A workplace paradigm shift?

Many companies are now planning to bring staff back off furlough (at its peak there were 9.3 million people furloughed) and start to open up their offices, albeit with a reduced capacity. The question still remains about where staff will be expected to conduct their work. This blog outlines some of the observations I’ve had over the last few months and speculates as to how this virus will enable a significant shift in where we work and our work commute patterns.

I do think it is unlikely that there will be a return to the commuting patterns pre-covid. This has numerous implications for businesses that accommodate staff in offices, businesses that are located to service historic worker populations, support the journey to and from work, and also how we utilise our home space.

Our 2020 Location Planning and Customer Insight Practitioners’ Salary Survey (collected pre-covid in January 2020) indicated that flexible working is on the increase, from 68% in 2018 to 71% in 2020. Working from home has significantly increased, from 58% in 2018 to 69% of respondents in 2020. It is very likely that these percentages, in our focus industry of Insight and Analytics, will increase when we carry out the survey again in 2022.

The commuter commotion 

I have done this myself and know of hundreds of people who have followed a similar path. As people move through their life-stages there is often a desire to move from renting to getting on the housing ladder and purchasing a property. There tends to be an affordability gap between homes in close proximity to peoples’ work (which are typically city based) forcing first time buyers to look further afield, which results in a longer, more expensive, commute.

Before coronavirus, my Facebook timeline was occasionally littered with complaints from friends’ commuting experiences. They followed a common thread; their commute was a necessary chore, fraught with overcrowded, inconsiderate (and sometimes smelly) people the ‘pleasure’ of which often comes at no small price (which only increases every January!). I read in the Sunday papers the other week that our trains are currently operating with better punctuality than German trains, granted services have been severely curtailed and are operating at less than 50% of capacity, but is it economically viable? This pandemic will change commuter patterns long term and it has the attention of Whitehall officials both from a financial support perspective, where billions are being spent to ensure the transport system remains in operation, to pressure on the transport providers to find new ways of incentivising ‘regular’ passengers.

Pre-lockdown behaviour for those who typically did a 4 or 5 day commute was influenced by company culture and expectation but it was also influenced by the use of rail or tube season tickets. In terms of culture one person I spoke to described it as being made to feel guilty for working from home – this was obviously pre-Covid and I would imagine that this guilt may dissipate to a certain degree post-Covid. On the commute there is normally a cut off (usually between 3-4 commutes a week) that means it’s economically beneficial to switch from individual day passes to weekly, monthly or yearly season tickets. Once you have bought that longer-term ticket you are likely to feel even more compelled to make sure you are using it above the magic number of trips. No one likes to pay for trips that they don’t use.

The train operators will have to (and some have already) introduce more flexible options, such as 3 or 4 day season tickets, and the option for ‘carnet’ style tickets which allow you to bulk buy a set number of journeys per month, quarter or year. Like with many businesses this pandemic may significantly change the business model of the transport providers – which currently ‘penalises’ peak time commuters with high ticket prices for a (largely) poor experience to subsidise the provision of services at off peak times. Regular commuters may be concerned about the price increases that are likely to be implemented in January 2021 given the volumes of passengers will unlikely return to previous numbers.

Redress the balance for working mums 

It has been a well-documented frustration of mine that our industry has not been very good at retaining working mums. Some mothers find it hard to justify continuing in their employment if they are expected to do a full commute, particularly if that commute is lengthy as they have moved to a place in the suburbs that is more affordable and offers better schooling options. I know it is getting easier in terms of parents sharing the parental burden and the traditional role of the male as the ‘main breadwinner’ is thankfully changing. Businesses can also help by being more flexible in their expectations and to show willing and more understanding of the impact a commute has on young mothers who have to often juggle two full time roles.

The Head/Support office

This pandemic has certainly challenged thinking about the future role of offices as a place to work.

Offices should be a place to promote corporate values, provide a meeting place for clients and suppliers and somewhere to foster collaboration between colleagues.

Covid-compliance for offices contains some fairly stringent guidance which will certainly impact offices in terms of occupancy, cleaning and layout.

