Theme Park Retail: 14 Challenges in Visual Merchandising


Like in every business: Time and Money are key in Visual Merchandising. And these elements are rare especially Time in peak periods or staff budget in low season to actually improve your store standards. During low season you are often busy with calculations, staff or tasks which are not finished during the peak season. Or simply you now have the chance to use your overtime and take some days off. Below I will describe the major challenges (I faced at different job roles) in Visual Merchandising in a fast moving environment with tide budgets and where time plays a significant role. These are common situations and hopefully will help you think of the standards in your own commercial area. Continue reading Theme Park Retail: 14 Challenges in Visual Merchandising

De Keukenhof: a colorful experience with a lot of potential!

Keukenhof tulips

One of the great benefits working for Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam were the free tickets to other attractions in The Netherlands. There is a special membership pass which allows employees from one attraction to visit the other attraction or theme park.

On a Saturday morning we decided to go to one of the most popular attraction near Amsterdam: De Keukenhof. A seasonal outdoor attraction with over 7 million flowers and bulbs. If you want you can spend the complete day walking around the tulip fields. De Keukenhof is extremely popular with tourists from Asia so expect dozens of touring cars filled with Asian tourist on a single day.

Anyway, after parking the car we headed to the main entrance. Usually with the membership pass you need to collect the tickets at the Guest Service desk before you can enter the attraction. I entered the Guest Service office and saw 2 employees talking to each other. I wanted to wait until they were finished but suddenly there was an ice cold silence. I looked up and saw 4 annoyed eyes staring at me with the look: “what are you doing here…? You are disturbing our conversation!” Without saying a word. I said Hello and asked where I could collect the tickets. The reaction did not surprised me. “You need to buy tickets at the entrance!” I mentioned the membership card and the response was far from friendly pointing to the entrance and telling me that I could walk through. Continue reading De Keukenhof: a colorful experience with a lot of potential!

Legoland Malaysia: bricklayer for tourism in Johor Bahru

Legoland Malaysia

It was obvious that I needed to pay a visit to one of the attractions of Merlin Entertainments, so why not go for a concept I really enjoy? And since Legoland Malaysia was on route to Singapore and I worked with the Director of Operations in Europe it was an easy pick! Continue reading Legoland Malaysia: bricklayer for tourism in Johor Bahru

6 excuses to skip Retail analysis

There are several reasons why we don’t crack the numbers to understand our business performance:

  1. Operational challenges:
    1. Staff sickness and turn over: we do not have the operational resources at the moment.
    2. Tight staff budgets: again the lack of resources
  2. Time:
    1. Due the operational challenges we think we do not have the time to sit down and track our performance on a weekly basis.
    2. My manager wants me to be on the floor and I am not fully available for retail since I have to work other shifts as well.
  3. Priorities:
    1. We are hands on: analyzing is not part of the habit and since we don’t have time it never will be.
  4. Skills:
    1. I am hands on and this is what my manager expects. I am not pushed to analyze my performance, never did and I do not know what and how to analyze.
    2. I started within the company 10 years ago as a sales person, due staff turnover I worked my way up from team lead to Retail Manager.
  5. Will:
    1. Again I am hands on, have 10 years operational experience and rather be on the floor than at the office. I do not want to spend time at the desk.
    2. I do not know what to analyze so I do not like to analyze.
  6. Tools:
    1. I am aware of the value of Retail Analytics however I do not have the tools:
      1. The software is not automatically delivering me data on: best sellers, dead stock, effect of promotions, spend per head, space planning
      2. My manager is not letting me spend time on the calculations.

Do you have another reason to skip Retail analysis?

Product Zoning: lost in a department store

Preparing myself for the trip to Asia I was clearing my apartment and found some gift cards from ‘de Bijenkorf’ a premium department store in The Netherlands with shop-in-shop formulas from Nike to Gucci. I needed a pair of sneakers and a Lonely Planet of Indonesia. I was hunting for sneakers quite a while now and visited several sport stores before deciding to go to the Flagship Store in Amsterdam. As usual I checked the webshop first to take a look at the assortment and found some nice ones online. Knowing what I want it was time to pay a visit. Continue reading Product Zoning: lost in a department store

The value of Stock Management

It is one of those Mondays in August 2015 and your store is fully operational. Spends are amazing due new arrivals in May and you have trained your team well. During the day you have visited the stores and saw what you used to see: a crowdy store with a small queue at till point. End of the day you are checking the spend of your stores and spend is slightly below the average but still over budget. Must be an ‘off’ day, can happen. Next couple of days the same occurs however the trend is declining every day. Continue reading The value of Stock Management

Beat the competition on Customer Service not by discounts!

A personal Customer Journey experience: During the planning of my Asia-Pacific trip I decided to buy a real back pack. The last 10 years I have travelled with a trolley to all parts of the world from Seattle to Hong Kong and from all-in resorts to cozy hostels in the jungle of Indonesia. Last year we travelled to Koh Lipe, a real cast away but to get to this bounty island we had to face heavy storms of the Andaman Sea during the monsoon season. Long story short: my trolley drowned on deck and the salty water did the rest of the work afterwards. So time to shop online for a new travel buddy. And there is where my customer journey began. Continue reading Beat the competition on Customer Service not by discounts!