YOUR RETAIL QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY LEADING RETAILERS

Published by Michelle Richards on Monday, 20 Mar 2017

MIKE PARKES Reports

Partner, Momentum Results LLP and Programme Director for Oxford Summer School Masters

Another great OSS Masters and our 12th successful year. If you want to know where retailing is going, how to tackle the current challenges as well as hear from some of the wisest thinkers in the Industry, join next year's Masters 2018.
Here is a flavour of our 2017 programme through some of our experts’ quotes which answer some of the pressing retail issues as well as some of the retail facts unearthed by our 2017 cohort during the week.
In terms of facts, I was staggered to learn that;:  “Just routine weather variations cost the European economy over half a billion Euros a year”
Weather - a perennial challenge not just for Retail but most sectors in some form or another, in fact there aren't many businesses whose performance isn't to some degree effected by weather. Equally I don't know of many, if any at all, that will acknowledge and accept its impact on business performance!



DR JONATHAN REYNOLDS

Academic Director - Oxford Institute of Retail Management, Said Business School

On the future:AssetAltText
“to distinguish between online and offline is now unrealistic –  as far as the customer is concerned it’s all as one”

 “We’re living in a new retail landscape where a blogger you’ve never heard of can be more influential than a £10m advertising campaign”

“Established retailers don’t have some kind of automatic right to own the customer relationship”
“Augmented reality provides one of biggest technical opportunities to enhance the customer experience”
“Retailing will no longer be the ‘gateway’ employer for many national economies.”
“If 3D printing means that manufacturing will be in the home in 10 years’ time, how will retailers add value?”



STEVE FINLAN

Chief Commercial Officer - Clarks

AssetAltText
On discounting and the race to the bottom:
“No organisation should really be in a position that they have to discount, if they’ve chosen the right product in the right quantity.  It’s about taking a deep breath and holding your nerve, in fact 23% of retailers did just that last November and didn’t participate in Black Friday”

On personalisation:
“We need the ability to be accurate and have a laser like focus, it has to be intelligent and relevant”

On the seismic changes in retail - have we been there before?
“It’s like comparing Messi with Pele, it was seismic at that time, it's hard to contrast , other than we can say is change is ever constant and more complex.”



SOHAIL SHAIKH

MD for Asia & Latin America - MothercareAssetAltText

On discounting and the race to the bottom:
“you can’t be a me too brand, you have to be clear what you’re choosing, top line and volume or  bottom line and profit, many businesses are confused with conflicting strategies”

On personalisation:
“You need to know your customers and build a picture of them but never tell a customer what they need based on some highly complex and unhelpful



KATE HARDCASTLE

Industry expert and commentator

On discounting and the race to the bottom:AssetAltText
“Maintain your price but provide added value or service rather than just rely on discount”

On personalisation:
“There is a tendency to use awfully inappropriate and inaccurate bombardments of emails and that is a turn off not a turn on.  Just because it’s got your name on it, doesn’t make it personalised.  You have to really make it personal to make it work.”
On understanding customers:
“How many companies really understand the emotional wellbeing of their customers?  Do they know that at least 1 in 4 adults are unhappy with their partners; have had a pay freeze for years and are doing 2 jobs instead of 1, with restructuring and bigger roles.   Do we actually engage with them in ways that understand and empathise with that, or are we just transactional?”

“There’s a real lack of understanding of youth in organisations, they are clever, sensible, "adult" teenagers and many businesses don't know how to connect with them”



ALAN GILES

Non-Executive Director, Associate Fellow - Said Business School

On customers:AssetAltText
“We all know that Smartphone owning consumers are more knowledgeable and we need to be even more knowledgeable its prominent everywhere.  One of the biggest challenges to GPs is the self-diagnosed patient”
Future customer experiences:
“Algorithmic customer responses are growing, already Woolworths/Samsung in Australia have fridges talking to the retailer. Every time you use a product it's replenished. Though if you want something different you'll need to re programme your fridge as the Algorithm will decide for you, this does suggest some major challenges for supplier relationships"
On Non-Execs
“Never doubt the integrity of your Non-Execs; they’re all proud of their careers and what they’ve been part of and that doesn’t diminish when they’re a Non-Exec of your company.  Their brand and reputation is still important.”



MARK WRIGHT

MD Digital, Jack Wills AssetAltText

On technology:
“You don't have to have all the latest technology, it needs to work for you. Taking the decision to stop our App felt a bold but necessary one. If it’s not working for you or your customers, don’t persevere for the sake of it”
On product range:
“There are no seasons in global online retailing, it's always summer somewhere"



MASTERS 2018

If you want to know how to position your retail business, for both the current and future challenges, as well as discuss with and hear from leading retailers and experts in the field, join him from 26th February -1st March 2018 at the Oxford Summer School Masters, Saïd Business School, Egrove Park.

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