 Working Safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres

Download Working Safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres

Companies have always had an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees.  The above guidance states that “no-one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment” particularly in relation to a potentially fatal virus.  This will mean that there will be a shift in emphasis to an individual assessment of whether working in an office poses an acceptable level of risk, coupled with the individual’s role/function and their ability to perform to the expected level in either an office or home environment.  Other changes are at force which are driven by technology.  The main driver is the increase in broadband speeds to residential areas (granted there is still great variability depending on how near you are to a switch or exchange) meaning that the office is no longer the only place to find fast connectivity speeds.  Most households that have teenage children (including mine) will see an immediate increase in their bandwidth when schools are able to open at capacity.  Mobile computing means that most office tasks can be carried out securely and efficiently from home. Connectivity software such as Zoom, Skype, and Teams etc. means that we can connect with distributed colleagues in a variety of manners. 

For those of us used to working in collaborative office environments the lockdown has certainly been a challenge and most people miss (and crave) that face-to-face engagement with colleagues.  Humans are naturally social animals and despite the fantastic features with these connectivity tools, it’s never quite the same as being in the same room as someone. As confidence improves and measures are eased it is all about finding a balance that works for both the company and the individual. 

Businesses with central offices, reliant in the main on public transport for staff to get in, will need to be more flexible about office staffing levels and acceptable hours of work.  This will allow staff to decide on the most appropriate times to commute in order to avoid peak congestion times.  This will help alleviate some of the peak pressure that has been faced by the transport companies and help spread demand to times where there is more capacity. As well as reducing the risk of virus exposure there will also be the benefits of a nicer commute.  It could also result in offices, which will have to operate at reduced capacity, being utilised for more hours of a day.  I could envisage there being two office shifts – one for those who come in early and leave early and one for those who travel later and leave later. Alternatively, people may wish to extend their office hours for the limited days they are in i.e. come in early and leave late. 

Some business are moving completely to remote – given that the second biggest cost after staff costs is usually office rent, I can see why some businesses are doing this.  A close friend of mine who works for a tech business in central London was in the process of moving to a new office as the virus impact took hold.  They have now decided to go completely remote as this significant cost saving could help turn the business around as revenues have been hit by the pandemic.  They will be looking at flexible, cost effective ways to get everyone together at periodic times through the year once it is safe to do so.  One potential challenge with a move to more flexible working is that of clarity in an employment contract and definition of their usual place of work. 

The new town centre use

This section was inspired by an excellent panel discussion a few months ago hosted by Said Business School.  The discussion centred on some of the issues highlighted above in terms of changing commuting patterns, the future role of the office and the opportunity that presents itself as a result for our town centres. The panel talked of a ‘third’ workplace (first being the office, second being home) which is likely to be within a short distance of home, based in some of our smaller towns and cities.  This third space is likely to be flexible, affordable co-working space.  A place where people have a safe and secure working environment with good wi-fi connectivity, private rooms and good drink making facilities! A good example of such facility would be Perch in Bicester (https://www.perchcoworking.co.uk/pioneer-square/).  The major cities often have a range of co-working facilities and there are a number of national providers in this space.  My sense of smaller locations is that these are often local run initiatives.  Perhaps there is a franchise opportunity for a chain of co-working spaces in smaller locations that could leverage the abundance of (retail) space that a lot of our town centres can offer? 

These spaces provide an opportunity to have a break from the home office environment or an alternative to going into the central office for those people that are unable to work from home.  It’s not the same as working with colleagues in an office, unless by chance there is a local cluster of colleagues living near each other, but there are still opportunities for networking and collaboration.  The other benefit would be that it would give a vital footfall boost to some of the smaller towns and cities which could be important to help national and independent retail, service and F&B chains survive this crisis caused by the pandemic.  

There is little doubt that this pandemic will change the way we (workers and companies) evaluate our commuting choices and our workplace locations in the light of pandemic risk.   

I do think there has been a significant psychological impact of the pandemic and a lot of people, myself included, are now caught in two minds.  We crave for some of the freedoms to return but we are also fearful of potential exposure to the virus (regardless of the extremely low probabilities) from doing certain ‘unnecessary’ activities.  This fear will dissipate as we slowly take back some of those lost liberties and gain confidence in our diminishing chances of catching the disease. For me, I’d rather not share a cramped enclosed space with a host of strangers on a tube (regardless of whether they have got masks or not) but still crave going to support my favourite football team in the stadium or going to watch an indoor gig.  

I do think that individuals will want to have greater flexibility in their commuting patterns and caring, trusting organisations will support that to the benefit of all in the move to recovery. 

What are your thoughts? Are you planning and hoping to return to your normal commute and working environment? Think you’ll end up with a blended working structure or would you actually prefer to work from home? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo by Visual Tag Mx from Pexels

Cash is King

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like we’re in limbo at the moment? We are slowly adjusting to a post (high levels of..) COVID world where the shackles of lockdown are gradually being released (unless you live in Leicestershire).

It’s an ever changing situation; only yesterday I completed a consumer survey where I stated that I didn’t intend to go comparison goods shopping anytime soon. Then today I am planning on taking my kids up to Cheshire Oaks for the afternoon. It was originally going to be a trip to Chester city centre but a few shops that my kids wish to go to are temporarily closed. The same shop is open out of town, presumably an indication that some brands are staggering their opening strategy depending on in town/out of town stores. It could be a space determinant or it could be to see how traditional city centres, with a greater reliance on public transport as a means for people to get in and out play out in terms of (footfall) recovery.

Depeche Mode Enjoy
Depeche Mode Enjoy

The chart below is a recent snapshot from Red Tiger Talent’s accounting system. It makes for stark viewing and is likely to be reflective of other consumer led and consulting businesses. The blue bars are cash in, and the grey bars are cash out. January 2020 showed a spike in our costs where the business paid out Dividends to the directors, a move typical of smaller limited companies where monthly, quarterly or six monthly payments are seen as a more flexible and tax efficient means with which to reward business profitability. Late February was looking pretty good: we had cash coming in from placements made over the previous 3 months and we were actively working on a healthy number of recruitment roles. Events in early March reminded me of the voting in Paddy McGuiness’s dating show Take Me Out – we had a number of lights on (assignments) and in the space of a few days all of our lights had gone out with recruitment being put on hold – the only thing missing was the comedy noise of all our lights being switched off at once!

On the cost side, we at Red Tiger run a very tight ship, with fairly minimal overheads and no extra costs associated with expensive city centre offices or headcount. In fact, COVID-19 forced us to temporarily pause our search for an Apprentice (more on that later).

Our second biggest business expense is usually travel and entertainment which dropped right down since mid-March as we, like a lot of people, have been fulfilling all of our business obligations from home. There must be so many larger businesses with significant office and headcount costs which could not be immediately switched off when lockdown happened. These businesses have been carrying these costs and eating into their cash reserves while income is still waiting to recover. In all my businesses we have worked on the basis of a ‘going bust’ date that is subject to various scenarios on income and costs. This was one of the first exercises we did post COVID-19 and it was useful as it gave us comfort that as a direct result of retaining some of our profits within the business we would have enough (if we controlled our costs) to see us through to beyond a pessimistic economic recovery in early 2021.

The peak of cash in May 2020 was not some unexpected recruitment income, but a cash injection courtesy of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). We decided to get this loan just in case and will start to pay back in 12 months’ time with the hope that we will never need to use it. That said, it has given us the confidence to once again push ahead with finding an apprentice, the thinking being that we should have a good pick of quality candidates (with less competition from other hirers) and if the successful candidate joins in September we expect them to hit the ground running in the new year. I would just urge as many businesses as possible to follow our lead and try to be bullish in switching on your recruitment – you could steal a march on your competitors and there are going to be plenty of quality candidates available. It is certainly turning from a sellers’ market (candidate) to a buyer’s market (company) in recruitment.

July 2020 is looking a little better for Red Tiger Talent, and whilst it certainly isn’t back to former glories, we are due some extra income from successful placements in lockdown, as well as payment of outstanding invoices on COVID-19 extended credit terms. We will not be getting overly excited though as we are used to the recruitment lag. A lot of the work is done in the run up to placement, then a delay of 1-3 months when notice periods are typically served,. We then receive our fees 30 days (if we are lucky) after the successful candidate starts, which means we have a good view on (lack of) recruitment income 2-3 months out. Where we stand today we know that we are not currently in line to bill any clients for placements in July or August.

I am sure that this is a similar situation to a lot of other businesses. My call to action is for everyone to get out and spend. Spend like there is another lockdown imminent around the corner. Support all local businesses because we won’t appreciate them when they are gone! I feel we all have a collective responsibility to get the economy moving again, and I appreciate that the natural inclination where there is an extended period of uncertainty, redundancy and global recession on the horizon is to reign in our spending behaviour.

The quicker the recovery, the quicker we can get back to the ‘new normal’.

Seize the moment and savour our ‘freedom’ for as long as it lasts. But please remember to obey the 2 metre 1 metre rule and stay alert.

Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Post Lockdown – What are our predictions for the future?

