Just released, the latest episode of the podcast in with Jamie and I chat about the NRF’s Big Show 2020 in New York, and our store tour there. We were an official podcast partner and took advantage of the booth there to do an interview with Laura Padfield, who runs strategy and development for M&S’ International activities…
It was a pleasure to join Oracle again for a post-NRF round-up of what’s new and interesting in retail.
I spoke about my impressions of NRF, gave information on the store tour I ran, and also gave some highlights of the RetailX Top500 UK that we were about to publish…
You can see the Reports here (free access to Top500 retailers and members – contact email@example.com if you can’t access).
HMV announced on 28 December, 2018 that they were appointing KPMG as administrators, following “a “tsunami” of retail challenges, including business rate levels and the move to digital”, according to Hilco, the restructuring group who rescued the retailer in 2013.
This is sad news for the retail sector, and for music-lovers who remember the age of dominance of HMV and Virgin Megastores (who at the time were challenging HMV as the ‘traditional giant’).
Hilco mention a ‘tsunami’ and I think that this is the key point. No one factor killed off HMV – not digital downloads, not rates, not changes in consumption and the music industry… Rather, these factors have all been accelerating and working in unison.
This is the inflexion point where a slope turns into a cliff.
I was invited to comment on the news both on Sky News and on LBC that evening and my clips are below.
For information, here’s the PDF case study from Hilco’s site to show how 5 years is a long time in retail, as well as to hope that there’ll be a further incarnation for HMV in 2019…
In which we spend time in the studio with Jamie de Cesare of Orlebar Brown and Annabel Thorn of Sweaty Betty.
You can subscribe to us via iTunes/Apple Podcasts via this button, or listen live via the Podbean player.
Let us know your thoughts – and don’t forget to volunteer people or yourself to guest in future 🙂
It was my pleasure to open the Ometria Lifecycle conference with a keynote on ‘Connecting with the Connected Customer’ – one of my persistent themes, focused on how retailers and brands can connect effectively and profitably with demanding consumers. Taking insights from the IREU Top500 I looked at 6 challenges that retailers need to overcome in order to succeed.
Congratulations to Ometria on a full house, great organisation and an a fantastic vibe to the day. Looking forward to our upcoming collaboration on White Papers and continuing this thread of conversation.
— James Gurd 🌝 Replatforming & Other Stuff (@JamesGurd) October 17, 2017
— James Wintle (@james__wintle) October 17, 2017
— retain.me (@MeRetain) October 17, 2017
— eva pascoe (@EvaPascoe) October 17, 2017
— SPLENTO 📸 (@splento) October 17, 2017
ShopTalk had their first European ‘outing’ in Copenhagen in October, with a three-day event that gathered some 2.500 delegates for three days of networking, meetings, keynotes and presentations. The IR team was there for the whole event and we were busy from dawn until (nearly the next) dawn catching up with retailers and innovative vendors from Europe and the US.
I gave a speech on the final day with six lessons from the IREU Top500 ranking of Europe’s multichannel retailers, brands and ecommerce pureplays.
— Insider Trends (@insidertrends) October 11, 2017
— Andy James (@ajames1976) October 11, 2017
— Luisa Walendy (@LWalendy) October 11, 2017
I was pleased to open both www.edeliveryconference.com and www.internetretailingconference.com and welcome the usual senior gathering of multichannel professionals to our intense multi-track conference and expo.
— Celeny DA SILVA (@CelenyDaSilva) October 12, 2016
— Julian Wallis (@JulianWallis) October 12, 2016
— Arnepåposten® (@ArnepaPosten) October 12, 2016
You can see the write-up of the event and also videos of proceedings on the conference site, but a particular thanks to Tony Rivenell of Halfords who was game enough to do a Q&A on the role of the Chief Digital Officer during our keynote sessions…
— Jane Gill (@janegill13) October 12, 2016
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute.
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
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.
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: