Is it best to have complete control and ownership centrally from within a business or rely on a retail supplier to provide accountability?
This article has its roots in a recent conversation with a retailer, who believed that attaining the project lead for a new store should remain 100% within the business and direction is passed to designers, architects, manufacturers and shop fitters.
It asks the questions should you keep all your eggs in one basket or utilize what others can provide?
The One Constant
The key aspect here is no matter whether everything is kept in house or apply the services of an outside supplier, one thing will always remain, are the solutions provided relevant to the business within an evolving marketplace?
Resolution Interiors are a specialist within interiors within the retail industry. This was centred on a belief from our MD, Andy Lovell, that retail clients were not serviced well. What this provided was the opportunity to build a close relationship, over time with a customer base.
The company is now recognised as a complete 360 project management to delivery resource. The origins of the business were built on understanding the design of a product, creating the spec and eventually manufactured and delivered (installed) within a limited time frame.
The principals of the company have always remained, but once conversations begin and a bond is forged, the dialogue moves to areas that require assistance.
Making Lives Easier
It doesn’t matter whether everything is kept in house or outsourced to a project management specialist; there is another constant that will remain, to make people’s lives easier by resolving problems. It begins and ends with a space that other people will reside and interact with.
It represents what we have achieved with GLTC and the recent opening of their first physical showroom in London’s Wandsworth. The company had never opened a store before. We were able to provide a holistic view from store opening to closing. What started as questions, helped build a framework for an actual store.
What we have become is a resource for brands to tap into during their journey where they have come to a pivotal point. We become that support for the next step in the brand evolution. Resolution Interiors journey has evolved from retail fit-outs, to a central space of retail knowledge and application for others.
This is where we all are, to continually remain relevant to someone else. It is why the Retail Outlet project has become an ongoing responsibility to curate a discussion for where the retail industry is heading.
A company has to continually provide value to others, otherwise they don’t keep up with how society and the retail industry is changing so the eventually struggle. The only alternative to change is eventual obsolescence.
When Woolworths collapsed in 2008 it became a watershed moment for UK retail. It also becomes the premise for this article. Whether a retailer decides to control everything or delegate and form a bond with a retail project management team, those brands that fail are those that have an inability to change quick enough and the inability to innovate to remain relevant to a marketplace. You can add to the list Comet, Jessops, Borders and Oddbins as examples of those who were not committed to doing things differently.
Partnerships Are Key
Working in partnership with an outside supplier and not holding tight to the reigns (100% controlled centrally), is everything about working with someone who sees something that not many others have recognised. It is about seizing an opportunity and having the ability to deliver.
Resolution Interiors is a project management run business, our supply chain is critical. If a client suggested increasing digital integration, we acknowledge that we can’t do ourselves but our partners can assist. This is where the infrastructure of a resource to the retail industry has prominence. For instance, with the rise of mobile phone beacon technology, shoppers can be targeted with more relevant information than ever before. Have a read of this article with Mike Crooks, Head of Innovation at Mubaloo/IPG.
A brand needs to be continually challenged for why they exist and the role that they play within a marketplace. There is no such thing as standing still. A conversation can open up a relationship that goes beyond transactional, but to understand how a space functions.
For instance, Farrow & Ball tendered the opportunity to redesign their showroom in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Detail was provided from a survey of branch managers to how their current showrooms function, that provided detailed knowledge to interpret.
Rather full responsibility with our design team, from the very beginning the delivery team had a key role to play to understand the practicalities as well as materials and the durability of show home proposal. The first concept store was delivered from design to build and a new store is scheduled with the Resolution Interiors team.
Let’s Round Up
If a retailer is looking to take full control and responsibility, there are some key areas to look at:
- The ability to adapt. Within today’s retail landscape, the pace of change is at a speed that is faster than it has ever been. Whether competition is on or offline, every decision made has to come back to the question of whether a company can readjust.
- Can innovation be introduced seamlessly and is there the framework in place built on understanding and the investment with allies who understand technology as well as a marketplace.
- As well as adapting, brands have to continually remain relevant. Brands have to constantly be connected to customers and the industry. Customers just want things easy and if that means a store design that compliments the way they look at the world, and then brands have to deliver.
When a retailer works with an outsourced project team, the end result is a space that has its origins from a brief. The whole journey is based on guidance, trust and a role as a trusted advisor. These are the elements that 100% internal control can open up to and embrace.