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John Stanley's Practical Retail Solutions - March 2013


The Dark Store has arrived!

In my presentations I have been stating that retailing will change more in the next five years than the last 100 years. I realise there are skeptics out there that think life goes on as normal. My new Trends e-book also looks at the opportunities that are available to retailers

A new word in retailing is the "Dark Store". The first one I was aware of was a TESCO store. This is where a retailer builds a warehouse to only act as an online store. 

Let's look at the facts

The top "bricks" retailers in the world generates $375,000 US per employee, compare this with an online store where the figure is $850,000 per employee.

On 14th Feb in the UK John Lewis, the UK departmental store and one of the UK's top "bricks" performers, announced it was axing 325 managers in its stores. This is because online selling over Christmas rose by 44% compared to the year before. The move to "Dark Stores" will affect retailers in many ways over the next few months and years.

The store with no sales people has arrived

In recent months I have been giving presentations on "Day Makers" as the role team members should be taking with the consumer. I have also mentioned that according to surveys clothes shops are perceived as providing the worst customer service.

Honiker, the German clothing company have solved the problem. They have eliminated the salesperson! The consumer downloads a phone app for the showroom. When she travels to the store she scans the QR Code for the clothing she wants to try on and goes straight to the fitting room where the clothes she wants to try on arrive automatically. She tries them on and if she wants to purchase she swipes her credit card on the tablet, picks up the goods and leaves the store.

Is this the future of retailing? I hope not! My Day Maker webinar can help you develop the skill of your team to ensure that you have the best retail team in town.

12 months of Christmas - a retail opportunity

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for many retailers, therefore if we could develop a year round Christmas of sales the retailer and consumer should be happy.

Imagine if Christmas was a year round event. The stock turn in your business would increase dramatically and in theory you would be able to provide better value to the consumer and have a healthier bottom line. Plus, build the customer loyalty that is often missing in the retail marketplace of today.

This is achievable, the fashion retailer Zara, which is the favourite fashion retailer of many consumers around the world, has achieved a Christmas thinking process in the fashion industry. They have taken a low stock turn retail industry and turned it around by providing the consumer with something new on a regular basis and hence changed the stock turn in their business compared to traditional thinkers.

My new Trends e-book also looks at some of these ideas in more depth.

Is this achievable in other retail sectors?

I recently chaired a conference session in Paris, France where Pascale Brousse, Trend Sourcing mentioned the concept of creating Christmas every month.

Taking the concept of Zara by developing a present for the customer every month. Wine and book clubs have done this for many years, but it may be the time to re-look at this as a retail opportunity.

My Little Box originated in the USA and has now spread to Europe. This is where the consumer is presented with a present every month via monthly subscription. Truffaut, the French Garden Centre chain is experimenting with a food gift box of local product.

The challenge is what you can provide as the monthly Christmas present.


Monthly presents can take many formats. The most common is to select a range of collectibles where the consumer can start their own collection. This locks the consumer in and is ideal for certain ranges of products.

Fashion lines

Fashion lines are another monthly opportunity where the consumer feels that they are staying in the latest fashion if they purchase monthly. When looking at monthly purchases the price point is critically important. It needs to be affordable within the monthly budget for your target consumer.

In the garden industry over the last twelve months we have seen miniature gardens become a theme where the consumer can purchase a miniature piece of garden equipment each month to develop new miniature garden landscapes.

The food industry has an even better opportunity as they can promote season food baskets each month and very the range with the season.

Have monthly presentation boxes

Part of the secret of success is adding value via presentation. The consumer needs a presentation box to make the purchase feel special. Customers should look forward to their presentation box and part of the pleasure is receiving a present that has to be unwrapped, just like at Christmas.

The present can be an out of store experience or consumers can be encouraged to come into the store to collect. Either way the key is to ensure that your brand is "Top of Mind" for your consumer.

New JSA Phone App

In January we launched our new Phone App to provide you with instant details and information on what I am doing and the trends in retailing.

The Phone App allows you to;

  • Purchase and download our products via the app
  • Pick up ideas through my You Tube, Blog and Twitter pages - access our ideas and products from wherever you are!
  • Directly access my Facebook pages Farm Retail Talks and John Stanley Associates providing you with great marketing examples and merchandising and display ideas - as myself and others travel the world we share ideas on Facebook to ensure that you get the latest ideas first!
  • Take notes and share ideas as well as get new products to help your business whilst in one of my workshops or presentations.
  • Download a FREE copy of my "The 10 most common mistakes retailers make and what you can do about it" e-book. This paper is only available to Phone App users.

Download our new Phone App from the iTunes App or Play Store for your smartphone, just type in John Stanley and download.


John Stanley has been called the leading horticultural consultant in the world today. His practical low cost ideas not only save his clients money, he makes his clients money. His practical solutions have made him an acclaimed conference speaker, retail consultant and author. For more information on how he can help your business grow, visit his website www.johnstanley.com.au, or email info@johnstanley.com.au

Source: HortiTrends News Room