When was the last time you had your most influential, innovative and knowledgeable colleagues together in the same room?

We deliver workshops to be a catalyst for meaningful change.

We create and manage the content, scheduling, and exercises to ensure you get the most valuable outputs possible.

A summary of our clients’ favourite workshops.

The key to delivering bespoke workshops is to research and customise beforehand, and to listen, adapt and personalise during.

Our favourite discussion…

Don’t expect customers to love your shops if you don’t love them yourselves. Are your shops dirty and untidy, with broken lightbulbs? You wouldn’t leave your houses like that if guests were coming round. Especially guests who were potentially going to give you money. So, as a priority keep your shops clean and tidy.

Prioritise a minimum standards, ‘zero tolerance’ approach to your shop estate and for every shop that you have.

Care for your customer, care for your products. So never run out of stock. Keep your shelves full, and make sure all your best sellers are on display, and not in the stockroom.

Ensure that your shop is appropriate and relevant for your customer demographic. Just as much as I am an advocate of visual merchandising, only put in the level that is required for your customer.

If they love beauty and have the time to admire it, then make your shop beautiful. If they don’t, then don’t waste money and effort on something which at the best will be invisible, and at worst irritating. If they don’t want beauty, give them efficiency, order and clarity, with the cleanliness thrown in for nothing.

our favourite discussion…

We should never forget the fundamental buying process. The role of a retailer is to bring together the customer and a product.

If a customer enters a shoe shop to buy a pair of size 5 black shoes, it is essential that they leave with a pair of size 5 black shoes. You are a shoe shop.

It is acceptable that a suitable shoe is ordered which will be delivered to the customer’s home, or to the shop for collection the next day. It is also acceptable that the service team apologises for not having an appropriate black shoe and directs the customer to a nearby competitor who has.

In all eventualities, the customer did not fail. The retailer did not fail either. It made no sale on one occasion, but it enhanced its reputation with the customer who will make purchases there in the future.

Successful retail connection is more than just selling a product. Retailers can be so much more than what they sell, and the customer now expects them to be so much more.

How to develop best practice ‘Retail Business Skills’ for today

– Learning & adopting from old & new retail (1/2 days)

Our favourite discussion…

In today’s ‘saturated markets’ existing and new retailers must demonstrate ‘best practice’ across an increasingly wide variety of retail functions to deliver what the customer now perceives as essential to them.

The specific retail functions required will depend on the brand positioning, product sector and channel strategy. But for most retail businesses ‘best practice’ is required across a number of common retail functions and strategic areas.

Many of these functions such as buying & merchandising hail from the earliest days of mass market retailing and have evolved and developed through every age. It is fair to say that every original retail function born in the age of discovery, went through significant transformations during the Age of Learning.

These are being married together with completely new but important functions born mainly from the opportunities of technology in both the front and back-end of business.

Significantly, the route to delivering ‘best practice’ is very different depending on whether you are a new brand, or an existing well-established one.

How to create and manage your ‘Customer Communities’

– Building shops & connections in physical communities (2 days)

Our favourite discussion…

Personal destination businesses will encapsulate the local community economy, participating and stimulating in its vibrancy and commercial success. Their involvement will be across five major areas – Commercial, Social, Environment, Leisure & Community.

The focus will depend on the specific values and vision of any brand but there is plenty of opportunity for any retailer, supplier, and business to be local.

Community and social involvement probably has the most direct impact on the potential customer base. Personal interaction outside the shop will likely lead to commercial interaction within the shop.

Retailers can involve themselves in local schools and colleges with a philanthropic perspective. They can also involve themselves with a variety of fun leisure activities from local pub teams to collaborations with gyms and sports centres.

Social initiatives can bring life to a town through permanently effecting the fabric and wellbeing of a location, adding sparkle at Christmas and colour in Springtime

How to build a distinct commercial ‘Customer Proposition’

– Create your vision, assortment, services & dynamics (2 days)

Our favourite discussion…

The customer used to buy products. Then they bought brands. Today, it is the proposition that the customer buys, and it is what they buy into.

The proposition is the ‘complete package’ that the customer experiences with a retailer. It is a combination of products and services, and is delivered as a physical retail shop, a pureplay digital site or any combination of channels, touchpoints and media. It is more emotional that just a product. But more functional than just a brand image.

