might take some time: What do I think when I see yet another Starbucks in front of me? Hang on, I’m still envisioning:…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&As with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Ger O’Meara, founder, Photospire, that is placed at number 35 in the report.   1. How did the original…

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Retail Insider celebrated the launch of the Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100 report with an evening event involving the CEO of a leading online retailer and a tutored craft beer tasting. The event at Sourced Market Marylebone attracted senior executives from a variety of retailers including John Lewis, House of Fraser and Reiss…

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Senior Apple executive Angela Ahrendts sits atop the ‘Retail Insider Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report for the second year running as the 2016 version celebrates the achievements of retailers leading the digital transformation of the industry. [Link to the 2016 Movers & Shakers Report] The annual report, sponsored by K3 Retail, this…

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The Name: Pro Direct The Place: Basically an online family business based in Devon with 350 staff and a big warehouse. But also boasting one stupendous shop in Carnaby Street, W1. The Story: Ah, websites and shops. How to integrate them. One of the great retail questions of the day. Is it? Yes. Often there…

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As B&M casts its eye over the former BHS stores, with a view to further growing its presence in the UK, it highlights how the bargain stores are taking an ever greater slice of shoppers’ cash at the expense of others in the retail sector. According to Nielsen, British shoppers spent nearly £5 billion at…

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Luxury brands need to initiate more collaborations with relevant partners if they are to successfully navigate the increasingly digitally-led marketplace over the next few years. This is a trend identified  in research undertaken by WGSN for luxury brand alliance Walpole According to the survey – ‘How to Attract the Luxury Consumer in 2020’ – of…

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Who has heard of The Fine Cheese Co.? Now, I’m betting that if you don’t live in Bath or London’s smart Belgravia then it is unlikely you will have come across this retailer. And that is probably just the way the landlord of its shop in the capital likes it. How about Traders or Pavilion…

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Jon Owen, CEO, Ribble Cycles 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? At Ribble Cycles, we want to make it easy and enjoyable to build and buy a fantastic, customised bike online; avoiding the costs and hassle of the traditional store retail model, while delivering personalisation that stores can only dream of. The…

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Asos, Boohoo, Missguided, and Shop Direct are just a few of the online-only fashion retailers that are continuing to deliver outsized like-for-like sales increases. Leader of the pack Asos delivered a leap in sales of 30% for the four months to June compared with the same period last year and Boohoo’s recent numbers have been…

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The Name: Sue Ryder The Place: 455 charity shops all over the country The Story: If I say to you “charity shop” what’s the first word that comes into your head? Musty: Right, how about “donations”? Waterfalls. What? Those weird pictures of waterfalls they always have. Or highland cows: Okay. Now how about “Sue Ryder”?…

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BEERmerchants.com has stormed up the table of the Top UK drinks websites in July, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse, as it delivers the most improved performance this month. It’s strong improvement, which has seen it climb 14 places to eighth spot in the table with a score of…

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Matt Truman, CEO, True Capital 1.What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? There is a fundamental lack of growth in the retail industry but we are investing in disruptive businesses. There is a step-change in the value proposition for customers and the incumbents cannot compete. Take ‘Tyres On The…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2016 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) on July 6 a series of Q&As with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with  André Hordagoda, co-founder of GoInStore that is placed at number 23 in the report.…

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Newly opened The Fine Cheese Co. store in London’s ultra smart Belgravia typifies the flexible retail formats that are becoming increasingly visible on high streets across the UK and not just those in the country’s flashier enclaves. It focuses mainly on cheese – as its name rather obviously suggests – but as well as selling …

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Margins on online sales are of significant concern to retailers because compared with selling via stores the delivery of goods to the home and via Click & Collect are somewhat slimmer. Profitability via non-store channels is a sensitive and problematic issue and one of the key components of this are returns, which are the bane…

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Brian McBride, chairman of Asos and Wiggle 1. What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? I think every e-commerce business has the same phenomenal opportunity as we can clearly see the percentage of the retail market served by online rising inexorably daily, weekly, and monthly. If we perform averagely…

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Retail Insider celebrated the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations Report 2016 with an evening event involving influential guest speakers and a tutored wine tasting along with a few additional surprises. The event and report, both sponsored by Webloyalty, attracted senior executives from a variety of retailers who enjoyed a first view of the report,…

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As the customer experience in-store becomes so much more than just about flogging goods to anybody who crosses the threshold there is a need for different ways of measuring performance. Retailers are now starting to incorporate much more technology in-store including tablets and smarter Point-of-Sale devices for rich ‘clientelling’ activity that can massively enhance the…

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Finding the Movers & Shakers of 2016 in the digital space is firmly underway following the completion of the Advisory Panel morning this week that sits to deliberate who the most impressive people are in the UK. They are helping find the most impressive individuals who will take their place in the Retail Insider Movers…

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Distinguishing between retailers successfully navigating the digital world and those failing to acclimatise to the revolutionary change now taking place around them can be quite tough when you are on the outside. What might make this task easier is if we took it as a given that retailers who successfully operate airport stores are much…

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The ‘Digital Retail Innovations Report 2016’ has launched with Amazon commandeering the top end of the table with three innovations listed in the top 10 places. To access the report please click on the link below: Digital-Innovations-Report-2016 This year’s report, sponsored by Webloyalty, includes the Top 50 innovations in the UK and Ireland so it…

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The Name: Kochhaus The Place: Various affluent and cosmopolitan cities in Germany, but it all started in Berlin which now has three branches The Story: Have you ever come across a concept so simple that you thought ‘That’s not an innovation, there must be loads of people doing that already’? I certainly have: Well, you…

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Ahead of the launch of the ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report 2016 (sponsored by Webloyalty) on July 6 here is one of a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key digitally-driven innovations in the retail industry. (Click here to view 2015 report) Q&A with Gil Hazan, MD…

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Almost three-quarters (73%) of shoppers would switch to another retailer if they suffered a poor experience when buying goods online, according to findings from JDA/Centiro in the Customer Pulse 2016 report. What makes this worse is the fact that over half (53%) of consumers had actually experienced a disappointing experience when buying goods over the…

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Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event with Craig Inglis, customer director at John Lewis, the man behind the company’s phenomenally successful Christmas advertising campaigns. He recalled joining John Lewis in 2008 and focusing on developing the emotional connection between the company and its customers. After a couple of forays he found his stride with…

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Since technology has traditionally been used to drive efficiency gains in businesses it is not surprising that it has been given the task of personalising the online experience customers receive – whether that is through tailored landing pages or the delivery of more bespoke search results. But great care has to be taken because relying…

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Neil Sansom, chief executive of Woolovers 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Increasing the brands awareness as we are very much an unknown but have very loyal customers once they experience our product and service. 2. What is the biggest challenge to your business? We’re changing our IT infrastructure over the next…

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  Neil Sansom, chief executive of Woolovers 1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Increasing the brands awareness as we are very much an unknown but have very loyal customers once they experience our product and service. 2.What is the biggest challenge to your business? We’re changing our IT infrastructure over the next 12…

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There’s a great yarn to be told about a woollen sweater retailer that’s set to jumper ahead of the competition. Okay, that’s enough, you’ve no doubt heard far too much pun-laden writing and the fact is it is not exactly clever so there will be no more of it in this piece. Woollen uppers specialist…

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Inditex has long led the race for efficiency in the supply chain, with its Zara fashion chain the global exemplar in managing stock, and one of the key tools in its armoury is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Whereas most other retailers have not bothered utilising the technology there is a growing acknowledgment that as the…

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