My professional clients
I have been blessed with such a variety of clients. From established businesses, consumer brands and ‘household names,’ to retail start-ups and the ‘accidental retailers’ where retail was never their initial purpose, but for whom it became an important source of revenue. I have supported and grown my clients’ expertise across many disciplines from brand proposition & product assortment, to customer experiences, physical shops, e-commerce, & digital retailing. Some of our relationships have spanned just a few days, whilst others have evolved over several years. But the core aims behind all of these collaborations remain the same for every new client project. To make every team member and colleague a ‘better’ retailer, and to leave a permanent and positive legacy in every business.
Primark, Walgreens, Ferrari, Adidas, AllSaints, Luxottica, Ray-Ban, Nespresso, Bata, Halfords, Carrefour, Max&Co, Camper, Jack Jones…Marks & Spencer, Boots, Cortefiel, Springfield, Sainsbury, Continente, Sonae, Zippy, Otto Versand, BonPrix, World Duty Free, Sprinter, La Caixa, National Geographic…
Real Madrid, KappAhl, Flex, Latteria Soresina, Gruppo Vestebene, Alessi, Eroski, Gruppo Coin, OVS, Carrera, Aena, Heatons, Bally, Portaventura, Sony…Human Milk, Clarks, Benetton, Imaginarium, Dublin City Council, Porcelanosa, Northumbria University, Bialetti, Max Mara Group, and Baltika.
You can find selected client case studies & anecdotes further down this page. Or just click on the links above…
How did I work with these clients?
My consultancy projects are always highly collaborative. It is the combination of myself and the internal client team that defines the issues, identifies the opportunities, devises the solutions, and develops the project deliverables.
My solutions are cost-effective, bring few external resources, incur small consultancy fees, but leave a lasting legacy of new skills and understanding within the client team.
- We ask the important & sometimes difficult questions about processes, operations and resources.
- We scrutinise the brand philosophy, culture, aims, and responsibilities.
- We analyse the relevant performance KPIs.
- We benchmark everything about the client with their competitors, and their markets.
- We identify opportunities.
- We introduce best practice from many sectors.
- We introduce ‘new’ retail thinking.
I recommend on what you need to do to improve, and to achieve your objectives, and other opportunities.
- We work together, we develop & deliver.
- We improve the financial performance, and the human experience KPIs
Listen to Tim Radley explain the importance of using every project, new initiative, and impact activity, to add value to your brand proposition and perception. This is essential to maintain and grow sales & revenue from your customer community.
Every consultancy project is created and developed for each client’s specific needs and requests.
The scope, timing, resources and process is agreed after an initial discussion process.
To have that first discussion, email me at email@example.com
Every project is a story. Every story is unique.
I’d like to share a few of them with you…
UK & Spain
Our paths have crossed several times. And whilst Primark is still perceived by many, incorrectly as a pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap retailer, in reality it has developed some sophisticated processes and shops, alongside the undoubted strength of lowest prices.
In Spain, where it took a very strong foot-hold, very quickly, I collaborated in developing its visual merchandising function. Spain led the business. The showcase department was lingerie, beautiful with its shiny mannequins, and excellent display packaging.
If you are in Madrid visit the flagship shop in Gran Via – European Fashion Store of the year.
I’ve also analysed shop operations in the UK, to identify processes that could be adapted and improved to gain more efficiencies, create more customer facing assortments, react dynamically to sales patterns, replenish faster to reduce out-of-stocks and improve performance KPIs.
It is ironic that whilst retailers chase the latest technology, the answers can be much closer to home, much simpler and cheaper to activate.
Primark’s floor managers are critical. They monitor shop floor sales and re-order daily the best sellers from the central DC.
In reality the floor managers from the best selling departments, were the last to get to the in-store computers. The problem…not enough terminals, only available on a first come basis. The result was best sellers were ordered by slow selling stores, best selling stores were starved of them. An enormous amount of sales were lost.
Sometimes IT departments, for example, need to really get the basics correct before chasing the moon!
I met Walgreens having worked with Boots for many years.
They have over 9,000 drugstores, were in the process of re-designing them, and desperately needed to know how the customer shopped the stores.
We worked using video analytics, installed in several test stores. I got to understand many things about how the customer moved around and interacted with the space.
My recommendations helped to define new store layouts, assortment distribution & adjacencies, product display & graphic communication, staffing levels and allocation, service locations, and queue management.
This led to improvements in shopper dwell time, store exploration, product touch and conversion, and average transaction values.
The important thing is that to understand people you need to talk to people.
I made an important shift in the project from just hours of staring at screens and analysing video data, to hours of being in shops, interviewing shop teams, watching and following customers, and asking them questions.
