+100%-
+44 (0)115 904 2777
+44 (0)115 904 2777
retail IT solutions
  • 15 Aug

Do we really need to “save” the high street?

News dominating the retail headlines this week: the high profile closure of BHS’ flagship store on Oxford Street. Videos of the last minute shut-down scramble for 80% discounted goods, and the shutters finally closing on the crumbling, 88 year old brand. The last of BHS’s total 163 stores are scheduled to close on August 20th. Commentary from John Ryan at Retail Week puts BHS’s demise down to “falling behind”: “Cue lamentations and commentary asking how this could have happened. It happened, bluntly, because both shops and stock weren’t, latterly, up to much“And yet, track back just one week – we had glowing reports of a sunny July accounting for a retail sales rebound of 1.1 per cent, and a recovering high street. On a total basis, sales rose 1.9 per cent, against a 2.2 cent increase in July 2015. Nonetheless, the BRC said this was the “strongest growth since January”.So, does the high street really need “saving”, as many daily papers have headlined for the past year? We think it requires a more sophisticated approach. In today’s omnichannel world, the store needs to be much more than just a store. In a recent survey we conducted, we found that the biggest High St advocates were Gen Z – the up and coming younger generation, with a newly found spending power and a connectedness across all channels. 84% of them see shopping as part of their day out activities, and so the customer experience must be prioritised. With a growing appetite for convenience, and a need for seamless digital integration, stores need to become a critical part of your retail strategy to service the “need it now” desire. Product showing as out of stock online? It shouldn’t be, if the product is hanging in abundance in one of your stores. Not available in-store? There should be the ‘endless aisle’ option to shop your entire inventory in-store on responsive tablets. As always, it’s about joining up your retail offering across channels, ensuring that your stock is visible in real time, inventory is flexible ready to fulfil orders across any channel. As Retail Week’s latest industry snapshot revealed (LCP Consulting Report), retailers with omnichannel capabilities are twice as likely to report double digit growth. If you’re looking for technologies that will influence the future customer journey, sign up for our latest event: a concept pop-up technology store, in partnership with Karen Millen. Coming to Hoxton for just 3 days only 21st-23rd September, retailers are signing up to be taken on an interactive experience, with in-store technology that is affordable, easily deployable, and available now. Registration for a Nexpo tour can be completed in just 1 minute, using the following link: www.retail-assist.co.uk/nexpo…
Read more
retail IT solutions
  • 4 Jul

RA Summer Event 2016

Last week, we celebrated our Annual Summer Event with our customers; retailers and hospitality brands that we’re proud to support with our IT services and solutions. Many thanks to those who joined us for drinks and bowling at All Star Lanes on Brick Lane! We had a great evening, and hope that you did too. Of course, a Retail Assist event wouldn’t be complete without some fun, so our bowling competition provided great entertainment, plus some top-class cocktails thanks to our dedicated mixologist! We’re pleased to announce that Pizza Hut were the overall winners of the bowling event. Congratulations! To see the whole album, head over to our Facebook page.We love hosting our annual Summer Drinks, and we’re already excited for our next client events! We have long-standing relationships with our customers, spanning up to 15 years. At Retail Assist, our customers are at the heart of what we do. The difference that we offer as a business, is that we can provide you with the whole retail and hospitality IT package. Not only can we manage the full implementation process of retail IT solutions, but we will also support your business with our Managed Services. All of this, 24×7×365, across the globe with multilingual support.…
Read more
  • 14 Sep

Retail Assist sail to victory!

