I received a kind invite from Al Keck of Infinity Nation for a multichannel workshop dinner at the lovely Whatley Manor venue in Wiltshire the other week…..you know, the Moonraker county that hosts Salisbury, south of the Plains, recently the most famous city in the world and now the cleanest most secure city in the UK. The dinner focused on retail and the multichannel sector, a subject that I find most fascinating and dynamic. Due to the open broadcast of this story I shall obscure names for Chatham House rules applied but rest assured there were some big guns present, with plenty of experience behind them and the main focus of the evening was – where’s it all going, stores and online..and the customer?
Whilst taking in the ambiance and scenery for inspiration, we noticed a striking lady with a famously familiar face that you just couldn’t put a name to. Later that evening we did press a waitress for details, but her training held out and no fellow diner details were shared. Well done to Whatley Manor for the high standards!
The evening continued and the debating became more intense. Views were shared of city centres becoming full of nursing homes, supported solely by coffee and charity shops, full of silver surfers searching for bargains or that magic valuable find. Others suggested that existing stores will become brand experience centres where you arrive, touch, feel and smell the quality, supported with food and drink venues to help the destination become family friendly and used as meeting points. Once the product browsing was done, an order for direct shipment to home or click and collect that following weekend could be made, other fellow diners shared that local councils are implementing initiatives to re-introduce our previous status as a nation of independent shopkeepers offering niche, innovative, refreshingly new products not normally stocked by the main high street brands as a way to draw people in.
The topic moved onto the likely technology that will support retailing of the future, one that supports the needs of the business in terms sales and profit, leveraging available inventory for any channel, optimising distribution for domestic and international sales, despatching from stores, supplier drop shipping, automating manual processes, to name but a few and what of the customer experience. Technology that leaves queuing in-store in the past, in-store beacons sending personalised offers in real time, social selling on the fly, with narrative of the products and brand, driving that emotional connection to the purchase.
The subject of how both retailers and customers keep up with the pace of change can be debated for hours but at some point we had to draw the evening to a close. An event occurred that was unexpected. Through the window outside, alongside the diners, a pair of gates swung open, a yellow Lamborghini pulled in. The well-dressed lady casually rose from her table and walked to the door and onward to the car. Doors opened skyward and in she slid, with a quick burst of power she was gone. We were convinced this was a pop star or perhaps a famous blogger, it was a natural point upon which to close the evening.
Whilst driving home, I pondered, there are facts that can be drawn from the data. Customers, whether millennials, Y generation or silver surfers have their own shopping habits. Key is a retailer’s adaptability. Darwin had a thing or two to say about this, if product brands and retailers of the future are going to survive, they will use technology and solutions that can adapt, do what they need within the core but allow a retailer to react and step outside when the need occurs. They will need centralised data feeding AI and analytic service providers that determine their customer, their journey, their engagement with the brand and be able to react AND proactively engage those channels used by the customer at the right place, at the right time and with the right context.
If this topic resonates and an informal chat would be of value, let me know. We are engaged with MNP Solution users right now, suggesting best practice areas of focus for their retail technology roadmap, we too are implementing our multichannel solutions that provide the real -time operational data hub, empowering some of that good stuff above. Call or email anytime.
If I do find out who was in the yellow Lambo driver was, I’ll let you know…but only if you call.
Pierre D’Arbost – Head of Multichannel 01722 341342 or firstname.lastname@example.org
@MNPthesolution we are all set and raring to go for IRX2018! Come and see us on Stand G61 if you are attending in Birmingham over the next couple of days – we’d love to see you. 🙂
Did we party like it was 1999? Just preparing for IRX 2018 and found this in the Exhibition Archive File!! We have come a long way….check out the computers and stand build!! #throwbackthursday #tbt #1999 #exhibition #IRX2018
Short month – which is great when payday comes around quicker 🙂 but harder to get everything needing doing into 4 short weeks! Have a look at our short newsletter to see industry colleagues that we’ve been working with this month and what’s been happening at MNP HQ. Read more HERE
Getting ourselves organised for Internet Retailing Expo at NEC, Birmingham in March. Looking forward to attending. If you are are going to be there, come and see us at stand G61, we’d love to meet you!
Our US office are looking forward to attending NEMOA in Boston in March from 14-16. Catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. Its always a busy summit and excited to hear and share news with industry colleagues. If you are attending and want to make a meet up email Scott Karlo at or connect to him via LinkedIN
You can also follow MNP on Twitter to keep abreast other events we are attending in the US and UK this year.
A busy start to 2018 at MNP and we are joined by two new clients going live this month…find out more from our January Newsletter HERE
Womenswear etailer Baukjen has recorded a 20% increase in annual sales to £12m for the year to 31 January, despite reducing discounting.
The British based-business, founded in 2012, increased sales by 40% over Christmas compared with 2016.
The company said it was making “solid profits” but did not provide figures. In 2018 the etailer plans to raise capital to fuel further growth.
CEO Geoff van Sonsbeeck said: “We’re delighted with the continued strong performance of Baukjen despite the challenging retail market. We’re excited about 2018 and the opportunities it will bring, including taking the brand multi-channel.”
Congratulations!! to BOX2 our new client going live with MNP Multichannel Solutions, Active Series, Order Management System this month.
Due to their continued success and growth and their International appeal, Box2 have introduce a system that has automated their processes and increased efficiency.
National and International orders can now be more easily despatched using one inventory and expand their capacity without the need to increase resources.
In 2005 the launch of the new website brought the Box2 brand of plus size clothing to its widest possible audience offering the full range of clothes and accessories to ladies across the world. The website provides the personal service, attention to detail and, of course, the highest quality collections that have become synonymous with Box2 over the past 30 years.
Ladies of all sizes, from all over the world, are now able to enjoy the fabulous experience of shopping with Box2.
Congratulation’s Fragrance Direct. Thank you from all at MNP!
OrderActive was selected to support the new Demandware ecommerce platform set live earlier this year, second phase was to implement MNP’s PSMActive (Buying and product management) and WMSActive (warehouse management) to help support the fantastic growth of the business. Critical is a warehouse management system capable of fulfilling many 000’s of orders per day. The WMS solution will help improve productivity through process automation, reduce picking errors and provide accurate available inventory to all sales channels thus powering a key customer experience. PSMActive was chosen to formalise the product lifecycle, management of suppliers and place multi currency purchase orders for replenishment. We wish Fragrance Direct the sweet smell of even more success in 2018.
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“Our record for order placement to in-store customer collection is 7 minutes, which is shorter than most Meatloaf songs ...
“We instantly felt that MNP’s in-depth knowledge and expertise of wrapping their software around many different direct ...
“We chose MNP because their passion was clear from the outset. From their first site visit to see how we operate they were ...
“The great thing with MNP is that it’s their own product and they have the programming power to quickly create custom ...
“During the testing phase, our system reduced average order taking time by about 20%. It also reduced the system training ...
"MNP has been with us throughout our journey and our relationship with them has been one of the major factors that has ...
"MNP reduced our headcount, overhead cost and lead times while increasing our accuracy and improving our customer service. ...
The speed of purchase order creation and new product set up has vastly improved, and has therefore enabled the purchasing ...
"Using MNP’s ActiveSeries ERP we’ve been able to process returns more quickly and accurately, reducing our average ...