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The Retail Forum | Post Event Newsletter


Phoebe Cherrill | 10/06/2014
Filed under: Retail

Bill Grimsey “Overcapacity is such a severe problem that it could, ultimately, result in the disappearance of one of the big 4 grocers”.

Bill Grimsey’s opening address challenged retailers to recognise that the end of the downturn does not signal the end of structural change in the sector; indeed, if anything the pace and severity of change is likely to accelerate over the next few years. The address threw out a number of challenges, not least among them, the issue of overcapacity in the sector. The only long term solution to this is less space brought about through the closure of underperforming stores. So severe is this problem that it could, ultimately, result in the disappearance of one of the big 4 grocers, said Grimsey.

Neil Saunders "Consumers today are more demanding and have higher expectations from retailers and products; this makes them difficult, and sometimes expensive, to serve.”


Bill’s sentiments were echoed in the presentation by the forum’s chairman, Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Conlumino,  which explored how the consumer would change in the post-downturn environment. It was noted that not all trends which have emerged during the downturn would disappear as the economy came back to life. Indeed, some trends have become entrenched and established – such as the polarisation of buying which sees some consumers trading up to more expensive goods while at the same time buying from discounters. Another key theme was that consumers today are more demanding and have higher expectations from retailers and products; this makes them difficult, and sometimes expensive, to serve. 

Joe McEwan “ensure that only people who believe in the brand and who fit well with the company ethos are hired”


Great customer experience doesn't just come from metrics; it also comes from passion and belief which was  something Joe McEwan, Head of Digital and Communities at Innocent had in spades. Joe told the story of how Innocent had been founded and how it has grown in a way that respects communities, fosters openness in communications and builds an engaged and active community around its products. One of Joe’s key messages for maintaining a unique culture, even as a business grows, is to ensure that only people who believe in the brand and who fit well with the company ethos are hired – even if this means leaving a vacancy open for a while.

Matt Watkinson “brands and products need to be clear about what they stand for and deliver on their promises”

Matt Watkinson, customer experience expert,  explored the theme of serving customers in his presentation and outlined ten principles behind a great customer experience. One of Matt’s contentions is that a good customer experience is about setting and then meeting or exceeding expectations, as such it is important for brands and products to be clear about what they stand for and to deliver on their promises. This, in large part, explains why cheaper and premium brands can both be highly regarded with consumers even though they are markedly different in terms of proposition. It also explains why many middle market brands, which fail to manage expectations, are failing in the current environment.

Dennis Reid “building a high performance team requires appropriate KPIs for measurement and accountability”

Ensuring that retailers understand and deliver for the customer arguably comes down to having an engaged workforce; this was something explored by Dennis Reid, Managing Director of Retail Performance Specilaists. In his presentation Dennis argued that building a high performance team required appropriate KPIs for measurement, having clear actions in place to move numbers in the right direction, ensuring the presence of a learning culture, and making all of this endure through accountability and ongoing coaching. Using examples from clients, Dennis showed how this approach could create positive change in metrics such as sales, conversions or average transaction values.




Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Information and Learning


Kirsty Brown | 29/04/2014
Filed under: career, development, information, learning, network, social, association

The latest Richmond Events' business panel report on information and learning is now available. Please read on for headline findings and to download the free report.


Headline findings include:-
  • In terms of gaining learning beneficial to their everyday work, the main source is via conferences and networking events with 4 out of 5 of the panel indicating this as a preferred choice.
  • As for sources of career development learning opportunities, again the number one source is through conferences and networking events. This is followed by ‘my personal network’ and the internet.
  • The highest proportion of the panel, just over half, have previously studied for qualifications whilst in the workplace, whilst a further 22% are currently studying.
  • 69% of the panel are members of an industry association / professional body. The two most popular benefits of membership are expanding ‘my’ network and widening industry knowledge.
  • Asked which areas the panel would benefit from further training into, the top responses were for change management, language training and leadership training.
  • Asked which other departments the panel feels they would benefit from training about, the number one choice was into the workings of the finance department and the workings of the CEO.
  • 45% of the panel read sites / blogs virtually every day. This is much higher than the corresponding figures for readership of the financial press which is 24% every day and 25% quite regularly.
  • Social media – 95% of the panel use LinkedIn for business purposes. The next highest social media channel is Twitter with just over 1 in 3 of the panel doing likewise. Only 14% of the panel use Facebook within a business context.
You can download the full report here.

If you have any questions or would like further information, pleas contact David Clark.

Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Economic Outlook


Dominique Ede | 28/02/2014
Filed under: business, economy, government, growth, headcount, panel, profit, research, turnover, budget

The latest Richmond Events' business panel report on the economic outlook is now available. Please read on for headline findings and to download the free report.


