Here’s my summary of the event and what CEO’s of major retailer talked about
Top 10 overall themes:

  1. Mobiles – customers will use them everywhere
  2. Multichannel – anything, anywhere, anytime, any mix
  3. Community: Be local in every respect (format, actions, sourcing, identity) and support  community actions and activities
  4. Retailers are spending money mCommerce and channel integration
  5. Customer power – recognition that they are smarter and more selective
  6. Creative new products and services to sell in-store and ways to engage
    customers beyond “how can I help you?”
  7. Price transparency will be the norm – Value is not another word for
  8. Facebook & Google
  9. Less stores and smaller sized stores – New roles for stores
  10. A flat year with lots of M&A activity at year end

Tesco CEO, Richard Brasher

  • 1in 5 web hits from mobile phones
  • Focus on families – help resolve their
    apprehensions, provide points of certainty, and help them access their
  • Always talk as if the customer is in the room
  • Get more involved in community
  • Get over yourself – you are just a shop

Kingfisher CEO, Ian Cheshire

  • Be more ambitious for growth. B&Q aim for 10% profit growth in 2011.
  • Make it easier to buy things
  • Make it easier to do things – lessons on tiling most popular training course provided
  • 10% of Screwfix web hits from mobile
  • 12% of all B&Q sales for sustainability products (insulation, solar panels etc)
  • Empower people to make decisions in the aisle

Debenhams CEO, Rob Templeman

  • Sales volume will reduce as customer move from “want” to “need”
  • On-line volumes up 80%  (from a low base)
  • Price relationship with competitors is key to understand
  • Much more flexible use of space required in-stores

New Look CEO, Carl McPhail

  • “Efficiencies” across Retail have already been taken  so need to do some different
  • Average customer age has moved up to 34 – customer grow older with New Look

Experian MD, Mark Zablan

  • +96% growth in coffee shops in last 10 years -37% decline in high street banks
  • 2011 retail grow 0.5% in-store and 1.5% on-line
  • 11% of retail sales in UK now on-line
  • Multichannel retailers get the biggest growth
  • Store experience – the #1 reason why customers want to buy in-store rather than on-line
  • Average footfall in stores: 08 -1%, 09 -2%, 10 –flat

Facebook head of Mid-Market Sales EMEA, Rick Kelly

  • 30M people use Facebook in UK at least once per month
  • Average # “friends” is 140
  • People will buy what their Facebook friendsm recommend and make purchases through Facebook
  • These guys are hard selling

Sainsbury’s Director of Brand Communications, Claire Harrison-Church

  • Saving money has become “cool”

Halfords CEO, David Wild

  • Sales of more expensive car batteries with 5 year guarantee up over lower cost alternatives
  • Over 30% of car light bulbs now fitted by Halfords (was 8% 3 years ago)
  • Introduced dropoff pickup bike repair to and from work

Aurora Fashions President, Stewart Binnie

  • Try it on and buy in-store and then have it delivered plus any other mix that you might want
  • Products bought over the web and returned to store is a selling opportunity and better than just giving a refund
  • Sales staff are low paid but with high commission including a share of on-line sales in their geography
  • UK stores are centrally controlled at the details level. Other countries give much more freedom at local store level
  • French woman want to see one example dress on display not a rail full of the same dress

Hotel Chocolat co-founder, Angus Thirlwell

  • Original name was Choc Express – took 9 months for new name to stick with staff
  • (Useless fact: his father invented Mr Whippy)

Risk Capital Partners Chairman, Luke Johnson

  • Pizza Express have the same product everywhere but with different store layouts often in listed buildings to justify price and give a different experience

ITV Chairman, Archie Norman

  • Close 4% of stores each year in all trading conditions

Waitrose MD, Mark Price

  • Understand the split between food of now and food for later
  • Predicts 10% on-line by end of decade
  • Contribution to community
  • (Most of the presentation was about Waitrose culture)

Asda CEO, Andy Clarke

  • The strategy is: Price – Quality – Community
  • Customers try products first and only those endorsed go into store
  • Give store managers more time to engage with the local community
  • Care about the community within 1 mile of the store

Boots CEO, Alex Gourlay

  • Boots Purpose statement: Champion everyones right to feel good
  • Create more brands and sub brands
  • Theatrical more than factory fast
  • You can’t lock it down any more – there is no perfect model and it keeps moving

Fat Face Chairman, Alan Giles  

  • All stores deliberately look different from each other and fit in with the local community
  • Many stores in very small towns with no competition

HMV CEO, Simon Fox

  • Introducing loyalty scheme and unique HMV products
  • Every day a singer in each store
  • Suppliers product launches in multiple stores
  • A destination for entertainment not just CD’s
  • Dedicated gaming and entertainment areas in-store
  • Everything out to try
  • Sell more media devices and accessories such as Apple
  • Run own events and sell tickets in-store
  • (Some similar ideas to The Times. Orange and Vodafone)

Ogilvy Vice Chairma,n Rory Sutherland

  • The simpler secret is first make it easy then people just do it – example recycling
  • A shareholder value goal upsets staff and
    customers and therefore makes no sense at all and does not even improve shareholder value
  • People use points from loyalty schemes for guilty spends which are usually high margin for the Retailer
  • People don’t normally choose the cheapest or dearest they choose the “safe” one in the middle
  • Customers usually make channel choices before brand choices
  • Everything is relative so we need a comparison – our task is to make the comparison favourable to what we want them to buy
  • Don’t compare expensive tea to other cheap teas on the store shelf compare it to the cost per cup in  of coffee Starbucks
  • They sell Rolls Royces at boat and plane shows because they cost less than boats and planes

Many retailers talked about same or similar prices on-line and in-store and standard prices across the country. Some also said that this will be cross format too. Look out for more channel only offers and products only available via certain channels.  Retailers need to be flexible and creative in terms of offers, value and in-store experience.
Facebook and Google are trying  to change the rules
Prepared by Malcolm Wicks, Marketing Director, Pierhouse