UK Retail

Customer Service Must Keep a Place for Paper

Christian Toon | Posted 14.04.2014 | UK Tech
Christian Toon

The Iron Mountain study revealed that over half (57 per cent) of firms do nothing with customer communications that arrive on paper. Instead, they wait until we grow sufficiently frustrated to phone or email to ask why nothing's happened, and only then do they act.

The Realities of Retail: 'This Is My Proper Job!'

Nola Chesworth | Posted 07.04.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Nola Chesworth

Working in retail doesn't make you uneducated or unambitious. Just because someone spends their day in a shop rather than an office, a classroom, a courtroom, a hospital, a museum, a library, or a lecture theatre doesn't mean they are incapable of working in any of these places, they have just chosen not to.

How Your High Street Can Be a Garden, a Promenade, and a Stage

Julian Dobson | Posted 03.04.2014 | UK
Julian Dobson

How can a town grow its own high street, with little or no help from outside? A century ago that would have been a strange question: every town's high street had grown more or less organically and was an expression of the industry and resources of the locality.

Business Rates Need More Localism

Dhruv Patel | Posted 31.03.2014 | UK
Dhruv Patel

I believe it is vital that the tasks of setting rates and reliefs, and deciding how to spend them are devolved to local and regional levels of government. This would give people a democratic say in which types of businesses they want to encourage and how the receipts are spent, allowing them to witness the resultant effect in their own, and neighbouring, areas.

Sainsbury's Suffers Shock Sales Slump

The Huffington Post UK/PA | Posted 18.03.2014 | UK

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's warned that the market is growing at its slowest pace for nearly a decade as it broke a nine-year run of underlying sale...

'No-Mates Rates' - Will BIS' Proposals Kickstart Radical Reform of the Business Rates System?

Darina Kerr | Posted 17.03.2014 | UK
Darina Kerr

Radical reform is needed and the BIS committee's review has much to recommend it. Now it's over to the Chancellor to show that the Coalition will support and implement reforms urgently.

Building the Super High Street

Mary Portas | Posted 13.03.2014 | UK
Mary Portas

Business is strongest is when it's face-to-face with customers and the beautiful products can be displayed physically in an alluring way. I regularly tell retailers who moan about the web to work out how to compete effectively instead. Innovators in top up grocery shopping, web purchase collection and so on, understand that the future is omni-channel and are making money. Grenson shows us how a perfect customer experience makes people feel special and gets them buying. And everybody please remember, you can't get your hair done, grab a quick drink when you fancy it, have your shoes mended, collect your prescription or dry cleaning quickly on the web (yet).

River Island Jumps on the Poverty Porn Bandwagon with Ridiculous T-Shirt

Sean O'Meara | Posted 13.03.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Sean O'Meara

Fictional American universities, generic sports teams, and punk bands that thrived three generations ago; these are the sort of things that should be on teenagers' t-shirts. So when fashion retailers try to elevate off-the-shelf edginess to silly new levels, you suddenly remember that it's idiotic adults who are in charge.

Tripping Up Trunki - What Every Design-Focussed Business Should Know

Ilya Kazi | Posted 06.03.2014 | UK
Ilya Kazi

Having taken on the 'Dragon's Den', been sent away penniless, and gone on to develop a multi-million pound internationally-successful business, there are few that would begrudge the Trunki suitcase inventor Rob Law his success.

How Massive Are John Lewis Staff Bonuses This Year?

The Huffington Post UK | Asa Bennett | Posted 06.03.2014 | UK

The John Lewis Partnership has announced that more than 90,000 staff are set to get a bonus worth 15% of salary from a pot of £202.5 million after th...

Is Having a 'Butchers' in the Window Really All That Bad?

Sam Wass | Posted 27.02.2014 | UK
Sam Wass

A butchers shop in Suffolk has removed hanging carcasses from its window display following a public letter campaign. While I empathise entirely with those who would rather not see "mutilated carcasses on display" this could be a watershed moment in the sanitising of meat marketing.

The iBeacon Opportunity - Are You Ready for Personalised In-store Mobile Messaging?

James Connelly | Posted 26.02.2014 | UK Tech
James Connelly

Smartphones are taking over the world. There are now more iPhones sold than babies born every day*. This is a pretty staggering statistic. There are more than a billion smartphones used globally and age is no barrier -- teens, adults and seniors are all well represented among their users.

Why Brands Must Communicate From the Shelf Out

Mark Artus | Posted 25.02.2014 | UK
Mark Artus

Consumers consistently tell us that brands should provide clearer messaging from the supermarket shelf outwards, rather than relying on marketing to drive sales. I fully agree and believe many brands simply aren't doing enough to capture consumer imagination where it matters most - in store.

