Rudolf Bartels

Rudolf cultivated a passion for efficient retail operations throughout his entire retail management life. Keeping stores simple, smooth, cost efficient and profitable was almost like a religion to him. Coaching retailers in post covid times he feels with store managers, but also sees an opportunity to re-invent retail.

Retail Operations 2020: Time to Manage Outside of the Box

Barely 20 years ago all retail operations took place in high street store formats. Then cross channel happened, and now Covid-19, and efficient retail operations are utterly transformed.

In the early years of this century, brand retail operation felt like paradise. Store networks were growing globally and being an expanding head of retail was a fun job. Managing high street stores, factory outlets, concession stores and flagships, having CEOs promote direct to consumer growth, and even the CFO was happy. All that was needed for retail operation was easily organised and within the store ‘boxes’. But soon brand stores encountered mighty antagonists.

(more…)

Post Covid Industry Best Practice in Retail & Online

The Covid-19 pandemic is devastating for those with pre-existing conditions. But it also mobilises the best in all others: unforeseen creativity, outstanding personal engagement, true loyalty and support among many more qualities.

There is no way around acknowledging that the situation is grim wherever you look and listen across the brand and retail industry, in parts even online. But if we pay close attention, we can also observe new brand industry best practice emerging.

(more…)

How Patagonia built a most Sustainable Fashion Brand

This story is about earth beauty and why engaging in sustainable fashion makes for beautiful brands. It’s not a romance story, we are talking serious brand strategy business!

We have 2020, pre COVID 19, online and multichannel have long become your daily bread and butter, and building sustainable fashion brands is the next big brand strategy priority. (more…)

Brand Sales and Distribution 2020: New Ways to International Sales Growth

International Sales Growth remains mostly dynamic in 2019. But as financial reports show, growth rates have decreased for many. Be it in the US or in Europe, especially domestic-bound retailers and brands stumble.

Global expansion in sales and distribution competence has become a lifesaving strategy feature, but allow me a personal question first:

(more…)

Good Workmanship & Best Practice Management Are Key to Growth

The speed of global brand growth has been slowing down. While fast-movers pay a high price for restructuring, successful brands continue to grow with brand best practice management.

Whether Tommy Hilfiger wins over Zalando buyers with a digital showroom, Rapha thrives thanks to their tight-knit membership community, or Lululemon enters new markets on grassroots values – brand best practice management enables brands to outgrow competitors. (more…)

Strategic Brand Management at its Best

Shoppers love unique products and great brand stories. If on top you sell upcycled products, are a niche company from a small country, that makes all the ingredients for a great brand story. For us that delivers great learning on strategic brand management.

If someone had told you in 1993 that someone would manage to turn truck tarps into it bags in Seoul by 2019, and create a best practice brand development story in the process, you may have questioned their judgement.

(more…)

Rapha is not a brand, it’s brand community management at its best

How does a small UK cycling apparel brand become the global benchmark for brand community management? Here’s why brands around the world use Rapha as a best practice case study.

In case a cycling jersey isn’t yet part of your casual wardrobe, this story about brand community management may change that when bike apparel may well set trends in mainstream clothing by 2025.

(more…)

Global Retail Best Practice

The likes of Amazon and Alibaba open tech-heavy brick & mortar stores, but best practice commercial brand retail still happens elsewhere.

Early sales reports indicate that 2018 was a good year for large parts of the lifestyle brand industry. Almost 4/5 of the top 100 European and US American lifestyle brands had a growth year, and for the most part did better than in 2017. This was despite a global department store fallout and online growth and was largely based on store growth.

(more…)

Brick & Mortar is the new Online: E-commerce Trends 2019

Amazon just released sales numbers for 2018 and the details indicate that the mother of all e-commerce is confronted with new growth realities.

And Amazon is not the only one.

  • GLORE, the stock index for global online retailers stayed far behind old economy stocks.
  • E-commerce became ‘weather sensitive’, had bankruptcies and major players missed sales forecasts by far.
  • Almost all online pure players are working on brick & mortar concepts, already leading to over 20 stores in Berlin.

So let’s look at the fundamentals behind the e-commerce trends 2019 that indicate a new direction in growth.

(more…)

How to Measure Omnichannel Management Success

Brand growth management already has many KPIs. What omnichannel measurement do you use to determine the payback of your investment?

