Project: Interim Buying Role

I was asked to work for an independent gift retailer as a buyer to support the existing buying team who were struggling with the volume of buying they had to do as well as opening more shops and developing new systems to support them. I had to apply my knowledge of the card and gift market to develop a range strategy that suited the shops position in the market and that the team were comfortable with; it had to deliver the required sales and margin and then I had to go out and source the product and get it into the shops within 3 months. Having ‘caught up’ and got the new ranges in place the existing team were then able to manage them going forward.

Project: Strategy review

I was asked to review the greetings card market and confirm the position of a major greetings card publisher within it. Having done that they wanted to understand how this should impact on their plans for the coming year. I needed to identify the values of the brand and what the brand meant to its customers as this would dictate its current position in the market. I then went on to use this information to propose how this should influence all other projects relating to the brand; the product range and its future development and how the brand and the products themselves are presented to their customers. The points identified are now being used to drive their Strategic Plan.

Project: Market Evaluation

My evaluation of a specific market opportunity predicted the demise of a major brand. I did this as a piece of independent research as the team member who would normally do this was on maternity leave. It had to be completed within four weeks of the initial discussion and was presented to the European Board of the parent company as the strategy proposal for this market.

Project: Range Strategy Development

Creating a range for a completely new product area that I had not been involved in before. I was briefed to develop a range from scratch based on customer feedback that they wanted to be able to buy a certain type of product from this retailer’s stores. I had to develop the range strategy, gain support from the key stakeholders, lead a team to implement the plan, source products, develop displays and launch the range successfully achieving over £1m in the first full year of trading.

Project: Market Research & Range Development

Project management of the development of a 100 sku Children’s Art range. I was commissioned to do the initial market research and then asked to work on and control the project through to the submission of artwork to the various manufacturers. My client did not have the people or expertise to deliver the project for their retail customer, so I worked from home liaising with one office based team member daily by e-mail and phone and attended meetings with the retail client as required.

Project: Category Review

I worked with a team of directors who had to completely review their retail offer and wanted a current and objective view from someone with experience in the industry to help them. The range needed to be taken back to its core and then restructured with clearly differentiated positionings that their customers would understand. Having done this the range was marketed with confidence in a new catalogue and at the industry trade fairs.

Project: Upskilling an inexperienced Buying Team

I worked alongside the new buyers in their office 2 days a week planning each project, agreeing their work plan, supporting with ongoing advice and ensuring they had the required skills to be able to work independently within 4 months. Their training included market analysis, strategy planning, reviewing their current ranges, own brand product development, packaging development, supplier negotiations, planning displays, shop communications and launch planning.

Project: New Product Launch

I was asked to work with the product team who had developed a new range and help them train the field sales team who had no experience of the product type being launched by their company. It was a technical product which needed to be understood to be sold effectively. My brief was to ensure that the sales and customer service teams felt they could approach customers with the product, talk about it with confidence and answer questions with authority. I ran a half day product training session getting them to use the products, comparing the features and benefits of the range with that of the competitors so that they became familiar with its characteristics and understood why the range was so strong.

Project: Training Course Development

I was approached to work with a stationery supplier who had embarked on new strategies and initiatives and wanted their field sales team to support them and use them with their retail customers. I worked with the field sales teams coaching them on the background to the ideas, their importance to the business going forward and once I had won their understanding and support actually working with the team testing new techniques so they then had the confidence to go out and use them themselves with customers.

Do you have a project that could benefit from my expertise? Get in touch today to discuss in detail how I could help.