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Over the last few years retail has significantly evolved and the way we shop has changed, on-line retailers have seen a surge in business not only because of the pandemic but because the customer wants a different shopping experience – one that combines convenience with quickness. People want to shop when it fits in to their life and that may be outside of traditional retail opening hours, they also demand instant gratification and convenient quick delivery at a low cost. E-commerce has accelerated over the last few years and whilst the Pandemic has been a very positive experience for on-line retailers it by no means signifies the death of the high street. The impersonal experience of shopping on-line only fulfils some of our needs when it comes to shopping. Many customers want the human touch when they shop, they want to be able to see, touch and feel the products, ask questions, have demonstrations and really get to grips with a product they are purchasing – it’s part of their shopping ritual, and the Pandemic has removed that element of the experience for them.  As a result, retailers need to be proactive and agile to the ever-changing retail environment and fully aware of what their customers want from a shopping experience with them.

What are your short-term, medium-term and long-term plans for your business? Are you caught up in the here and now and not focusing on the future? What direction would you like to see your business heading in? Do you want to develop your on-line offer or open another store? Do you want to try a new market segment or category? What is working for your business and what needs to change? Who, what, where, when and how do you do business?

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” Michael Leboeuf

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to plan your retail strategy with the creation of short-term, medium-term and long-term plans to give direction and focus to your business.

Retail Strategy

What happens in your retail environment is a crucial part of the mix in terms of serving your customer, everything from your opening hours to your customer service ethos and the number of staff available to customers. Your hardware and software can have an impact on your service delivery, even the way you price your products can affect the customer experience. How you deliver new ranges and products, how you promote things, how often you refresh your window displays, these are also part of your retail operations. How environmentally friendly are your operations, do you use recycled packaging, can you provide an e-receipt to cut down on printing or provide a refill service are all relevant to many modern customers? From a customer service point of view, how do you manage refunds/returns and product recalls (a potentially contentious area if handled inappropriately)? Do you monitor the standard Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) such as customer spend, footfall, average item price etc. If you do, how do you use this information? Would Mystery Shoppers be of use to you? More recently your customer perception of your Covid 19 Safe practices will affect how comfortable a customer is in shopping in your store.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity leads us down new paths.” Walt Disney.

White Rose Retail Consultants can advise on all areas of your retail operations and additionally provide customer service training to streamline your operations to deliver a structured working environment and the best experience for your customer when they visit your store.

Retail Strategy

Do you struggle with the financial side of the business, creating budgets and business plans? Is your money working effectively for you and your business? Do you operate an open-to-buy system / Weekly Sales and Stock Intake plan (WSSI) for your purchasing? Do your profit and loss accounts give you nightmares? Are you aware of grants available to businesses in your area? Are you considering opening another outlet and require a feasibility study to help you make the decision whether or not to go ahead? For a lot of businesses, the financial elements of planning the operations are a minefield, however once navigated properly they allow a clear and concise route to success.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

White Rose Retail Consultants can advise you on all of the financial planning aspects of ensuring your business remains on the road to success.

Retail Strategy

The design of your store reflects your vision of how you want the business to be represented to your customers, it is a visualisation of your brand and a manifestation of your dreams. How you physically map your customer’s journey through your store by furniture selection and placement, and the ambience you create through light, colour and texture selections will directly affect your customer’s purchase behaviour and by understanding customer flow, the hotspots and cold spots of each store, you will be able to positively affect your customer’s experience.

“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it…think what’s the most amazing way to do it.” Richard Branson

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to plan your perfect store, or support you with a refit or general update to your existing outlet, creating the ideal environment to maximise the impact on your customer’s experience in-store.

Retail Strategy

Understanding your target customer is critical in developing a marketing strategy suitable to engage with them. Have you identified your customer demographics? Are your target customers, for instance, Baby Boomers or Generation Z? What does that actually mean and how will it change your marketing mix and the messages you use to reach them? Will it affect the platforms and media type you use in your marketing messages? Targeting the right customer with the right message at the optimum time will significantly increase your customer engagement and improve your conversion rate.

“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” Patricia Fripp

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to create a powerful marketing strategy targeting the right customer segments, utilising above the line (generic) and below the line (specific) elements to create positive results for your business. We can also assist with specific event planning or branding projects.

Retail Strategy

What are your core categories, do you have secondary categories? Do you measure the sales of your categories and have a strategy for ensuring your procurement matches the segmentation of your core business? Do you review your Best Sellers and Slowest Sellers to take suitable action? Do you measure your stock turn over figure to monitor your inventory levels? Do you use multiple suppliers and are their products compliant to current British safety standards within their category? What is your merchandising process? Do you have a mark-down budget and how do you maintain your margins?  Is ethical sourcing important to you and what impact do lead times have on your product range and planning? Do you have a Buy British strategy? What impact has Covid 19 had on your buying strategy?

