Retail has a chequered history of human resource management, to say the least.

Sadly, some of us will still remember the aggressive cultures that used to pervade the offices of some our biggest retail businesses. Even recently, I have experienced the painful charting of an executive hierarchy, stating with precision who is more important than who.

The damage that such behaviour and activities cause to the culture within a business is palpable. You can physically feel the passion and enthusiasm being sucked from the air. It is so desperately sad to see young people with such potential being held back by the insecurity and ignorance of those, theoretically ‘better than them.’

Thankfully, we generally live in more enlightened times, where retail leaders appreciate that successful companies are not galvanised through a culture of fear, but through a cooperative and collaborative approach where all employees are appreciated and encouraged.

However, the road to achieving a fully-functional modern retail business, with an empowered workforce, is not an easy one to take, or a simple one to execute. Success comes through addressing a wide variety of issues and activities. Encouragement and empathy are a good start but they will only ease the journey, not complete the arrival at the desired destination, without collaboration & integration throughout the business.

Introducing the new book:
“Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an essential retailer”

‘Meaning in the Retail Madness’ addresses the wider issues involved in making your business successful, in every sense, through organising and managing your retail people.

To make the most of your workforce, ‘from the boardroom to the stockroom’ you will need to address your fundamental people proposition, your ‘brand passion supply chain,’ the organisational structure, your inclusivity & diversity, the flow of people processes, the integration of teams, the injection of innovation, combining people with technology and the integration and inclusion of your remote workforce, at home and in shops.

Areas covered by ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness’ include:

The New Landscape for Retail Business Communities.

The ‘Age of Disruption’ has profound implications for how retail businesses should be organised and structured. The physical and emotional heart is shifting from the ‘buying powerhouse’ to ‘brand proposition communities’

The Organisational Structure.

Organisational structures on one level mean little. They show hierarchies, they reflect the balance of power. But they must embrace the future strategic, collaborative, and ethical focus of a business, not its heritage & origins. 

‘Intelligent’ Retail Intelligence.

Retail intelligence must be placed at the heart of every retail business. Using a combination of technology and people to combine consumer research, individual customer data mining, and personal profile building.

The Data Intelligence Department

Data needs to become ‘sexy’ to gain traction within a business. Data needs its own marketing offensive to avoid the same impassive and disengaged badge that so many IT departments have acquired.

A Revolution of Retail Processes

The linear pumping of products from factory to customer is no longer valid. Adding value requires new thinking and working laterally at strategic parts of the linear delivery process. From ‘Linear to Lateral’ retail processes.

The ‘Digital-first’ retailer.

Digital-first is about coordinating human creativity with data technology, creating deep customer relationships, the ultimate customer connections, and about planning the supply and distribution process in rapid time.

The Perpetually Active Retailer.

Successful business are always improving, always energetic. ‘Damaging dynamics’ improvise, irritate and interrupt due to isolated planning. Retailers need to synchronise, to evolve, to enrich and to expand.

Employees: The Balance of Diverse Excellence!

Some people are good at change, others are good at ‘doing the same.’ Some embrace the excitement of tomorrow, others savour the reassurance of today. Retail businesses need a good balance of people skills.

The Retail Business Funnel.

Bring together the stability of an organisation, with the dynamics of retail markets and customer behaviour.  Build every step of the retail business correctly with strength and order and balance to accommodate change.

Retail People: ‘The shopkeepers of today’

A renewed appreciation of retail personnel is being driven by retailers with a different outlook on how to treat their colleagues, to nurture their loyalty, their productivity, and skills. A new awareness of human touchpoints.

Ethical Values: ‘Performing on a different level’

The COVID pandemic has accelerated the wider feeling that our values towards consumerism and business need to change. There is more to life than owning things. There is more to retail than making money.

The Brave new world

Product is giving way to ‘passion’ as the retail proposition connecting with customers. New players integrate ‘Passion generators’ & ‘End-to-end facilitators’ to emotionally & logistically bring products and people together.

Supported by over 90 Retailer Insights, and 70 Action Plans:

Illustrated throughout with original sketches and diagrams ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness’ has been used to stimulate and educate a wide variety of readers from seasoned professionals and retail entrepreneurs to retail creatives, technologists, facilitators, and informed customers, across three fundamentals themes.

  1. How to flourish in…’The Life & Times of the Essential Retailer’
  2. How to evolve into…’Agile organisations’
  3. How to adopt…’Astute Strategies’

‘Meaning in the Retail Madness’ explains how touchpoints have replaced channels, how linear supply chains will become circular, why assortments are increasingly virtual, how physical is turning to local, and why products and shops are not necessarily made for each other any more.

It also supplies the blueprint for retail’s ‘new’ agile organisations, its structures and processes. And shows how retail must integrate people with technology, generate commercial sales through sutainability, stimulate customer loyalty through ethical behaviour, and achieve profit without profiteering.

Each section is supported by the “Z to A of Retail Disruption” This includes over 90 Retailer Insights – from Zara to Amazon, Zalando to Aldi, and 70 Action Plans – from ‘Zooming & Zoning’ to ‘Allocation & AI.’

If galvanising your retail people is your main objective as a retail leader, then I hope this will help you to make your key decisions, and to plan your actions and implementation programmes.

I wish you the best of luck.

Available online worldwide: How and where to buy?

‘Meaning in the Retail Madness’ should be available through all your major online bookstores, wherever you are in the world. Please follow the links below for the most popular retailers.

UK & Europe

US & Worldwide

Barnes & Noble