We celebrated a great success on the Solent last week, as we scooped the gold medal at our annual sailing event. Each year, we head south for a few days to spend time with our great customers, and enjoy a fun but physical day sailing together. This year was slightly different, bringing competition to the event! Our hardware support partners, Vista Retail Support, and old colleagues, Cybertill, joined us on the Solent for an exciting 3 boat race. Our clients from various retail & hospitality brands, including Starbucks, Mint Velvet, East and Anthony Nichols Group, put on their branded RA team tops and caps, and took to the sailing boat after a quick team-talk by our favourite skipper Jono from Blue Box Sailing.It was a beautiful day in Southampton, with optimum conditions for sailing and a nice wind to get us going!RA had gold in their sights, but Vista and Cybertill also had a couple of seasoned sailors. We spent the morning training with the professional crew to prepare ourselves for the racing. After lunch we put the training into practice as the three Clipper 60s came together for a match race through the Solent. We all had the chance to try everything from working on the foredeck for sail hoists, to taking the wheel to steer. The race was fast-paced, and a last ditch attempt by Vista resulted in a very close finish, but RA made it over the line in 1st place ahead of Vista in 2nd, and Cybertill in 3rd. Our men took a well-earned rest, before a further 2 smaller races on the Solent.Well done to Team RA! Our relationships with our customers are very special, and we’d like to thank the clients that attended, and used their strength to help us sail to victory!We’re already looking forward to next year’s sailing. Our next client event will take place this Christmas. To see the whole photo album, visit our Facebook page here.…
Read more
  • 29 Jun

Here’s to Summer, and our great Customers

Last week, we celebrated our annual Summer Drinks event with our fantastic customers; retailers and hospitality brands that we’re proud to support with our IT services and solutions. On a lovely warm evening at a quirky venue in Soho, we had a great time over drinks and nibbles. Of course, a Retail Assist event wouldn’t be complete without some fun, so our photobooth corner provided some entertainment! We have long-standing relationships with our customers, spanning up to 14 years, and our events are a way of saying “thank you”, to our colleagues old and new. At Retail Assist, our customers are at the heart of what we do. The difference that we offer as a business, is that we can provide you with the whole retail IT package. Not only can we manage the full implementation process of retail IT solutions, thanks to our expert project managers, but we will also support the solution with our retail IT services, and provide longer term support in a more educative format, the Application Academy. All of this, 24×7, 365, across the globe with multilingual support.    To see the whole album, head over to our Facebook page. We love hosting our annual Summer Drinks, and we’re already excited for our festive end of year event. Exciting things to come.  …
Read more
  • 6 Oct

Celebrating 5 Years of Mint Velvet

After recently celebrating our own 15th Birthday we know how important every year is, and we are very excited for our customer, Mint Velvet, who will soon be celebrating their 5th Birthday. The Mint Velvet story began with three women, inspired by a desire for something new, who wanted to create a clothing collection which was both relaxed and glamorous, but sill at affordable prices. With a specific target audience, working mothers with modern lifestyles, they wanted to create something that worked with their demanding lifestyles and from this Mint Velvet was born. Mint Velvet believes that clothing should help make the women that wear them feel confident and gorgeous; whilst still fitting in to busy and active lifestyles. Mint Velvet launched in 2009, and in this same year we also began to work together. For Mint Velvet we provide a Managed Solution to include our Merret merchandising and warehousing solution, Triquestra’s Infinity PoS, plus complete IT support services. In 2010 ourselves and Mint Velvet won “Project Implementation of the Year” at the Retail Week Technology Awards for our project implementation success, and later that year went on to be shortlisted for ‘IT Project of the Year’ at the Retail Systems Awards. With award wins, and instant success in their initial House of Fraser concession openings, the Mint Velvet brand soon rolled out to further premium department stores, and the brand’s transactional website: mintvelvet.co.uk. The Managed Solution we provide for Mint Velvet delivered the foundations to support a growing business from the outset. Our solution combines all the required hardware, software and services in a single package and is integrated with store EPos and website. As a scalable solution Mint Velvet have found this to be extremely beneficial as they have under gone a huge expansion process throughout the last 5 years and have a further 4 stores opening within the year. Having achieved so much within their first 5 years we are not only proud to be able to say that we work with Mint Velvet but are also very excited to see what they achieve in the next 5 years. Happy Birthday Mint Velvet xxx If you would like any further information about any of our services then you can visit our website: www.retail-assist.co.uk or call us on: +44 (0) 115 853 3910. You can also search for us on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news from Retail Assist.…
Read more
  • 29 Sep

