In-home is where it’s at

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, president of techUK and non-executive director & advisor

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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Retailers have lots of learn from the restaurant experience

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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Volume is what most brands really value

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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Innovative Retailer – Birchbox

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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Secondary Siberia dining rooms

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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Retail employment revolution

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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Brits have a lot to live up to when it comes to service style

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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Thoughts from NRF in New York City

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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Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations Q&A – GoInStore

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – OLIO

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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Innovative Retailer – Clutter

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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David Bruce and the next-generation brewpubs

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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Ready meals facing pressure from home delivery?

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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Innovative Retailer – Stowga

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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Small is beautiful

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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Less stuff and more experience

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Simon Calver, partner, BGF Ventures

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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Food & beverage dropping anchor in retail developments

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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Retail industry thinking catching up with Unpackaged

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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Innovative Retailer – Elvis & Kresse

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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IKEA hops aboard the service trend

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Tony Mannix, CEO of Clipper Logistics

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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Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations Q&A – Inamo

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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Consumers no longer beholden to the car

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Blue Yonder

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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Innovative Retailer – SweetGreen

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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Issues with showroom stores

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Edwina Dunn, CEO of Starcount

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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Launch of Retail Insider ‘Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations Top 20 Report’

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 are all about the churn

  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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Retail Insider Announces Winners of First ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards

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 Breakfast and Launch of Movers & Shakers Top 100 report

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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‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ 2017 Report Launched

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 Technology Investment Trends

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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Satisfying demand for instant gratification

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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Innovative Retailer – Sephora

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 needs to avoid Kodak comparison

  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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Emma Heal, MD for UK Retail at Graze

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 ‘Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report launch video

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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Big fashion brands can learn a lot from upstarts

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 ‘Transforming Retail Awards 2017’ shortlist announced

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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Addressing structural changes in interior design industry

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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Voice-enabled technology finds its voice

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Pixoneye

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Colin Porter, CEO of Joules

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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Securing the future with vertical integration

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Doug McCallum, chairman of PhotoBox and Trainline, and non-executive director of Ocado

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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Recognising benefits of Direct to consumer

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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Digital Retail Innovations Top 50 report launch event

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 dominates Digital Retail Innovations Top 50 report

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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Innovative Retailer – Reformation

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 Breakfast – Michael Ward, MD, Harrods

    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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Stores need to be constantly reinvented

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Steve Baggi, co-founder of Green Park and leader of its Retail and Consumer Practice

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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Innovative Retailer – Stew Leonard’s

  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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Shoppers’ continued need for speed

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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The Bottle Shop revolutionising the beer supply chain

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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Humans and robots or humans versus robots?

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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Innovative Retailer – Depop

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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UK’s serious thirst for alcohol online

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 Drinks Event with Jonathan Wall, group e-commerce director of Shop Direct + Andrew Robb, COO of Farfetch

   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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Launch of ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards 2017

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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Retail Innovation: What the future holds for brick and mortar stores

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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Differentiation is real definition of success

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – OfferMoments

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 rise and hopeful demise of ‘grocerant’

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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Innovative Retailer – Rapha Racing

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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Screen on the Green presents Future of F&B

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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Which retailers do you trust?

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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Polarisation of shopping malls continues

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Sara Prowse, CEO, Hotter Shoes

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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Budget 2017 – far from a multi-channel affair

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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Short term pain for long term gain

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Elevaate

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 Breakfast – Ewan Venters, CEO, Fortnum & Mason

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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Innovative Retailer – The Unlimited Company

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Clare Johnston, joint-CEO, The Up Group

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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Marketplaces lose some of their seamless experience

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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The high value of simplicity

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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Innovative Retailer – Long Tall Sally

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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Move over coffee, tea is back in town

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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Movers & Shakers Q& A – David Lloyd, director, Alibaba Group UK

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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Retailers must avoid alienating the ‘un-cool kids’

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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Innovative Retailer – Library of Things

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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Reimagining the shopping mall