They were curious and happy to help. Working with technology & people together gave us the answers
Back to top of the page…
Peru & Chile
My first work with Adidas was creative. In Stockholm & Hamburg helping to develop the VM for the first ever wave of Adidas Original DTC stores.
In contrast, I also spent a fascinating time in South America with the country teams. The problems related to underperformance of the brands shop-in-shops in the essential department stores, critical in these countries.
Again by visiting the shops, talking to all relevant parties, researching customers, we were able to isolate the issues and put in place much better processes and internal communications
The lesson for me was, ‘don’t be a spreadsheet retailer!’
Whilst things may look as planned in Excel, the reality shows that it’s the qualitative aspects of retailing that the customer experiences, which make the commercial difference.
The customer doesn’t buy spreadsheet data, they buy beautiful products. Add product photos to your Excel. That’s a good start.
Halfords is the leading auto & cycle retailer across the UK, with shops in 750 locations.
It has gradually evolved its proposition with the addition of services, advice, repairs, MOTS under a digital umbrella to create seamless customer experiences across its shop formats, autocentres, and mobile repair vans.
It was exciting for me to help in the re-design of their new concept superstores, with expanded service areas, customer hubs, product demonstration areas, showcase visual displays and an innovative new approach to visual merchandising.
Traditionally a new shop concept is trialed across several different locations.
Halfords understood the importance of delivering an omni-channel solution in every location. It therefore took the bold but totally sensible decision to trial new format concepts all together in one location, and to join them up.
A superstore, services hub, repair autocentre, mobile repair vans and localised digital channels & social media.
How smart was that?
Uruguay & Latin America
Workshops are a fantastic way to bring colleagues together, and to introduce the tools and the channels for them to express themselves, to inspire each other and to be the catalyst for change.
I’ve carried out many 2 day workshops. The Jack Jones one was special. It was initiated and stimulated by an innovative young leader, it included colleagues from head office departments and from shop teams, and it cut across the Jack Jones, Only and Vero Moda Bestseller brands.
Our exercises stimulated discussions, hands-on activities generated new ideas. The output was a prioritised list of actions for team structure, responsibilities and processes to allow the business to operate in a more dynamic, interactive and commercial way.
Keep your eyes open and you can quickly see how an organisation is structured.
The canteens and cafes on offer are a good starting point.
The most extreme situation I witnessed had 5 different canteens & restaurants, each of which was on a higher floor of the offices, each of which offered more advanced cuisine, and each of which was only open to specific levels of job importance.
From packaged sandwiches to waitor service, this strict hierarchy made project team building and open discussions very difficult.
Italy & Europe
We all have a Bialetti. It’s the hexagonal, aluminium coffee maker that you place on your hob. They are located in a beautiful area of Northern Italy at the foothills of the Alps.
Traditionally Bialetti sold through wholesale and third-party retailers. Their customers were their retailers. However, for many reasons it makes increasing commercial sense for brands and manufacturers like Bialetti to sell directly to customers, through their own physical shops and channels.
But for any business to do this they are going to need a lot of help to get things right. It is not just about finding locations, building shops, employing staff and filling them with products.
You need to deliver unique customer experiences, you must develop the flavour of your brand, build personal customer relationships, and get to know your customer better than you ever thought possible.
Changing mind-sets is always a priority in any piece of work. ‘We have always done it this way…’ is a strong signal that change will be a mental process, as much as anything physical.
From the top to the bottom of a brand or manufacturing business, individuals need to change their way of thinking. They need to put the final customer first, and to prioritise the end-user as that customer.
Sometimes employees on the shop floor find this easier to do. For example, in Bialetti, when you have spent 30 years roasting coffee beans to get the perfect flavour, then you understand who your customer is!
UK & Ireland
Boots is the leading health & beauty retailer in the UK with over 2,000 shops. It is said that 85% of the population is within a 10 minute journey from a Boots.
Their location strategy is continually updated with catchment data, demographic trends, and changes to local competitor and population maps.
I helped to deliver a strategy for the delivery of Christmas, Summer and other commercial events, across the portfolio.
To do this it was essential to understand the customer communities around those 2000 shops, their shopping preferences and what they want from Boots during seasonal campaigns…product ranges, shop layouts, shop windows, local promotions, services, decor, atmosphere, in-store events & omni-channel presence.
Never stop watching customers.
The thing about data is that it tells you what is happening. However, it won’t tell you what could happen if things were done differently, and what those different things need to be.
I learnt that there is essential & rich knowledge to be gained only by visiting stores, talking to staff and watching customers.
Watching outside the shop tells you if locations are correct, and how to drive more footfall whatever that situation.