It’s the end of the (old) world as we know it (and I feel fine) 

Now I have finished with my review of how businesses and individuals have been coping, (Click to read Part One and Part Two of the New Normal) I thought I would conclude the final part with some predictions:

  • Too many people, too few jobs – I do believe that we will start to see an increase in the announcement of redundancies as the Government looks to end the Job Retention Scheme.  Once businesses start to incur the significant costs of staff and premises it really does depend on how their revenues recover post lockdown as to whether they can maintain their pre-covid employment levels.  We are already seeing some businesses (including those owned by Gordon Ramsay) using the Job Retention Scheme funding to pay people through their redundancy notice. 
  • Head Office/Home Office balance – This isolation has proved that a lot of people can successfully work from home and businesses are still able to function.  Offices will need to be repurposed in order to cater for reduced employment densities (most offices are now aiming to operate at 20-25% capacity immediately after lockdown easing) and the way we interact with them will change.  Some businesses have already made the decision to not open their offices until 2021.  Most of us will still desire that face-to-face interaction and collaboration with our colleagues, albeit, on a less frequent basis. 
  • Hours to suit – Flexi-time will see a resurgence. Most businesses will need to show willing to enable their staff to commute with minimal exposure at peak times on public transport. The authorities and environmentalists would like to see everyone walk/cycle to work (participation will inevitably be higher during the nice weather) but where public transport is the only practical mode it will mean flexible start and finish times to minimise peak travel. 
  • Digital dominance – We will all emerge from lockdown with new abilities for the digital age – particularly around remote working and video communication.  I feel that this will help diminish the need for some physical face-to-face contact in order to get business done.  It will mean greater scrutiny and justification of travel, particularly with use of public transport.  There will also be an emergence of new rising stars within businesses who have a natural flair for engaging in the digital world – some skills may translate from the physical world, other competencies will be discovered or developed. 
  • Home delivery and online will rise sharper than recent historic growth levels – The grocery sector has seen phenomenal growth in demand for online services in the last few months, to the extent that they have been unable to fulfil all the potential. I believe this will continue as more capacity is added and the crisis proves to be the trigger that forces a step-change in people’s behaviour, with more preferring to have their regular groceries delivered, to the detriment of the environmental considerations. 
  • People will shop local and support their independents – The successful independents have been very good at adapting their offer in the crisis and really engaging in support of their local customers.  I believe there will be a lot more emphasis that people put on supporting these independent businesses and shopping local. 
  • Retail Phoenix from the flames – There will always be a physical retail/leisure/F&B sector in the UK but there will be some clear winners and losers that emerge.  Some businesses will be rendered flightless (excuse the analogy) and be left to wither in the embers, struggling with business models that are unsustainable moving forward. Other businesses will adapt and survive.  
  • The death of retail browsing? The old ‘retail therapy’ rule book will need to be ripped up. Conversion rates should increase as people make visits with a clear purpose, and average basket sizes will increase as shopper frequency will be down and customers will be unable to try before they buy (due to the changing rooms being unavailable). This will result in an increase in returns and in the challenge retailers face on getting this returned stock sold.  
  • Retail Property is broken, and it needs Landlords and tenants to fix it – Both parties need to share the pain out of the current crisis. There has to be a recognition that Landlords still have bills to pay and so withholding rent for an extended period of time may not be acceptable.  This crisis will drive a fundamental re-correction in retail rents in order to take account of the new function of retail and ongoing rental sustainability.  There also needs to be a drive for more flexible leases where both parties share in the upside but share the pain of depressed performance.
  • Staycation havoc – With businesses encouraging staff to take holiday, people wanting a change of scenery from their home, and continued uncertainty on the opening up of international borders (and who will be around to take us to foreign climes) this can only mean that everyone will be holidaying in this country in 2020.  My advice, particularly if you have children, is to get your October half term and Xmas trips booked as soon as possible as prices are likely to go through the roof. 
Have you planned your staycation?
  • We will be better prepared for next time – This may be a once in a lifetime event (or longer) but be sure that UK plc will need to become a little more self-sufficient in certain areas – particularly with regards necessary medical supplies.  Who is to say that some forms of manufacturing won’t come back to our shores?
  • It will be an employers’ market – to a certain degree.  With too many candidates chasing too few roles the big challenge will be efficiently filtering applications.  This is where, as a recruiter, we can do our big value add to hiring managers and HR teams.   This will also mean that candidates will have to be more on point throughout the process than they have ever been, from their CV and covering letter, to interview skills – again, something we are well placed to support.  

Give us a call on +44(0)7918 653 877 / +44(0)7979 756 257 or email info@redtigerconsulting.co.uk if you would like to talk about finding talented individuals wishing to consider a fresh challenge to join your team.