A good retail proposition is built and managed in 5 stages: Vision, Assortment, Services & Dynamics.

The completed Brand Proposition requires constant attention and management. It requires a team with the right skills, expertise and passion for the vision through all its customer focused activities. It requires an appropriate organisational structure, and functional buying and operational processes to enable the team to deliver the reality of the vision.

How to develop a ‘Customer-Centric’ organisation

– Evolve & integrate customer & data-centricity functions (1/2 day)

Our favourite discussion…

The customer focused organisational structure not only puts the customer at the heart of the business, but also the workforce. It is people focused from top to bottom. It is beyond hierarchies. The only dominant party is the customer.

The new wealth of customer and market data is used to guide the decision-making process throughout the business including the continual refreshment of the vision itself.

Departments are fully integrated because they are guided by the same customer intelligence inputs, and conclusions, and by the same principles and objectives.

•“Find out what the customer wants”

•“Create & deliver what the customer wants”

•“Plan and manage what the customer wants”

•“Deliver when and where the customer wants”

Those objectives bear little resemblance to those of the traditional buyer driven businesses.

Building those essential customer connections and relationships begins with an organisational structure with the correct customer focused functions, in terms of both research and delivery.

How to think & act like a ‘Digital-First Retailer!’

– Learn how to be precise, quick, brave and successful (2 days)

Our favourite discussion…

Digital-first businesses take actions with precise data. This minimises risk. They monitor the result of actions with more analysis and assessments. There is no such thing as a wrong action, just ones that sometimes don’t work. Every action is a learning, and every action is primarily without risk if the repercussions are tempered by correct and rapid reactions.

Digital-led businesses operate processes that allow speed. They are not hampered by archaic organizational structures, or primeval protocols. To maximise opportunities and restrict the impact of mistakes they act quickly.

We talk about replacing hierarchical organizational structures and linear processes. This is important as it physically removes many barriers to working in more fluid and intuitive ways. What it also does is to change the mind-set of those in the system.

A digital-first mindset is ultimately the prerequisite for significant changes to a retail business. That change in mind-set cannot happen within the confines of a traditional hierarchy and with linear volume processes.

Pureplays are brave, but they are not stupid, because risk is countenanced by high-speed trials and quick responses

How to build an ‘Employee Community’ in your shops

– Let shopkeepers ‘own’ their shops and their futures (2 days)

Our favourite discussion…

Career progression within the shop, or retail hub, should be meaningful and rewarding.

Meaningful in terms of having a real impact in all aspects of the retail hub from operational responsibilities, management duties, product assortment involvement, inputs into the running and the strategy of the shop, and a progression from building customer relationships into evolving and developing the community involvement of the shop.

Naturally, appropriate training will follow the career development at every stage. Local people with expertise and experience who can progress their skills and have career paths within the retail hub and remain local.

Career progression should not be just linear, about the present, a blinkered approach with no beginning or end. As shop colleagues progress, they should remain in touch with their experiences and the knowledge they have gained and be able to perceive clearly the path ahead of them by learning from those who have made the same journey. They should also have the opportunity to train those below them, on the same learning cycle they have previously experienced.

The progression must be seasonal and annual, spiraling into new responsibilities, skill sets and ways to benefit the customer, the shop, and the wider business. Cyclical shop colleague progression, in tune with the dynamics of ‘shop-life.’

How to become an ‘Agile & Energetic Retailer’

– Create a culture of evolving, enriching & expanding (1 day)

Our favourite discussion…

Dynamic retailers that constantly want to evolve, enrich, and expand have two huge benefits. Firstly, their strategy will make them competitive, ahead of the market, and commercially successful. Secondly, they will become and remain an attractive place to work for the right kind of people.

To evolve, teams should be continually trained in latest best practice, use of software solutions, and market & customer analysis.

To enrich, teams should be exposed to latest technologies and innovation within their specialism, competitor innovations and future trends.

To expand, teams and individuals should always be given the opportunity to become a permanent part of any new initiatives and streams, ahead of external alternatives. They should be given all appropriate training.

If managed correctly, change gives internal employees the opportunities to improve themselves, to experience new things and to embrace innovation. It allows them to interact with external best practice and to be promoted to new roles & responsibilities. Innovative retailers also value curious and ambitious people and tend to reward them well.