VM-unleashed: specialists in shops & retail experiences
In 2007 Tim Radley set up VM-Unleashed to create a company that specializes in developing world-class customer experiences in physical and digital shops.
For more than a decade much of our work has remained focused on the physical shop environment and despite the increase in digital sales, even in the UK where the penetration is one of the highest, physical shops remain important as part of multi-channel, multi-touchpoint strategies.
The ‘rapidly’ changing retail shop
However, the physical shop is changing rapidly. Its role is no longer just about selling physical product, but about delivering services and fulfilment across channels. VM-unleashed considers and integrates functions that are exclusive to physical shops such as fitting and personal shopping with functions which have been initiated online such as click& collect and returns but which need to be fulfilled in physical shops.
The evolution of the ‘Retail Hub.’
In essence the ‘shop’ or ‘store’ is evolving into a ‘Retail Hub.’ The retail hub is built around 4 integrated areas. The ‘shopper paradise’ is still the centrepiece consisting of product displays and associated customer service. The ‘Collection Crossroads’ satisfies the needs of the omnichannel shopper and facilitates the collection, delivery, return and exchange of goods. Ironically this is also now a main driver of shop traffic.
The local ‘Community Hub.’
The third element is the local ‘Community Hub’ which uses shop space to form links with the customer and local communities, from staging events and running courses, to providing a setting and showcase for community initiatives.
Shop colleague involvement and interaction are essential to the community hub. Finally, retail hubs are increasingly using excess and flexible shop space for ‘Business Centres’ allowing the cost-effective delivery of retail places. These include business and community offices and working space, as well as residential use for shop colleagues and local communities.
Working with the new shop DNA
VM-unleashed has evolved to stay-ahead of these trends. It offers clients its established skills and support in creating shop experiences, but with a new appreciation of the other elements that now form part of the DNA of ‘shops of the future.’
VM-unleashed now offers strategic advice, creative design, operational planning, and collaboration on the development and delivery of physical shops, across all elements that now form the retail hub.
Shop format – flagship, neighbourhood, convenience pop-up
Physical location planning
Shop grading & clustering
Retail hub gross space planning
Flexible space planning and allocation
Shopper paradise environmental design
Product story segmentation & display
Digital signage & display
Events and promotional delivery
Service area functionality & design
Shopping ‘Golden Triangles’
Stock rooms and storage allocation
Store operations, schedules & routines
Staffing and operations technology
Click&collect/omni-service area design
Staff area space allocation – office, hospitality, omniservices
Community engagement planning
Community space design
Business space strategies
Retail hub partnerships & collaborations
Logistics, distribution & delivery planning
Shop teams skills planning
Shop colleague training, learning & development
Appropriate, workable & affordable
If you want to start the ‘retail project’ ball rolling, please get in touch. I would be happy to share with you some typical VM-unleashed project templates, schedules, costs, and case studies.
It’s been my pleasure to have worked with a wide variety of retailers and brands and I’m happy to say that when I occasionally bump into any one of the people I’ve worked with, we are still genuinely very much on speaking terms.