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Virginie Charlès-Dear, founder, Toucan Box

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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Fashion rental firms not the threat many retailers envisaged

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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Dunelm makes serious digital play

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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Innovative Retailer – Enclothed

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – wiiGO

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Benjy Meyer, founder of VenueScanner

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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IT challenges grow for established retailers

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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Super Sausage Cafe wins Britain’s Best Cafe Award

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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Retailers need more intelligent delivery strategies

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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New quickly becomes old with retail technology and business mindsets

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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Sleepy mattress market wakes up

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Ross Bailey, founder, Appear Here

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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Love them or loathe them, retailers can’t live without stores

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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Innovative Retailer – Metro Bank

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Tossed

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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Entering the era of the data analyst and number cruncher

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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Innovative Retailers Top 25 Report launched

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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Changing living styles impacting on retail sector

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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Innovative Retailer – Starbucks

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Photospire

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 ‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report launch with Simon Belsham, CEO of Notonthehighstreet.com

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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‘Movers & Shakers in Retail’ 2016 report launches

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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Innovative Retailer – Pro Direct

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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Bargain stores – low prices, big ambitions

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 line up collaborations

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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Landlords hungry for independents

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Jon Owen, CEO of Ribble Cycles

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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Primark and Asos moving to the ideal retail model. Or not?

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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Innovative Retailer – Sue Ryder

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 most improved UK online drinks retail website in July

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Matt Truman, CEO of True Capital

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – GoInStore

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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Variety keeps The Fine Cheese Co. nicely maturing

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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More intelligent returns management needed

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Brian McBride, chairman of Asos and Wiggle

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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Digital Retail Innovations report launch event

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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Time to introduce new metrics in-store

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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Search for Digital Movers & Shakers 2016 underway

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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Airport retailers on different digital plane

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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Digital Retail Innovations Report 2016 launched

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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Innovative Retailer – Kochhaus

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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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – MyCheck

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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Poor online service will ultimately kill the worst offending retailers

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 Breakfast – Craig Inglis, customer director of John Lewis

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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Technology must be used intelligently for personalisation

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Neil Sansom, CEO of Woolovers

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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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Neil Sansom, CEO of Woolovers

  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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Revolution taking place at Woolovers

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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Take a leaf out of Inditex playbook with RFID

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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Innovative Retailer – Unmade

  The Name: Unmade The Place: Although the lovely Somerset House in London WC2 is where the office is based this is mainly an online retailer at present. And it has had a pop-up store in Selfridges for a brief stint. The fact is to be honest they’d rather not be a retailer at all,…

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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – yReceipts

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 Alexander Kayser, co-founder…

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Retail Insider Breakfast – David Buttress, CEO of Just Eat

Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event with David Buttress, CEO of digital marketplace for take-away food Just Eat, who told the story of how the first month the UK business accrued only £34 of revenue while today it brings in £350 million across its various markets. It is also a tale of how the…

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Amazon trying fashion for size

Amazon is undoubtedly a threat to all parts of the retail industry. Whichever part of the sector it turns its gaze on will inevitably come under pressure and right now it has fashion firmly in its sights. To this end it has invested in an extensive photo studio and appointed fashion writing specialists that have…

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Innovative Retailer – Zara

The Name: Zara The Place: All over the world pretty much, with more than 2,000 shops in just about any place where young women own bank cards. Actually there is a menswear line too so the other half of the population is also catered for. The Story:  Founded in 1975 by one fashion-loving Spaniard Amancio…

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Ultimate ‘Online Mystery Shopper’ service launching September

The table of the top online drinks retailers published each month by Retail Insider is to be re-launched in September as a ranking of the results from an ‘Online Mystery Shopper’ service provided by Sitemorse that will accurately reflect the experiences faced by customers online. It will be the ultimate authoritative measure of real customer…

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Poundland – breaking through the pound barrier

99p stores never had quite the same pedigree as Poundland so when the latter bought its cheaper-priced rival it was always going to be a tough task to bring things up to the required retailing standards. One of the achievements of the present management – led by the outgoing CEO Jim McCarthy – has been…

