Opening presentation for the International Association of Department Stores (IADS.org)

I’ve long been a great fan of the IADS and have contributed in the past to their events. I was therefore particularly pleased to be invited to open their conference in London on Omnichannel/multichannel on 15 September, 2016.

Department stores have been at the forefront of multichannel development in the U.K. And Europe and so it was interesting to share with them the research from our IREU Top500 2016 report, which created a performance-based ranking of Europe’s multichannel and pure play retailers. With delegates from the EU, Asia and South America it was an international gathering.

While the presentation and discussions were confidential, the IREU report is available from InternetRetailing – www.internetretailing.net/ireu 

Brittany coastal ride

Beyond Brexit: Building Retail in a new epoch

The ramifications of the British vote to leave the European Union are barely understood, but the radical implications cannot be underestimated. There are some challenging lessons, and more-challenging opportunities, to be seized as we move from bemoaning or celebrating to the realities of building a new future.

THAT THE world had qualitatively changed was clear as I addressed our inauguralEuropean Summit in Berlin the week following the Brexit vote. The overwhelming messages from the gathering of the IREU Top500 retailers was that the UK’s skills and expertise were valued, and that there is a bond between multichannel professionals that bridges national boundaries. This is clearly shown too in the first ranking of Europe’s Top500 multichannel retailers, the IREU Top500 2016, which we’re pleased to release this month. Europe and trade are certainly the issue of our time.

Epochal change

We are witnessing an epochal change – of radical disruption. While the digital revolution caused disruption, there are few events in our time that have recast social relationships, rewritten the rules of politics, recast national relations, rejected the underpinning legal settlement of nationhood, trade and personal freedoms, while resetting people’s expectations of the course of their families’ lives. Short of war, this is the most wholesale disruption we may see in our lives and from this we need to create and seize opportunity. The manner in which we act post-Brexit will test and set the character of the UK and Europe for the next generation.

Our industry could be characterised by a customer-focus, a bias for innovation and change, and a global perspective. All of these are fundamentally, radically challenged by the Brexit vote. The questions to consider are broader than retail alone, but as a major employer and generator of economic value we have to engage more broadly than solely our own bailiwicks. Areas of engagement include:

  • How better to connect with our customers, many of whom have expressed an anti-urban, anti-establishment, anti-globalisation sentiment? If our customers are never wrong then we need to find a better narrative of inclusion and relevance, even as they seek out global brands at discounted prices… We need to consider how we communicate and live our values, not just our pricing and promotion policies.
  • Our staff are simultaneously an asset to our business, our own customers, and the disaffected or disenfranchised voters. Skills development is needed both for our own performance and for our employees to have a stake in society and confidence about an improving future of employment, mobility and affluence. How can we connect with our staff to align our commercial progress with their lives and hopes?
  • What needs to be done to retain competitive, open market access? Both for sales of our own goods and the purchase of goods for resale, consumables and infrastructure?
  • As we have a chance to look afresh at our regulatory frameworks, what is necessary to ensure a level playing field? What regulation do we want to retain, remove, introduce?

Over the coming months we will be seeking, listening to and synthesising the voices in our industry as we look to create positive outcomes from this disruption. Our editorial approach at IR is to reflect the board-level, cross-disciplinary, commercial conversation and so we’ll look at all areas in which we can make an impact.

What questions do you think need to be addressed? Where should our focus lie? Please let me know your thoughts. Over the coming year we will hold informal discussions across the UK and in key European cities, under the Chatham House Rule. The aim is to have an agenda, an approach and consideration points in time for the next European Summit in Berlin in June 2017. We have invites to Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Paris and Amsterdam, but we’ll go where the conversation leads. If you have an office or venue that could host us, please do let me know. While the focus of the discussion will be amidst multichannel retailers, key suppliers to the sector have an important voice and we invite their contribution too.

Please drop me a note at ian@internetretailing.net if you’d like to contribute.

This article was first published in InternetRetailing Magazine in July 2016 and on Linkedin as a post.

Closing keynote at IBM’s European eCommerce conference

I was honoured to be invited to close IBM’s first get-together of its European eCommerce team, bringing together over 400 professionals from across Europe for a couple of days in Windsor to kick off their newly-structured team.

We’ve worked with IBM on a number of editorial projects and I was asked to bring to life some of the themes on the direction of retail and the pressures upon retailers to perform at the highest level.

I’d expected a tired group (I was closing the event on a Friday afternoon, post-lunch… ) but there was a great vibe and I was met with a very warm reception.

The keynote drew on some advance insights from the IREU Top500, InternetRetailing’s new research publication due out in June 2016 and culminated in recounting an approach of ‘TotalRetail’™.

Thanks again for the welcome!

Chairing at Millennial2020

Congratulations to @RupaGanatra, Viktoria de Chevron Villette and Simon Berger for an impressive debut conference in Millennial 2020.