Image: Photo by Mark Arron Smith from Pexels

The true costs of Pay & Display parking

During a recent Red Tiger team day in sunny Southport the team started discussing (slightly ranting) the costs and inconvenience of town centre parking charges.

There are many well publicised factors driving the decline in our town centre retail and increased occupancy rates don’t help, but paying for parking is the bugbear of many. At the start of the summer of 2019, an article published by the BBC stated that Councils in England are set to record a surplus of £1bn from parking charges and penalties this year. Read more here: Parking charges could make £1bn for councils, study says.

With out-of-town shopping centres and retail parks often more accessible and convenient, compounded by the risk of a parking penalty in town, why would you pay for the hassle of parking in a town centre?

Problems in our home towns

We talked about the various nuances of parking situations in our home towns. This has resulted in a significant shift in prime pitch and footfall and in some cases, just not using these centres as frequently. 

Aylesbury and Southport, for example, have lost their BHS stores (& both remain vacant). Southport is just about to lose Debenhams (first tranche of the 22 closures in early 2020). I wouldn’t be surprised if Aylesbury M&S was on a closure list soon. Both towns also have edge-of-town centre Shopping Parks. Central 12 in Southport is a slightly longer walk into the town centre than Aylesbury Shopping Park. The shopping parks are pay and display; Aylesbury is free for two hours (must display a ticket) whilst Central 12 is £1.60 for two hours. Central 12 is council operated and therefore prices are aligned with the town centre charges.

Problems with edge of centre Shopping Parks

The free 2 hours at Aylesbury Shopping Park means that everyone piles into the parking first thing and then some cut through to town (~3 minute walk). The car park is totally full (& chaotic) by 10am most days. Some would view this as a positive, however anecdotally I know that friends and family often don’t come into town because
a) they know the Shopping Park will be full and
b) subsequently won’t pay for town centre parking.

Therefore, although the Shopping Park’s free parking is helping to drive footfall into the town centre, it has a ceiling height (& not everyone is cutting through to the town centre). In Southport Central 12 highways signage is throughout the town centre, effectively promoting traffic away from the High Street – it is a decent ten minute walk to the main High Street.  The rest of the town centre, along with Aylesbury, is then peppered with town centre pay & display car parks.

Revenue generated? A tale of two towns

We put out a freedom of information (FOI) request to both Sefton Council (Southport) and Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) to see how much revenue they have generated the last three years from charges and fines.

For AVDC the figures are £7.7m in revenue and £461k in fines with fines typically running at ~6% of revenue (Table 1). Revenue has been increasing slightly, but more concerning is the annual percentage increase in fines +14% 16/17 > 17/18 & +15% 17/18 > 18/19. This is even more frustrating given the town centre redevelopment and constant reconfiguration of one of the main car parks.

It isn’t just the revenue being generated from the fines, it is more the intangible damage and stigma associated with going into a town which is so heavily patrolled with visible yellow stickers on people’s cars on a daily basis. You may not have received a penalty yourself but this kind of imagery gets ingrained in people’s minds.

In Southport the income is much lower at £2.4m (3 years at Southport is 1 year of revenue in Aylesbury). Southport has a population of 90,381 versus Aylesbury Town 58,740 (2011 census). Fines have come down significantly in Southport (halved last year) so there has clearly been a conscious decision by Sefton Council to reduce patrols and/or fines (based on their supplied numbers) despite revenue from parking income falling only slightly YOY.

Table 1:

A Different approach

The other week I visited a town which actively promotes and welcomes cars, bikes and public transport with open arms to its Town Centre. Witney, West Oxfordshire is a market town which is a real success story. It has very low vacancy rates, a healthy mix of uses, national brands and local independents. All of the car parks in the town are council operated and every space is free for up to 3 hours.  No doubt the success of this town is partly driven by the affluent nature of its catchment but also by the ease of access it provides to the population it is serving. There are basically no barriers to entry.

This doesn’t mean that Witney is less vulnerable to the wider structural shifts at a national level (the Debenhams store in the town is on the first phase closure list) but the things the local authority can control, such as free parking, it is doing, making sure the town centre remains a vital hub for the community.

Other councils are starting to acknowledge the “benefits” of not monetising parking. Just a few months ago Cheshire Council announced that one of the main car parks in Ellesmere Port will become free of charges for a trial period until December to see if relieves pressure on the short stay parking closer to town and improves footfall into the town centre. Market Harborough plans to increase free on street parking from 40 mins to 1 hour.

