Category Archives: Retail Analytics

A warm welcome to the real world Amazon.

 On the back of great news that the mighty grim reaper of great independent retailers, Amazon have actually opened a bricks and mortar store a sense of guarded euphoria has began to breeze through the world of shopping generally. I say guarded, because it’s a tentative, dip the toe in the water move from Amazon. They’ve only stepped outside the front doors of their Head Quarters, squinting in the sunlight perhaps. But they have opened a store in their home town of Seattle.

Hot on the heels of Apple who have dedicated the last few years cementing a physical presence in our high streets and shopping malls, the penny has finally dropped for Amazon. People actually enjoy shopping. Fundamentally the whole retail experience is precisely that. An experience.

From being dragged wide eyed and often in a state somewhere between terror, amazement and amusement around a town centre as a snotty nosed toddler to buying Xmas presents on your day off many of us actually like shopping. Oh, many of us may indeed protest when our wife is in the changing room trying on the 16th version of the same dress, but secretly we love it. It’s our time, we mix and match it with a coffee, a spot of lunch and a beer. None of which you can do whilst scrolling through an online store.
I’m delighted Amazon and Apple have swallowed their pride and entered the real world. A world where people stop and say hello. A place where men acknowledge each other’s pain outside yet another changing room. A world where I stop and actually engage with a product because the lustre of an object caught my eye. A place where we do what human beings really truly do best, interact with our environment and each other.

The smell of roast chestnuts, the sound of laughter, that dash out of the rain into the nearest bar are all things that stimulate me, engage me and make me happy I’m alive. No amount of surreal virtual or augmented reality in the online world will ever replicate the simple joy of being outside, amongst my fellow human beings. I want to feel stuff, touch things, sense them not simply be told about them by a load of reviews from people I don’t know and whose judgement I probably wouldn’t trust if I did.

So bravo to Amazon, I look forward to seeing you soon on a high street near me. Hopefully a hustling, bustling, thriving one.

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The Dream Job Delusion – Talent Drain versus Recruitment Pain

Its everywhere I look, BBC, Sky News, CNN, The Times, The Daily Mail and even political satire shows and those neanderthal useless, feckless TV presenters like Jeremy Paxman (who has no interest in the truth beyond his own personal welfare and ego) shower me with pie charts and graphs outlining the plight of the unemployed. So many people of all ages, all walks of life and all degrees of experience wandering the country aimlessly, like zombies out of some apocalyptic movie searching frantically not for food but for a source of income, for some self respect, for a means to keep the roof over their head and to support their families.

So where are all these people? Why don’t they respond to job postings? Why don’t they pick up the phone and call? What are their skill sets? What experience do they have to offer?

Why are they not calling me? Is there really a massive skills shortage as reported in the Telegraph?

I am currently recruiting for a number of vacancies which I personally (okay so I am biased) believe to be exceptional opportunities. Instead of my usual approach which normally consists of almost 90% headhunting in a bid to identify and secure passive talent, I decided to test the market and advertise these positions extensively. To give those people who are actively as opposed to passively seeking a new position the opportunity to apply, to open the door to some of this vast landscape of talent, approximately 2.7million apparently.

So where are they all? Maybe they are frightened by the challenges inherent in these positions. After all, who wants to take a job that has some form of challenge within it. Maybe it is the travel, not everyone wants to spend a couple of weeks a year in Chicago at company expense, we don’t all dream of having to visit vendors in Berlin, Milan, Paris and Dubai after all do we.

Maybe it is the fact that I can no longer use terms such as vibrant, youthful dynamic, creative, buzzy, energetic in a job advert for fear of implying that it might be for those under 50. Or is it because I can’t define the role as being mid management and requiring circa 6 years business experience for fear of offending and restriciting applications from graduates who don’t have the required skills and experience (something only acquired through the actual work place) but should be able to apply and waste everyones (including their own) time anyway?

I can’t even specify a nationality, although this is incredibly important for one of these vacancies. It is important because the successful candidate may have to travel at short notice to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the USA on business. These countries have rigid restrictions on nationality. Some of them don’t give two hoots if you are an EU citizen, if they have blacklisted your country, you are not getting in. Some nationalities require visas which can take weeks if not months to secure, in advance to visit Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and of course the USA. But I’m not allowed to caution this in the job advert, for fear of offending someone. It doesn’t matter that it may be a total waste of time for everyone, as long as we all feel okay about ourselves.