Britain Is a Nation of Retail Workers

Xenios Thrasyvoulou | Posted 24.02.2014 | UK
Xenios Thrasyvoulou

An astonishing 2.7 million people now work in the UK's retail sector, making it by far the biggest 'employer'. Many are employed in local branches of supermarkets where staff numbers have been swelled in recent years by working mums lured by part-time hours and shift work offered.

Never Waste a Good Crisis

Mary Portas | Posted 21.02.2014 | UK
Mary Portas

With a lot of our rail infrastructure and most of Somerset under water, not to mention water levels continuing to rise across Britain it is fair to say we are in the midst of a national crisis. He might not be in the top ten list of people I love in retail, but when former Tesco CEO Terry Leahy spoke about the occasional difficulties brands have - from local service problems to major outage and inconvenience - his catchphrase was "never waste a good crisis". It stuck with me and comes to mind now; not least because I love a paradox. The idea of a major problem being an opportunity is a tough one for executives to grasp whilst it's all happening.

Are You a Bulimic Spender?

Mike Shaw | Posted 20.04.2014 | UK
Mike Shaw

'Bulimic' spenders -purchase only to rush back to the shops, guilt-stricken to return what they've bought, once they realise they can't afford it or that it's not actually going to give them the lifestyle they want. Although their 'reverse shopping' habit keeps their finances under control they expose themselves to high stress levels and feelings of self-loathing.

New Research Shows Why Retailers Must Harness Digital to Turn Off Shopper 'Auto-pilot'

Mark Artus | Posted 18.04.2014 | UK Tech
Mark Artus

This new era means that the customer is in total control and will treat standard operating procedures with disdain. Catalina's research shows retailers and brands alike must embrace this new dawn, innovate around these new digital enablers and create enjoyable, meaningful shopping experiences.

Where Did All the Small Shops Go?

Ruth Harrison Roberts | Posted 13.04.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Ruth Harrison Roberts

Where did my local boutique go - y'know the ones who sold clothes and not just a label, the ones who understood body shape, trends and how to wear them? I didn't see any upon my last trip home.

Are Small Retailers Leading the High Street Recovery?

Shingo Murakami | Posted 12.04.2014 | UK
Shingo Murakami

Today's shoppers are seeking a unique experience and by combining their local high street with popular shopping channels like mobile, we can continue to build support for independent retailers. That way they can not only lead the high street recovery, but succeed so that their retail sales are completely unquestionable.

Inconspicuous Branded Consumption Is the New Business Buzzword in Retail

Jonathan A.J. Wilson | Posted 07.04.2014 | UK
Jonathan A.J. Wilson

Previously, economists have coined the term the 'lipstick effect' to describe consumers' desire to increase their purchase of goods, like lipstick and chocolate, when faced with an economic or social crisis.

The Perks of Being a Sales Assistant

Jyo Fernandes | Posted 03.04.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Jyo Fernandes

In a previous chapter of my relatively short life, I imagined that sales assistants were super cool. These were the fashionable swans that glided fashionably around stores, chattering and laughing - an enviable occupation. Oh, how naïve I was...

Ocado Still Not Delivering A Profit

The Huffington Post UK | Asa Bennett | Posted 04.02.2014 | UK

Ocado, the online grocer, has revealed growing pre-tax losses and that one of its founders, Jason Gissing, will resign. The online retailer unveile...

Five Tips to Haggle a Discount

Sandi Mann | Posted 01.04.2014 | UK
Sandi Mann

Whilst traditionally, we Brits have always been wary of negotiating over cost, it seems that a minority of us are now cottoning onto something that psychologists have long known; that most things are negotiable.

Are Call Centre Jobs About To Become Far More Interesting?

Mark Hillary | Posted 24.03.2014 | UK
Mark Hillary

Maybe outsourcing isn't so bad after all? Brands wouldn't be able to offer the customer service that consumers expect if they didn't work with an expert in the business and it's also creating thousands of jobs that are just getting better and better. Don't knock it.

Mango - Where Does Straight Size Finish and Plus Size Start?

Rivkie Baum | Posted 21.03.2014 | UK Lifestyle
Rivkie Baum

So distraught were people at the mere idea that a 12 could be called something as offensive and damaging as plus that papers were filled with vitriol at the brand for such blatant irresponsibility. Well I hate to break it to you but I'm not hugely disappointed, angry or shocked at Mango for this.