It is a fine balance between charging for parking to help support ever stretched local authority budgets and supporting the vitality of the town centre. I find travelling up and down the country that many councils take a very short term view of charging as much as possible for parking. Councils see it as a quick (& relatively cheap) revenue generator and fail to understand their roles in contributing to the damage of their own high streets.

Is Your Business Data Driven?

I have been working in Data and Analytics for 17 years and have seen many different ways to manage data and analytics across a business. Working in mature data driven businesses you realise that the legacy of having a lot of data in a business can be as much of a hinderance as a help. 

Invariably data, and the teams that use it, have grown organically within departments and therefore tend to work in silos on short term projects, reacting to immediate departmental needs.  They often manage their own data and software, with individual support from IT. Moving from this situation to more effective ways of working can be painful.

In my experience working with much smaller or less mature businesses gives a great opportunity to get things right from the start. Here are some of the key points that, during my work as a both an analyst and a consultant, I have come across and in order to be effectively data driven, businesses need to consider.

Business vision

When a truly data-driven retailer I worked with recently was struggling, it was my view that it was too reliant on data. People in the business were endlessly looking to the data to tell them whether they should move more upmarket or focus on value. Data can inform this decision but not decisively. Businesses need to have a clear vison and strategy to ensure their data works for them.

Senior oversight

There is great benefit in data and analytics being overseen by a governance team of business leaders representing both users and consumers of the data. This team can set the data and analytics vision and strategy, aligned to that of the wider business and oversee cross functional project prioritisation, usually moving the focus to long-term strategic projects. This team is best placed to effectively agree a program of technology and data developments with IT and procure appropriate business wide software.

Structure

Agreeing an effective structure for your analysts to work in is key. This structure will depend on the size of your business and the number of functions using data. There are advantages to having a centralised team, working on business wide strategic projects, using the same technology and sharing skills and experience. I believe this can sometimes impact on the business knowledge of analysts and their understanding of the issues faced by your internal customers, so a balance needs to be struck between the two structures.

Project prioritisation

Time and resources are always tight in any business and the conflicting priorities of your analysts, your customers and business leaders can be difficult to balance. The governance team play a key role in getting this right and can help to ensure data objectives support business objectives, that there is a mix of short term reactive and long term strategic projects and a clear process for measuring model effectiveness.

Becoming data driven

Too often, businesses jump straight in to big investments in technology or people without understanding their requirements and having someone with extensive data experience involved is key to making things run smoothly in the future. I believe that it is necessary to get the basics right to enable data driven decision making.

Reporting

Often simple performance reporting is time consuming for analysts to run, not prompt enough to make effective time sensitive decisions and lacks sufficient insight to support decision makers. The procurement of new technology and software can be transformative but the financial benefit needs to be investigated to ensure the investment is worthwhile.

Segmentation

Enriching data and creating useful segmentations can add vital insight to performance reporting. Segmentations can be based on numerous data types and attributes including customer, store, product or region. Once useful segments are established based on business need, long term performance trends can be more clearly identified and support better investment decisions.

Well-designed segments can be rolled out across business functions to support diverse areas such as Brand, PR, Marketing, Property, Buying, Price and Promotions and Operations.

Store catchments

Understanding your store catchments, and the customer types who live and work in them, is vital in the current competitive environment and there are a number of ways to do this using both internal and external data. Each method has it’s own advantages and disadvantages and experience in this area is useful rather than buying generic data from the company with the best sales pitch.

Multichannel

Every successful retailer needs a multichannel strategy and strong customer propositions including cross channel marketing, click and collect, store returns for online purchases and stock information. Data is at the heart of creating a seamless customer experience and this is where data teams must work across departments in order to deliver the experience that today’s customers expect.

Modelling

Predictive modelling at business, store, category, customer and product level can be an effective tool to take data based decision making to the next level. It can be implemented on an ad-hoc basis, to quickly improve current initiatives, in particular marketing campaigns. The long term goal should be to automate both model recommendations and results but that involves significant investment in both technology and people. Both breadth and depth of experience is required to understand when and where predictive modelling will be most effective and ensure the right conditions exist for successful implementation.

Red Tiger Consulting can offer practical, cost effective advice on your data strategy. Through interviews and workshops, we determine the analytics maturity of your business and then work with you to create a road map of data and analytics initiatives to help you improve data utilisation.  So if your business needs expert advice to ensure they are making the most of their data contact Anne@redtigerconsulting.co.uk or Steve@redtigerconsulting.co.uk to find out more. 

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