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Not yet a cashless society

Through the evolution of payment options from paper and coins to electronic methods, many have been quick to speculate the rise of a cashless society. The Cooperative supermarket’s recent report on consumer behaviour and spending predicted that by 2025 mobile payments will take over cash and card payments. Stalwart, the Royal Mint responded, defending cash…

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Retail Insider Beer Tasting Event – with Michael Durbridge, director of omni-channel at B&Q + Duncan Sambrook, founder of Sambrook’s Brewery

Retail Insider has held its latest event – combining a tutored Beer Tasting with Duncan Sambrook of Sambrook’s Brewery and a talk by Michael Durbridge, director of omni-channel at B&Q – that highlighted both the vibrancy of the UK beer scene and the opportunities for retailers from developing multi-channel propositions. Senior executives from John Lewis,…

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Digital Retail Innovations Q&A – Doddle

Ahead of the launch of the ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report 2016 (sponsored by Webloyalty) on July 6 here is the first in 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 Tim Robinson,…

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Innovative Retailer – Tossed

The Name: Tossed The Place: Around 26 units currently, including several in Dubai, and more than a handful located in Welcome Break stations around the UK.   The Story: So, shall we begin our tour of a very successful salad provider with more than a decade’s experience in the very competitive business of healthy eating.…

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We know about the Millennials but what about the seniors

All the talk is of the Millennials and how they are the group that every company has to attract. Yes, it is fair to say, they are the future and that retailers’ longevity will be inextricably linked to doing business with them – now, or in the future at some point when they mature. But…

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Fighting for digital expertise

Employment in the retail sector has been in the news over the past few weeks with the headlines highlighting the dramatic forecast that one million jobs will be lost from the industry by 2025. Whatever the ultimate figure, there is clearly going to be some big changes taking place – with the big driver digital.…

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UK department should take a leaf out of Nordstrom playbook

Upmarket US-based department store Nordstrom was founded in 1901 but it hasn’t lost its mojo and become the equivalent of UK TV’s sitcom store Grace Brothers from Are You Being Served?  Rather the opposite in fact as it has become the go-to store for cutting edge pure-play retailers looking to gain exposure to bricks and…

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Reductions in retail employment far from a done deal

Recent figures from the BRC predicting that the number of people employed in the retail sector will reduce from a present three million to nearer two million by 2025 paints a very worrying picture. In the same way that retailers are having to completely overhaul their IT infrastructures, they are also embarking on serious reinventions…

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Social media sceptics need to revisit their thinking

Retailers continue to grapple with social media. For every organisation that regards it as a distraction, there is one that fully embraces it and uses it as a key tool for engaging with customers. The former camp will argue that it is it is difficult to put forward a business case for committing serious resources…

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Revolution in retail employment

Online sales continue to grow at a fair clip – from a present base of 10-15% of total sales across the whole retail industry – and with this, the landscape for employment in the sector is at the early stages of a revolution. Until this point retailers have used rubber bands and sticky tape to…

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Retail Insider Breakfast – Anthony Fletcher, CEO of Graze

Retail Insider held its first Breakfast Event of 2016 with Anthony Fletcher, CEO of healthy snacks company Graze, who highlighted how data has been fundamental to the success of the business. Senior executives from Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Monsoon Acessorize and Amazon were among those who heard how the company was good at logistics…

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The day Venda tried to sue me out of my house

Watching Powa Technologies call in the administrators Deloitte last week was very sad but not necessarily that surprising to the market. In my opinion, even though its founder Dan Wagner had been claiming it was worth almost £2 billion a few months ago, his businesses suggest this was more about over-hyping than actual reality. The…

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CMA crack-down on unmarked sponsored content

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) publicly shamed five brands in February for suppressing negative reviews and not providing a ‘complete picture (for consumers) when making buying decisions’. The CMA renewed its commitment to ensure transparency in user generated content (UGC) in January, and is on the prowl for firms misrepresenting themselves on third-party sites…

