Theretailacademyuk's Blog

The devil you know or the devil you don’t?
14/09/2009, 10:09 am
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Tory vs Labour

Tory vs Labour

Its September time, which can only mean one thing. Summer is nearing an end. The weather is turning, schools are reopening and summer recess is coming to an end. However, the start of this parliamentary session feels unmistakably different from most. The reason? This year is election year and the stakes are high. The public is given the choice whether, after more than a decade of being in government whether they should stick with the devil they know or put their in faith in a devil they don’t.

Many of the issues which will strike a chord with the electorate are constantly aired in public; who will do what to improve bank regulation without curbing the UK’s competitiveness; what will be done to resolve the expenses scandal etc etc…..  In the past few months the retail sector has been embroiled in the election struggle with business failures on many high streets accelerating. So who, from a retail point of view, is best the best devil to side with.

It appears certain at this moment in time that one of the devils we don’t know has stolen a march on all others. The Conservatives are polling well and look set to dethrone Labour after so a handful of failed attempts. They certainly seem keen to respond to the needs of retailers of all sizes. They argued against the Business Rates Supplement bill in parliament which aims to introduce a levy on retailers across the country in areas where council led local development projects are undertaken. They have just launched a report into the problems and solutions to retail crime, an issue the current government is often accused of ignoring. They have also, spoken out against possible government changes to planning policy which could expose the vulnerability of the high street and damage the prospects for town centre based stores.

Sounds like a good a deal for retailers, a deal which could push forward a recovery in the sector. But just before we recall our soul from devil and sign it off to another, let’s backtrack a little. Yes, the Conservatives argued against the Business Rates Supplement bill in principal, but argued for it in the Conservative run Greater London.

What also, of funding for retail education? The current government, through intermediaries has made money available for retail learning, a topic which is at the heart of Retail Academy’s philosophy. There are huge question marks over whether this will continue if the Tories come to power.

And finally, can a Conservative government bring strong growth to the economy as Labour did when they came into power over 12 years ago? It seems weird to be saying that but Gordon Brown’s skills a steward of the economy are more honed than his opposite number.

From a retail point of view I’m not sure which party is best to lead the government just at the moment. The one thing I can say is that the Conservatives have as good an opportunity as they’ve had since the early 90s.

Of course, the choice isn’t just between two devils, there are others (one of which has half of chance of even beating Labour in the general election.) But we are yet to get information on their retail sector related policies. Things will be hotting up over the course of the next few months. So if a week is a long time in politics then all is still to play for. Let us know how you think retail policy affects things at store, or are the politicians missing the point completely?


The Retail Manifesto
09/09/2009, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

We have been giggling away at some little gems we found on an Australian Blog.RAlogo

We first encountered the Templar Group on Twitter recently and despite the Retail Academy’s best efforts to keep up with their prolific marketing output, we are desperately trying to catch up. So, we set up our own little Twitter feed and even a Facebook Page, and then we joined LinkedIn

But in homage to how it should be done we’d like to share a few of these little Retailing Gems with you. It’s a guide for ‘proper’ behaviour for customers devised by a small tourist trinket shop.

I think many of you may secretly sympathise with many of these sentiments. Feel free to add your own below!

On Saturday afternoons, please do not be angry when I cannot accept a 50 or 100 dollar bill for that 1.59 cent pack of gum. I have less than $200 in the drawer, and can not make change and have more left over for the next day and half. Why can’t I just get change? Because, A-it’s Saturday, and banks are closed, so I can’t get change, and B-None of the other stores can make change for 100 because, frankly, we are all in the same boat. Also, I am here by myself, and I am not using my unpaid break to walk to the grocery store to break it, unless you want to pay me.2. As previously stated, this is a small business.

We do not currently have a Bar-code scanning system so that we can get you in and out in less than 30 seconds. I have to type each number in individually, and sometimes determine whether or not the code is a duplicate. It will take a minute. Please do not be upset. I am going as fast as I can. And frankly, I don’t want you here either.

Please, if you don’t like the things we carry, then leave. Don’t complain that you are offended to me. For every one of you tight-asses, there are 400 people who buy that item. I understand that the medium of the store is slightly risque, but that’s our stores charm. If you want some cheesy tourist tack, there are 90 other stores in a mile radius carrying that.

If you don’t like our prices, don’t shop here. Leave. Don’t complain to me. Frankly, I don’t care. And if I could do something for you (which I can) I wouldn’t. On principle, you snivelling warthog. If you don’t want to pay 3.25 for a vintage birthday card that you can only find here, then go to Wal Mart and pay 3-5 dollars for one that everyone else is giving that person too. BLANK you, corporate slave.

When I ask if I can help you, I mean it. See, I work here. Nearly 40 hours of my week, every week are spent putting away, labelling, cleaning and stocking merchandise. I pretty much know where everything is. So instead of acting like I have the plague, ask me where to find what you are looking for, and for suggestions if you aren’t really sure. That way, I can help you find what you need, and you can get the hell out of my way.

When I tell you that we close in 5 minutes, it usually means that we are closed, but I am being nice and allowing you to shop anyways. Do not give me attitude, and do not linger for 20 minutes. I hate you.

If I am helping another customer, instead of jumping in front of them, tapping me on my shoulder, or just shouting over us, how about waiting politely until I am available. Unless you are God himself, you are not important than the person I am already helping.

Our store is about 40 feet long. It takes less than 30 seconds to walk from one end to the other. If you take something out, put it away. Don’t be a child.

If you went to Wal Mart, or Target and tried to negotiate prices, they would laugh at you. What in hell makes you think its ok to do here?

I do hope this makes it easier for me, the salesperson, and you, the customer, to relate to each other. Hopefully we can have a meaningful relationship where I take your money and you don’t annoy the hell out of me..”.