The conference addressed the business challenge of how to approach the millennial customer, and key themes throughout were insight, authenticity and experimentation. This was brought to life on the conference stage with a real wealth of speakers – I was lucky to chair sessions ranging from the founders of Planet Organic and Ceviche to Pepsico and Fortnum & Mason (yes, I was chairing the food stream!).

Here’s a vid of the session on data…

The exhibition area was particularly fun and very hand-on (in true millennial style) with more of a ‘fun fair’ feel than an expo.

I learned a great deal and I’m pleased to see that the concept is already rolling out internationally with events planned in New York – February 2017, London (take 2) in April 2017 and Singapore in September 2017.

You can sign up for info at their website – http://www.millennial20-20.com/

 

 

Brief appearance on the BBC’s ‘Christmas at John Lewis’ documentary

Provided you didn’t blink in the wrong place you may have caught my contribution to a BBC documentary on how John Lewis prepares for Christmas. I had great fun contributing to a topic that we’ve covered ourselves – namely how the elite retailers prepare for peak. An interesting take within the programme was that #BlackFriday had changed the ‘traditional’ Christmas peak, and further looked at the role of eCommerce ‘pure play’ giant Amazon.co.uk in the competitive landscape for John Lewis.

The programme aired on 23 December, 2015, titled “Christmas Shopping Fever 2015: John Lewis and the Retail Race” and you can see it for a while on BBC iPlayer – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06t3kqt/christmas-shopping-fever-2015-john-lewis-and-the-retail-race

 

Ian Jindal discussing John Lewis with Cherry Healey for BBC 2's

 

I was really impressed with the research the team did beforehand. We had a number of phone discussions, follow-up questions and a good brief on the ‘arc’ of the show. I had a great time filming my snippets and even though it was a couple of hours the time passed really quickly. I’m sure that TV production crews forget how interesting we find the whole process! Most of the filming I do is around our events and these tend to be one-take-only commentaries. At first I thought that it was a luxury to have more time, but now I simply feel a combination of awe and sympathy at the skill and patience needed to turn hundreds of hours of footage into a coherent, brief broadcast!

My on-screen contribution comprised of a review of the customer expectations on delivery (c 0h24’) and upon the role of SEO in supporting visibility and sales at peak (c0h30’).

We’ve covered John Lewis extensively on InternetRetailing – they’re one of our “Elite” UK retailers in the InternetRetailing Top500. You can see John Lewis’ company listing as well as information on the Top500 on our site.

We also covered BlackFriday and CyberMonday with rolling, on-the-hour information on the performance of the Top23 retailers in the UK and John Lewis’ performance over peak fared well.

Ian Jindal on the BBC's documentary on John Lewis' Christmas, 2015

BlackFriday and CyberMonday comments on BBC Radio

It’s all go in retail-land with BlackFriday and CyberMonday and I was pleased to be asked to contribute to a fun piece on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, commenting on the phenomenon. Great questions from Paul Marriott on his show, details are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p037v012

You can hear my clip from the programme on Soundcloud:

10 years of InternetRetailing Conference

I can hardly believe that it’s 10 years since we started InternetRetailing but 14 October brings the 10th anniversary conference – www.internetretailingconference.com.

It’s a lovely lineup of speakers as ever, and our thanks go to them for their contribution to insight and inspiration in our industry.

I reflect on some of the changes in the last decade on InternetRetailing.net, here:

http://internetretailing.net/2015/08/irc-2015-interview-ian-jindal-of-internetretailing-on-how-ecommerce-has-changed-over-the-10-years-of-the-conference/

InternetRetailing Conference – 10th Annual event on 14 October, 2015

Speaking at Gladstone’s customer event

I was pleased to provide an opening address to Gladstone’s Health and Leisure summit.

I took as my theme some of the lessons that software and services providers to the leisure sector could learn from retail, but as I worked on my presentation it was clear to me that this is not a ‘one-way street’. Gladstone provides the underpinning software for leisure centres, universities and organisations and so is at the sharp end not only of the increasingly digital customer’s demands, but also needs to provide a complex service over time – whether booking and paying for yoga lessons, or accessing your higher education college.

The Summit comprised staff, customers and sector suppliers and we had a great range of interested and challenging questions.

It was an immensely rewarding event and one where my research gave me many new perspectives.

Client: www.gladstonemrm.com

Booked via: https://www.jla.co.uk/

 

Chairing a panel at The Walpole’s Far Eastern Growth Summit on Luxury

I’m a massive fan of the work that Walpole does in creating a voice and forum for the luxury market in the UK, and especially providing a space to discuss digital developments.

I was pleased therefore to contribute once more to their events, this time by chairing the panel on digital luxury.

Ian Jindal introducing the panel discussion at The Walpole’s Fast Eastern Summit in April 2015, London

 

The panel comprised Ken Ardali, @alibaba_group ; Anson Bailey, KPMG; Thomas Crampton, Ogilvy & Mather; Adrian Moss, Demandware; and Michael Ward @harrods  #WalpoleSummit

You can see a write-up of the event here:

http://www.thewalpole.co.uk/eastern-growth-luxury-summit-2015