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Innovative Retailer – Bloom & Wild

The Name: Bloom & Wild The Place: In your letterbox right now! Actually it’s an online business started in the Autumn of 2013 but letterboxes are going to figure highly, trust me. The Story: We’ve just had Valentine’s Day when Bloom & Wild were probably dealing with a lot of stressed and difficult people with…

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Small independent retailers need to embrace digital

Everybody likes Independent shops. Even those people who never cross the threshold of such businesses would undoubtedly say they are great fans of them if ever questioned in a survey about their shopping habits. What this says about surveys is that they have to be treated with a little dose of scepticism – some more…

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Time to think about artificial intelligence

Retail’s Big Show (organised by the National Retail Federation), aka NRF, in New York City each January is the big opportunity for IT suppliers from around the world to showcase their latest retail technologies. Most are simply the latest iterations of existing solutions and as such there are never many genuinely radical things on show…

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The Drink Shop climbs table of top UK online drinks retailers in January

Independent drinks retailer The Drink Main information about tadalafil Shop delivered the most improved online performance among the Top UK drinks websites in January, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse. Its strong performance took it into the top 10 as it moved up eight places with a score of…

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Innovative Retailer – Eataly

The Name: Eataly The Place: Well if you live in Italy or Japan you virtually can’t move for Eataly stores and there are around 30 globally – dotted about, one in Sao Paolo, one in Munich, one in Moscow. But none in the UK until a joint partnership opens in Selfridges later this year. Oh,…

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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Stan Laurent, group CEO, PhotoBox

Stan Laurent, group CEO, PhotoBox 1.What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The personalisation market is massive and is continuing to grow, with Europe alone believed to be worth £6-7 billion. We are only a £275 million business today, meaning that there is a huge amount to play for. As well as working hard…

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Complex issue of returns perplexing for fashion retailers

Reducing returns is an objective of every online fashion retailer and as the level of returned items is expected to outpace the growth in online sales the problem looks set to grow. But it would be a mistake to reduce returns at all costs as this would undoubtedly lose a retailer sales volumes. The fact…

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Food retailers ignore Millennials at your peril

Millennials are certainly a demographic grouping that secures its fair share of discussion in the retail industry as this 18 to 34-year-old age group has long been seen as attractive – based on their disposable income levels and the potential for merchants to grab them as future long-term loyal customers. Despite recognising their value, it…

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Critical evolution of Point-of-Sale

Not that long ago retail technology was predominantly about Point-of-Sale (PoS) but things changed dramatically following the earthquake known as the internet, which disrupted things dramatically and in its wake myriad new IT solutions hit the industry. But PoS solutions still remain at the heart of in-store activities. They just happen to have developed into…

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Retailers must up their game online or lose out to rivals

There’s a bloodthirsty battle going on for shoppers online and making the situation even more cut-throat is the fact that 77% of shoppers would be likely to switch to shopping with an alternative retailer next Christmas as a result of a poor online festive shopping experience. These are the findings from the second annual JDA/Centiro…

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Innovative Retailer – Great British Exchange

The Name: Great British Exchange The Place: Mainly online but also one showroom in Harrogate. The Story: Patriots arise! Your country needs you. I’m ready: I have a stuffed bulldog. Mmmm, not really the style I wanted. I’ve got Union Jack underwear. Too much information. I’m singing Rule Britannia. Again, it’s one way to show…

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Santa’s European delivery schedule is revealed

It’s that time of year again and with 45% of people stating they will do most of their Christmas shopping online, postal and carrier companies are going to have a bigger job than ever keeping up the pace to deliver gifts on time. But, across Europe, gift giving is far from identical and not just…

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Death by a thousand cuts for Daily Deals sites

Daily Deals websites have been a feature of online retail for some years. Pioneered by Groupon in the US this area quickly grew into a red hot part of the market as a host of me-too propositions appeared and wooed shoppers with this new way of buying. But it has gradually died a slow death.…

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