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Warren Buffet

White Rose Retail Consultants can advise on all areas of category management to help you to achieve a comprehensive strategy to improve your sales and minimise your markdowns with a systematic and disciplined approach to your business.

Retail Strategy

Supply chain management, or the management of the flow of goods into and out of your business is critical in maximising your sales opportunities. Ensuring you have the right stock in the right volumes at the right time is an obvious statement to make, but what impact can external influences have on your supply chain and how do you minimise those risks? What are the lead times and delivery costs of each of your suppliers, are the goods they are supplying sourced ethically and comply to all current British safety standards? If you are selling on-line what are your postage and packing costs and do you have a strategy to absorb those costs or to charge them on to your customer? These and many other aspects affect your supply chain management.

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.” - Tom Peters

White Rose Retail Consultants can support you in all areas of your supply chain management to help you to maximise your product availability and minimise your risks to multiple external factors.

Retail Strategy

Visual merchandising is the way in which we present products to show off their features and benefits, encourage engagement and motivate sales. Visual merchandising builds on a brand's identity and personality and includes elements of store design, in-store communications and point-of -sale (POS), store layout, display locations and style, window displays, lighting, theatre, engagement, audio and visual elements, and the use of planograms to ensure consistency across the brand. Visual merchandising builds on your customer expectations and your brand strategy, for instance the founder of Tesco Sir John Cohen coined the phrase “Pile it high, sell it cheap” so we don’t expect to go into a supermarket and see elaborate merchandising techniques designed to make us linger, as their strategy revolves around volume.

“Retail is detail” James Gulliver

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to plan, build and execute your visual merchandising strategy and offer training and advice to deliver an authentic experience for your customers.

Retail Strategy

E-commerce is the activity of buying or selling on-line, so even if you aren’t selling on-line (Business to Consumer) but you’re ordering your stock on-line (Consumer to Business), then you are engaging in e-commerce. E-commerce generally takes place through your own dedicated website (or that of your supplier), a platform such as Etsy or Shopify, Facebook, Google Shopping or marketplaces such as EBay or Amazon.  Which avenue is right for your business? Which of your products should be featured, who is your competition, what are the current e-commerce trends? Your e-commerce is an extension of your physical store, it is an alternative shop window to your business and an additional route to your customers to buy from you. It should represent your business in an identifiable way delivering the same personality on-line as in -store.

“Because it’s shop o’clock somewhere” - Sendcloud

White Rose Retail Consultants can support you with your e-commerce needs and help you to create a strong on-line presence across multiple platforms to maximise your customer exposure.

Retail Strategy

Business development is the ideas and actions that make a business better. What opportunities exist to improve your business? What are your competitors doing – can you learn from them? Are there categories you want to explore or expand, have you identified a gap in the market you want to exploit or a trend you want to follow? What are the risks in doing so and how can you minimise them? How can you develop your business to deliver improved results? Are you considering new routes to market, or a pop-up shop, maybe working with an influencer? What opportunities exist to improve your exposure to your target market?

“Retail is about selling things that don’t come back, to customers who do.” Tony Farmer

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to identify opportunities to develop your business, and support you in planning and implementation to help you bring those ideas to life.

Retail Strategy

Would participating in events or planning your own be beneficial to your business, would the ability to reach more people in a different environment increase your brand awareness and sales? Would a pop-up shop for a short period of time be an opportunity to test run a new market or location? Would participation in a local community event build your social responsibility profile? Would participation in an event help you to network in your local area and potentially make new supplier contacts?

“What differentiates sellers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas.” Jill Konran, Author

White Rose Retail Consultants can help you to maximise your exposure in your local environment by supporting and helping you to organise or participate in events to build your brand awareness.

Retail Strategy

Are your systems and procedures documented so that your team members always use the same processes? Do you have a specific set of instructions for operating your store? If you are not available are there guidelines to help your team deliver the service you expect them to in your absence? Are your best practices documented and updated to ensure your team all operate with the same set of information? Do your team know the parameters of their roles and the tasks they need to perform? Do you have inherent knowledge on your retail operations that without which would prevent someone from running your operation successfully? An operations manual typically covers areas such as general and daily operations including store opening hours; customer service expectations; inventory management systems; loss prevention measures; store maintenance procedures, visual merchandising standards, heath and safety procedures including evacuation plans and anything else that is deemed relevant to the operation of your store.

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Benjamin Franklin

White Rose Retail Consultants can create a Retail Operations Manual for your business to provide guidance for employees to perform their roles and functions correctly and to the required standard, working with you to document the agreed procedures.

Retail Strategy