The Retail Assist Sailing Event 2014

With the wind in our hair and regular tea breaks the annual Retail Assist sailing event was a great day out for both Retail Assist team members and customers. We set sail from Hamble Yacht Services in Hampshire for a full day of sailing adventures. As in other years we sailed with the Blue Box Sailing Company on their 64ft yacht, and believe you me we definitely had to do our bit as crew members.The yacht we sailed on was the Whitbread 60 Blueprint, formerly known as the Intrum Justitia and was built in 1992 for the 1993/4 Whitbread Around the World Race. As you can imagine we were all very excited to get aboard such a legendary boat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete novice (like myself) or an experienced sailor, you can try your hand at steering, hoisting and trimming the sails and leading the ropes. It was a very hands on day – and we loved it!We met our customers at the Marina and headed on to the yacht. After a talk from the crew in regards to safety and a tour of the boat, including how to use the rather scary looking toilet, we slipped lines and motored out of the River Hamble to the famous waters of the Solent where the real fun began. With all hands on deck we had to take turns in grinding (it’s tough work) to hoist the main sail, wind up ropes and get to grips with the steering.The route for the day consisted of sailing through the forts in the Eastern Solent into the English Channel and sailing round the Nab tower lighthouse and back. Obviously the exact course is decided on the day as it is weather dependent but we were lucky enough with the weather to stick with the predetermined route.Once lunch had been eaten and more tea had been drunk we made a U-turn and proceeded home. With a day of sailing and boat manoeuvres under our belts, we arrived back outside the River Hamble and dropped the sails before motoring back up the River to the Marina.Once we had said a massive thank you to the crew from Blue Box who really helped to make our day memorable, and of course said goodbye to the yacht we headed back to the hotel, the Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa, where we all enjoyed a well-earned drink. After freshening up and sitting down to dinner we all proceeded to chat about the day’s adventure and enjoy a relaxed evening meal.The sailing event provides a great way to socialise with our customers, developing relations away from the working environment. The 2014 sailing trip was a great success and we look forward to ‘setting sail’ again very soon. If you would like to see a video from one of our previous sailing events, please click here to access our Retail Assist YouTube channel, and if you would like to see the yacht…
Read more
  • 22 Sep

Merret User Day 2014

It’s important for us to involve our user base in the development of our solutions, to ensure we continue to develop a product which is aligned to the requirements of the user community. As such last week we hosted our annual ‘Merret User Day’ to encourage all of our Merret customers to come together and discuss current and future Merret functionality. On the day a number of members from the Merret community attended including; Mint Velvet, East, Oasis, Warehouse, Karen Millen, Coast, Jacques Vert, Harvey Nichols, Morrisons, Paperchase, and Whistles.The day itself was organised and facilitated by Retail Assist members but driven by the needs of the Merret users, with much time for questions and discussions, to address any areas of Merret that was of primary focus for our customers. The ‘Merret User Day’ enables us to develop further efficiencies and grow functionality to meet customer expectations. With contributions from retailers with differing requirements it helps us to generate a better service across retailing channels from omnichannel retailers to pure play e-tailers, helping us improve our service but also helping them achieve their business targets. During the day we discussed a number of key points and we wanted to share them with you.Following an introduction to the day from Robin Coles, our Head of Product Strategy Nigel Illingworth, Chief Executive Officer – Solutions, continued with Merret ‘The Last Year’, highlighting Merret’s;Rich omnichannel functions Ability to work intuitively with 3rd parties Real time omnichannel functionalityHe then moved on to discuss Merret’s flexible approach and ability to respond to change and growth and this is where the Merret community were given the opportunity to engage and discuss their requirements from Merret during the last year. Following on from this we were delighted to have customer presentations from Anne Sinclair, Multichannel Director of Coast, Oasis, Karen Millen and Warehouse regarding the journey of omnichannel retailing. Then from Grant Henderson, Project Manager at Coast, Oasis, Karen Millen and Warehouse, and Rob Scott our Technical Services Manager, regarding their experiences and advice for a tablet roll-out across a 750 store estate. The focus of the afternoon was ‘Merret the Future’ where we explored the future Merret roadmap. At which priorities for future development were revealed and discussed with clients, to ensure it aligned with their own requirements. The day was concluded with partner presentations and it was lovely to be able to welcome along 4 differing companies that each brought a new and exciting element to the day, but that could all complement our Merret supply chain solution. We had teams from; Momentis, a Canadian based company, InovRetail from Portugal, Triquestra and Powatag. Not only did this add an extra dynamic to the day but it was also so interesting to see what these companies did and how they could work with Merret to provide additional functionality. Keep an eye out for guest blogs rounding up these partner presentations – there are some very interesting findings. We took a lot away…
Read more
  • 15 Sep