But basically I have 2 great job vacancies, one based in Dubai for Regional Sales Manager for a UK national with experience selling solutions, hardware, tech, IT or similar into retail and retail property developers. The other is UK based for an Implementation Manager, someone with project management experience within hardware installation, a desire to travel, great client management skills and a high degree of charisma and a fun loving personality (note that those attributes are not in the adverts, in case I offend the miserable, Jack Dee).

In my opinion they are dream jobs for those mid level professionals with ambition, desire, energy, a love of autonomy, a willingness to work in a global environment.

5 job boards, all over Linkedin, twitter, facebook.

200+ applicants from India, Malaysia, Russia, Poland – all credit to these people, someone is at least awake and many of them are great applicants with great potential, just not for these positions. But not one single application from a UK national living within 100miles of High Wycombe for jobs paying £50K+ basics and OTE’s £70K+. If you consider where High Wycombe is, 100 miles is a hell of a radius.

Is this whole credit crisis, unemployment and recession stuff a conspiracy to control the masses?

Do we have a talent drain, has all our ambitious flexible and dynamic talent disappeared to places that can ask for what they want, to locations that can be more explicit about who fits within their culture, what the intended dynamic and ethos of their business identity is?

Or is my idea of a dream job, one that offers great rewards, career progression, personal development, travel and state of the art market defining technology 2.7million people wide of the mark?

In the event that you feel you meet the above criteria, please do get in touch with me

Exquisite Vacancy – Implementation & Project Support Manager

Based in UK – Extensive travel across EMEA region

Global Leader in Retail Analytics and Retail Customer Measurement Solutions

Exceptional Package – Exceptional Product Training – Exceptional Opportunity

The Sector

Retail Analytics and Customer Measurement Solutions  as a sector underpin the ability to understand, determine and influence what generates customer traffic and retail buying habits, it is the lifeblood of the retail environment and a shopping centres success. As retailers and retail property businesses focus on how to increase conversion rates, customer spend value and to generate a higher yield from their marketing and advertising budgets the footfall measurement and customer analytics technology sector is set for rapid and continued growth.

The Company

Few other operators and solution providers in this sector can claim the client base this organisation retains. High value, top end branded retailers and international retail property developers and management organisations have become trusted clients and value this company’s services as an integral part of their business strategy.

Probably the only organisation in the sector that can be truly described as offering a global capability and undoubtedly No1 in the USA and Asia they have a clearly defined vision and strategy to establish their business as No1 in the European and Middle East market place.

The Culture

Recognised by their admirers for demonstrating true innovative approaches to technology and the interpretation and implementation of analytical results this business thrives on entrepreneurialism, creativity and objectivity. This is demonstrated from the top down by the fresh outlook and influence of the CEO to the technical teams and their service and delivery capability.

The Opportunity

This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual who wants to work on a truly international basis, liaising and co-ordinating the EMEA aspects of product installations and on-going support. You will act as the Client and Installation Team interface, managing budgets, installation program, issues / risks and general service delivery for the organisation.

This role will provide an opportunity to work with diverse teams in a broad range of locations from Central & Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa. It is challenging, rewarding and an exhilarating career opportunity which will also entail travel to the USA.

The Candidate

You will be:

  • Degree educated, possibly with an MBA and a demonstrable track record of managing complex, multi-faceted projects and deliverables.
  • Experienced team leader able to motivate, coach and direct remotely.
  • A clear strategic thinker with a passion for maximising the efficiency and application of resources and capability effectively.
  • A change aficionado who relishes challenge, loves working in adversarial environments and can influence and create buy-in top down, bottom up.

You must have:

  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Experience of budgetary management of resources and manpower
  • Proven track record of experience within Client Services and Operations
  • Exceptional project management skills and certification PMBOK / PMP methodology or similar is a must.
  • Preferably a 2nd language in either Spanish and / or French
  • A genuine desire to travel

To apply for this exceptional opportunity in total confidence contact:

Darren Ledger – International Search – Active Solutions (UK)

 +44 (0) 1924 371333 or email

Darren@solutions.uk.net