Watching inside tells you how to layout a shop, plan navigation and locate key departments & events to convert that footfall into sales.
Italy & Europe
Latteria Soresina is one of the biggest cheese producers in Italy, specialising, and renowned for Grana Padano.
The business is vertically integrated as a cooperative of dairy farmers. Every farmer is governed by a strict sustainability policy where the cows graze in organically managed pastures.
Like many producer bands, Latteria Soresina is evolving into a DTC business where it intends to sell through its own shops and cafes, website and sustainable partners.
Key to its proposition is sustainability at every level. This requires the application of strict regulations across all of its partners, collaborators and acquisitions, the building and management of its shops, down to distribution methods, packaging and its involvement in improving local communities.
It is fascinating to see how employees are now playing a major role, and becoming a major influence, in how the business they work for has to behave, both ethically and sustainably.
I’ve seen a major shift in this. There is now no hiding place, no room for ‘greenwashing’ by senior executives. They need to be genuine with their colleagues as much as with their customers.
The sustainability of a brand is increasingly important to many employees I have spoken to, and will be a determining factor in whom they want to work for in the future.
Mallorca & Europe
Camper became very successful and very famous when they developed the ‘Pelotas.’
However as with many similar brands, the steps to maximising those initial successes, to replicating them, and scaling them out to as many customers as possible, is not so easy.
It takes an experienced team to work through the ‘gritty essentials’ of retailing with a business.
Organisational structures and functions need to be correct and appropriate, skills gaps plugged, new and old blood hired. Commercial assortments need to be built around the ‘heroes,’ brand marketing evolved to be fit for an ever changing customer, whilst capturing the successes of the past.
DTC shop portfolios need to be built with established location planning criteria, filled with appropriate densities of shoes, commercially balanced ranges of best sellers and basics, supported by efficient supply chains, replenishment, data and operations.
Even for brands like Camper, this is no walk in the park.
When I work with a retail client, I am as much a retailer as they are. I need to sell myself and my recommendations to them, as much as they need to sell their products to the final customer.
In the first meeting with Camper, they warned us that they didn’t like ‘consultants’ and would be difficult to get on with. So away with the presentations, the stuffy boardrooms, replaced by interactive workshops, hands-on reviews and collaborative brainstorming.
‘Consultants’ have, quite correctly, a bad reputation. Personally I try everything possible to change that perception, to deliver the best possible outcome.
Happy to say that to this day I am still always very happy to bump into old clients. And so are they!
Portaventura is Spain’s largest tourist attraction. It is the most most beautiful theme park set south of Barcelona.
It combines hair-raising roller-coaters, a myriad of activities, events and festivals all set within the recreated worlds of China, Mexico, Polynesia and the Wild West. Each world is delivered with painstaking authenticism down to the plants in each area.
Where there are people…there is retail. The potential for retail in Portaventura was immense.
There was already a number of shops and product ranges. We helped to take this onto the next level with commercial assortment criteria, new B&M processes, re-allocation of shop space and re-merchandising of displays.
Even a location strategy applied to Mediterranean villas, Mexican Haciendas, Cowboy saloons and wherever else retail was lurking.
I spent a year working at Portaventua on the Tarragona coast.
Holding meetings to the backdrop of holidaymaker’s screams from the closest roller-coaster. Having lunch in a mud-hut, range reviews in the wild-west, and re-merchandising the odd Chinese temple with fans and kites.
On a serious note, it showed me the importance of creating a fun and stimulating workplace for all employees. They work hard and they are stimulated. I have seen the opposite; soulless offices, open plan deserts, where the silence is only cut by the occasional timid cough.
It is such a step forwards that businesses are now transforming their offices in so many ways, making them communal, welcoming, fun, interactive, healthy & productive. So overdue!
It has been my pleasure to work with Sonae across several of its formats including Continente, Worten, Modalfa and its childrenswear brand Zippy.
Zippy is a popular market leader in Portugal with bright & cheerful shops. The stores are on the surface full of attractive products for all ages. Perhaps a little too full.
A project that looked closely at the sales data, cross-referencing with the qualitative product styling, enhancements and creative adornments, revealed many opportunities to ensure the assortment hit all the correct price points, with all the appropriate categories, with the best possible styling.
Many assortment planning projects have begun as Visual Merchandising projects.
The fact is that display inconsistencies can often be a ‘smokescreen’ for some fundamental problems with the assortment.
These can be both quantitative, where the balance of categories makes the shop displays equally unbalanced. Or they can be qualitative where the balance of colours, or plain to pattern ratios, can deliver a shop which is nothing short of visual chaos.
Even in a childrenswear shops, control in the buying must coordinate with control in the merchandising.