Men take note – Whistles have launched a Menswear Collection

From soft structured blazers to canvas and leather backpacks – our customer, Whistles, have launched a menswear line. The collection has been launched just in time for AW14 and we can’t wait to check out the chunky knits and tailored trousers that will be perfect for the colder weather. Below we have included some of our favourite looks from the new menswear collection, we hope you enjoy them.We love the leather ‘runners’ and tailored turn up trousers.This chunky over coat and heavy roll neck will be staple pieces for the approaching winter weather.We love this bright jumper and scarf combo, but are you man enough to wear pink?This outfit is all about comfort but still screams style thanks to the Whistles minimal and simplistic approach. I think the overall feel of the new collection is minimal and smart. The items are simple, but the collection is made up of key pieces that will see you through AW14. The menswear range heavily reflects the feel of the womenswear line, remaining contemporary, easy to wear, linked to classics, but with a modern approach. We have been working with Whistles since 2011 helping to deliver an entire IT infrastructure. As part of a multi-faceted deal, Whistles selected our Merret merchandising and warehousing solution to power its new Distribution Centre managed by Clipper Logistics. Our Merret application forms part of an integrated IT solution, and will drive the multichannel business forward through interfaces to Whistles’ BT Fresca ecommerce website, the upgraded BT Expedite Store6 EPoS solution in Whistles’ shops and store systems in multiple concession partners including Selfridges, Brown Thomas, Fenwicks, House of Fraser and John Lewis. With multiple concession partners, standalone stores and their multichannel offering there are numerous platforms for which Whistles can display their new menswear collection. Jane Shepherdson, CEO of Whistles commented on the range, saying; ‘We have defined our aesthetic, and achieved a consistency in our design. Menswear is something that we have been planning to do since we started in 2008. We recognise that, as with womenswear there is considerable expansion in the contemporary middle market, this is an ideal time to capitalise on this opportunity and bring the whistles aesthetic to menswear.’ The menswear range is now available to buy online, within key stores and selected premium department stores. Click here to shop now. If you would like any further information about any of our services then you can visit our website: www.retail-assist.co.uk or call us on: +44 (0) 115 853 3910. You can also search for us on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news from Retail Assist.…
Read more
  • 1 Sep

