Masters status conferred on our retail qualification

A while ago we launched the Post-Graduate Diploma in Internet Retailing. The programme was developed, in conjunction with Econsultancy.com, to support the skills and career development of multichannel retail professionals. The qualification spans the gamut of etail activity – from buying, sourcing and category management, to online marketing by route of operations, IT and logistics.

On Tuesday we were challenged by the accreditation board of Manchester Metropolitan University to assess whether the programme was at a sufficiently high level and with a suitable supporting academic framework to be worthy of being awarded Masters status.

After three and a half hours of grilling by the panel and external assessors we were incredibly gratified to be told that we had been approved as a Masters programme.

Congratulations are due to David Bird, Director at MMU’s Business School and Craig Hanna, Training Director at Econsultancy.com, both of whom worked incredibly hard to make the programme ready for assessment.

We’ve now got to update the webpage and revise marketing materials to reflect that this is now (we think) the UK’s first and only…

“MSc in Internet Retailing”.

Speaking at the Westfield “World Retail Study Tour”

Westfield (a client) organise a world retail study tour for Australian businesses to visit peers, examplars and trend-setters in the US and Europe.

On the London leg of the tour – following a period in the US – the delegates had visited key retail stores, niche retailers, characterful areas of London and for a day heard presentations from major retailing figures.

I was pleased to be able to open proceedings this morning with a presentation on ‘the UK online consumer’ and trends and issues in multichannel retail.

As it was a private presentation there are no slides available.

Speaking at BBDO University

Following my presentation to the Innovation in Retail Forum I was pleased to accept an invitation to speak to the BBDO U meeting, held just outside Paris.bbdou.png

The event brought the leadership from the AMV, BBDO, Proximity family together to discuss digital trends, issues and opportunities. The team did a great job to pull together some excellent speakers (some of whom I was lucky to hear) as well as some ‘externals’ (me and Google).

I developed some of my themes on the demanding digital customer and approaches to exploiting the ‘attention economy’. In a very engaged Q&A session afterwards, and over lunch, it was good to get so many well-informed, enthusiastic and challenging questions.

No slide deck from this event due to its confidential nature, but there was some real-time commentary from the twitterati in the group – hashtag is #bbdou

Royal Mail: Speaking

At InternetRetailing we’ve been working with the Royal Mail a good deal this year on a number of projects, research activity etc and so I was pleased to be able to speak at their Multichannel Retail Insight Day on 6 May 2009.

The event brought together the retail specialists within Royal Mail to discuss changes in the industry and I was able to cover some of the demands that the sophisticated UK internet shopper is placing upon retailers, along with some of the approaches that the UK’s leading multichannel specialists are taking to set themselves apart.

Thanks to the team at RM for their kind welcome. Sadly, no slides from this engagement since it was a confidential briefing, but we touched on many topics that I think we’ll be returning to in InternetRetailing after our October conference.

Keynote at FDIH in Copenhagen

img_0484I met Morten Kamper, CEO of the Danish eCommerce Federation (FDIH) at an ACSEL event in Paris earlier in the year, and he has also contributed a wonderful piece to Internet Retailing magazine (May 2009 issue). It was therefore a great pleasure to accept his kind invitation to give a keynote at their conference on the use of social media in retail.

The event was held at the IT University, a wonderful and modern venue in the heart of Copenhagen, to a sizeable and enthusiastic delegate group.

As usual I was humbled by the fact that everyone spoke English, but moreso this time that some of the speakers even took the time to send me fully-translated versions of their slide decks: courtesy as well as capability. Very much appreciated.

I spoke on the retail progress made on Facebook and the lessons to be drawn, as well as considering other social media trends and opportunities (is it possible these days to present without mentioning Twitter??).

Facebook in Retail – Presentation to the Danish eCommerce Federation (FDIH)

View more presentations from ikj.

After the event Morten kindly gave me a CD of “The Roots Of Scandinavia: Soul Jazzfunk And Boogie” (we’d been discussing musical fusion over lunch) and this is currently a staple on my playlists. Amazing, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about how FDIH came to publish this album.

I had a great, springtime afternoon in Copenhagen afterwards and I’ll publishing the photos from my wanderings on my blog.

Innovation in Retail Forum

Mary Queen of Shop
Mary Queen of Shops

I was pleased to be invited to speak for the Omnicom “Innovation in Retail Forum”, an even for the agency’s CEOs and senior managers, along with key clients. The event was organised by DAS Global in a rather exemplary fashion and held at the Wolff Olins offices in Kings Cross/Islington, overlooking Regents Canal.

The line-up was very impressive and a little intimidating.

Chris Sanderson, Strategy and Insight Director of the Future Laboratory opened proceedings with a clear and stimulating articulation of “prosumers” – today’s demanding and knowledgeable consumers.

Mary Portas, “Queen of Shops” (pictured) gave a really engaging and characterful articulation of the need for innovation, engagement and collaboration in retail. I’d obviously seen Mary on ‘telly’ and so had certain expectations of her presentation. These in no way prepared me for such an open, amusing and highly engaging 40 minutes. I was totally won over.

Dr Jonathan Reynolds of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management (at Said Business School) gave a fast-paced and and well-supported presentation on ‘location’ in retail and queried its importance in future.

I followed with a presentation on opportunities for ecommerce in the ‘network age’ (a development of my presentations on epiphenomenology, magic and the network/attention economy).

The event was fast-paced, intense and fun. It ran very smoothly and this was largely due to the intensive work by Danny and Alice (you know who you are!) in detailed advanced preparation with the speakers. Not only did we have several phone conversations to flesh out the content, tone and approach of each session, but great care was taken over the interaction of the presentations. The result of this advance work was that there was a good flow, negligible overlap and good thematic reinforcement.

I’ve taken a lead from this and will be emulating this approach for the October InternetRetailing 2009 conference!