Headline findings include:-
  • The panel delivers a somewhat mixed verdict on the government’s handling of the economy. However on the plus side for George Osborne, the figures are much more positive than for the previous year.
  • The panel predicts interest rates will be at (average) 0.9% in 1 year’s time and 2.11% in 3 years’ time.
  • 8% of the panel expects the economy to grow significantly over the coming year, whilst 72% expects it to grow marginally (last year these figures were 0% and 30% respectively). A further 18% expects it to stay much the same as it is now, whilst 2% expect it to shrink a little. No one expects it to shrink a lot.
  • 38% of the panel expects their industry sector to perform quite well in today’s economic environment, with a further 4% expecting it to perform very well. Once again a major turnaround from 12 months ago.
  • 52% of the panel expects steady growth for their organisation with a further 11% expecting rapid growth.
  • Interestingly, the panel is far more bullish about the prospects for their own organisations compared to that for their wider industry.
  • In terms of headcount, the number increasing it has risen significantly from last year to just over 35% of the panel, its highest figure in the 5 years we’ve undertaken the survey.
  • Turnover – the figures are up 20% from last year with just under two thirds expecting their turnover to increase.
  • It is a similar story for profit forecasts. 62% of the panel feels their organisation’s profit should increase in 2014, up from 43% last year.
  • The number who expect an increase in their budget for this year has almost doubled from 2013: 20% to 39%.
You can download the full report here.
 
If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact David Clark.

Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Tax and Welfare


Kirsty Brown | 06/11/2013
Filed under: business, defence, education, government, NHS, panel, tax, transport, welfare, budget

The latest Richmond Events’ business panel report on tax and welfare is now available. Please read on for headline findings and to download the free report.



The latest Richmond Events’ business panel report on tax and welfare is now available.

Headline findings include:-

Welfare spending - Exactly two thirds of the panel would advocate an uplift in the Old Age Pension, the highest increase for any area. 31% believe Job Seeker’s Allowance should be cut and 29% feel Universal Credit should be cut.

The NHS – half the panel believe that paying for the NHS should continue as at present, funded from general taxation, whereas 40% believe it should be a mixture of insurance and state funded provision. 31% believe the NHS should refuse treatment for conditions resulting from poor lifestyle choices.

Education
- Two thirds of the panel advocate no change from the current system. 72% disagree with any form of pupil means testing.

Defence
- The 2 areas that prompt the highest level of agreement are; Britain should stop seeing itself as the world’s (junior) policeman and Britain needs the 2 aircraft carriers currently under construction.

Transport
- The proposition with the highest agreement level is: ‘HS2 is a waste of money which would be better spent on multiple rail upgrades’. Bearing in mind that the key point of HS2 is that it is meant to benefit UK plc (i.e. those on the panel), this result is significant.

Taxation
– The majority agree that low taxation levels are the most important factor in encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in Britain. Closely followed by the assertion that ridding Britain of large amounts of red tape is the single most important government task to encourage overseas investment.

Government spending
- The top 3 areas where the panel wishes to increase government spending are transport (68%), business innovation (65%) and education (60%). The area with the highest percentage of the panel wishing to decrease spend is in International aid and Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs.

You can download the full report here.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact David Clark.


Richmond Events’ Business Panel Report – The Brand


Kirsty Brown | 11/04/2013
Filed under: business, customer, marketing, panel, reputation, research, brand

The latest Richmond Events’ business panel report on the brand is now available. Please read on for headline findings and to request the full report.



The latest Richmond Events’ business panel report on the brand is now available.

Headline findings include:-

  • Marketing is the department primarily responsible for developing the brand within 66% of organisations, with a further 24% leaving charge to the MD/CEO.
  • In terms of influence over the brand, marketing leads the way with 48%, followed by sales 27% and the MD/CEO 18%. 17% of the panel feel all departments have equal influence over an organisation’s brand.
  • 90% of the panel feel brand reputation is very important to their organisation, however only 68% say they measure it.
  • Of those that do the most popular measurement tools are customer focus groups 46%, competitor analysis 42% and social media tracking / analysis 39%.
  • The panel feels 47% of their department have high engagement levels with the brand, compared to only 32% of the wider organisation and the same figure (32%) for their customers.
  • 72% of the panel feel there is a slight mismatch between what their customers and what their employees think of their brand. However 70% feel their own perception of their brand is similar to their customers’ perception.
  • In terms of the importance of their organisation’s brand reputation to the panel personally, 26% say it’s essential - they’ll only work for an organisation with a strong brand, whereas 57% say it’s very important – a key factor as to where they work

For a copy of the full report please contact David Clark.
 


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