Summertime is brand strategy planning time, when brand managers prepare for battle with their KPIs to prepare for new recruiting and securing a higher share of next year’s investments for their channel. But consumers have fundamentally challenged that profit centre logic. Perhaps it’s also time to rework your brand investment planning and the KPIs that measure brand growth success?

(more…)

Amazon on the Road to Omnichannel Retail Success?

While most brands and retailers are building and expanding their online stores, Amazon is investing in brick & mortar: a surprising update on Amazon’s omnichannel retail status.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re running a billion-dollar brand. Last year’s net expansion of stores was negative (not counting a recent acquisition) and your share in online sales remains below 5%. Can you already feel how analysts and journalists rip you to shreds over your unconvincing omnichannel retailing?

(more…)

Adidas Best Practice Brand Distribution Strategy

Aiming for the world’s most affluent consumers in highly competitive environments: Adidas’ ‘Top City Strategy 2020’ is at halfway, what is best practice and what can you learn for your business?

It’s widely known that consumer markets and brand distribution channels have fundamentally changed over the past 25 years in more ways than anticipated. Fact is, the internet as a brand distribution channel grew from 0 to commonly 8-15% of sales. But far more relevant from a commercial and strategic perspective is that many formerly emerging countries, especially China and countries in the Middle East and Central Europe, grew to 30-40%  of total sales and profits in lifestyle brand distribution.

(more…)

7 Key Success Factors for Excellence in Tourist Retail

Affluent tourists are sought after shoppers and a retail market’s most attractive segment. What does it take to grow your tourist retail sales?

Those of you working in travel retail know Global Blue. The company services tourist retail around the globe with VAT refund services. In this way they collect valuable information about a very precious consumer group. With more than 30 years in that business, they have collected a lot of valuable consumer information. Global Blue have shared some of their insights together with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This post takes an in-depth look at an example of these insights: the habits of Brazilian consumers and their luxury spending. (more…)

Engaging Associates: Best Practice Retail Operations at Polo Ralph Lauren

Your KPIs, dashboard and performance management are in place, but your retail operations are missing that final touch? This best practice story shows how new technologies can help you win at associate engagement too.

Put yourself in the shoes of a senior vice president of outlet retail for a lifestyle brand in Europe who runs a few stores across several countries. Your stores are commercially successful, and your brand is an anchor tenant for many landlords. But you observe that you could do even better by becoming more engaged in retail operations. Are you tempted to push that old KPI and performance management button to reach your full- and part-time store associates? And, how well has that worked out for you in the past?

(more…)

Best Practice Brand Retail Flagship made in Berlin

A unique brand story from a small Berlin Brand and inspirational example that excellent retail flagship are not just created by multi billion corporations.

A couple of decades apart, two designers cross Berlin streets and leave their mark. The first designs a lasting cultural icon for a nation behind the iron curtain. The second saves it from oblivion by turning it into an iconic brand.

(more…)

Inspiring Brand Retail Best Practices for 2018

Pick the brand retail best practices from 24* cities and 6 topic areas that will work for you. To a good start and comp growth in your new business year!

It was a good year for the brand lifestyle industry in Europe and the US. Reading interim reports suggests that the majority of top brands have grown despite challenges in wholesale and full price retail distribution. While not true for all, this goes to illustrate another year of beautiful distribution complexity and financial challenges.

(more…)

That One Perfect Day: How UGG Solves the Ice Cream Problem

Thanksgiving in the US, Ramadan in the Middle East, Christmas, or simply next Saturday: high traffic days define the brand store operations winners. Here’s how UGG does it.

Brand store operations is not a complicated job. As a sales clerk in lifestyle retail, it comprises three core processes: 1. receiving and displaying merchandise, 2. serving customers and 3. removing goods from the shelf to make room for the new season.

(more…)

How to get Quality into your Brand Strategy and Planning

Key learnings of 30 years brand strategy and planning. Tips how to improve your brand growth planning, today.

In January, Reuters reported that 38 % of 406 major US companies prepared for 2017 with a zero-based budget (ZBB) approach, and cites a respective 2016 Bain study. How lifestyle brands had planned for 2017 is unknown, but in the light of the US retail environment, many brands had to apply major cost cutting exercises to adjust their strategy and planning.

(more…)

1000 Myths, 60 Locations & 5 Formats – The Facts about the Amazon Retail Strategy

Amid many myths and rumors, this research sheds light on the facts, corporate communication, and the evidence from physical store openings. Long quality read.

Imagine you own 43% of your online market, and 50% of the online growth, but 85% of your market continues to be brick & mortar? Imagine (more…)