Hobbycraft for Wedding Decorations – Guest Blog

Here at Retail Assist we are very pleased to welcome back our guest blogger Charlie. After her two previous and very successful blogs, we were delighted when she offered to blog for us for a third time. Having previously blogged about finding the prefect bridesmaid dresses from Coast and must have wedding stationary from Paperchase, Charlie is back and this time talking about wedding decorations from our customer Hobbycraft. To read more of Charlie’s ‘Dainty Bride’ blogs visit her page by clicking here. I’ve always thought that decorations can make or break a wedding. Choose something to reflect your personality, keeping the concept both personal and in keeping with the overall theme of your special day and the results will leave your guests amazed. Finishing touches are key to the overall effect of your decorations, you can go for a co-ordinated theme or a miss matched effect, whatever your style there are decorations out there to suit you and your groom. I’ve recently started looking into different decorations and have been amazed with what Hobbycraft have to offer. I’m not really a ‘crafty’ person so hadn’t previously visited Hobbycraft but since I’ve been engaged, it’s my new favourite place! I’ll definitely continue going post wedding; I have seriously been bitten by the ‘crafting’ bug. The good thing about Hobbycraft is that you can recreate amazing ideas that you’ve found on the internet or in magazines for a fraction of the price. They have a ‘Wedding’ section online if you don’t fancy searching the shop, offering everything from Hen Party Supplies to Wedding Cake Decorations. All of their wedding items are listed together, very handy, and perfect for us lazy brides or those on a tight timescale. Right so let’s get started… Although this may look like a ‘Plain Metal Bucket’, (which it is) it’s so multi-functional, and at £1 each they’re a total bargain. You can: 1. Use them as centre pieces by adding some lace around the outside and adding flowers inside. 2. Pop wedding favours in them for your guests. 3. They also provide a lovely way in which to store your confetti. These are just a few suggestions, it’s up to you to get creative and make your wedding truly individual.This ‘Wedding Post Box Birdcage’ is perfect for all you vintage lovers out there. Not only providing an alternative to the usual style of wedding ‘post box’, this is a delicate and pretty alternative and can even be personalised with space to write your new surname on the front.I feel there’s a ‘bucket’ theme starting here… These tiny buckets are amazing! You can get them in a variety of colours and are also available with heart and butterfly cut-outs. A perfect size for tea lights, they will look gorgeous in the evening when the main lights are turned down. Again at only £1 they definitely won’t blow the budget.Who doesn’t love a bit of bunting? Again, like the mini buckets, they have a variety…
Read more
  • 4 Aug

Popcorn at the Ready as Vue Renew Contract with Retail Assist

Vue Entertainment, one of the UK’s largest cinema chains, has once again turned to us to provide IT support across its 82-strong international cinema estate through the renewal of their contract for a further 5 years. We have been working with Vue for the past 3 years and in this time Vue has seen significant growth in the UK and internationally, through the acquisitions of the Apollo UK, CinemaxX and Multikino estates. This has created a business which is active across nine territories including UK, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania and Taiwan. We will be responsible for management of user support and technical service management in Vue’s head office and across the entire cinema estate, including the delivery of IT Help Desk support services between 9am and 12am, 364 days a year, covering 1st line support and incident management. We also provided support during the installation of the Sony projectors, monitoring any challenges that may have affected Vue in regards to this digital move. Vue were one of the first to make the move to digital and in 2012 completed the rollout of the new Sony 4K digital projectors which provide the very best picture quality available. Dave Wilson, Head of Technical Services at Vue said: “I am looking forward to continuing our relationship with Retail Assist and working with them to ensure that we deliver a first class service to our expanding business. The flexibility of Retail Assist to adapt to our expanding technology portfolio makes them an ideal partner to support the business.” We have helped Vue to drive incident volumes down, work seamlessly with internal IT and business teams and have worked to educate on best and responsible practices. The culmination of this and the firm foundations that we can provide Vue in terms of knowledge and experience have helped to secure this contract renewal. With such an effective service model in place it will make it much easier and more cost effective for Vue’s future growth plans, as the model is scalable and adaptable to expansion requirements. Dan Smith, CEO, Managed Services at Retail Assist says: “We are delighted that Vue Entertainment has again turned to us to provide them with comprehensive IT support services and it adds to our increasing levels of activity within the retail leisure sector. Like their high street counterparts, leisure sector businesses like Vue Entertainment need a robust and responsive IT support service in place to ensure that for every market, time or location, the technology is always in place to help them meet their customer needs.” Roland Jones, Vue Entertainment’s Technical Services Director comments, “Retail Assist is the ideal partner to support our growth and maintain high standards as we move into new territories internationally. We have always been impressed by the high quality technical service provided by Retail Assist, together with their professionalism, knowledge and commitment to supporting delivery of our brand experience. Vue Entertainment’s growth over the last few years has in turn increased the scale…
Read more