Heike Blank

Heike has worked in executive positions for international multibrand & multichannel organisations for 10+ years. Her key expertise is in helping them to grow into new channels and into new markets, with a focus on brand retail and retail partnering. Heike has worked in more than 25 countries and is now using her vast experience to support brands in successfully developing their international distribution strategies and to bring those strategies to life.

Retail Portfolio Management: Renegotiating Your Rental Contracts

This is the second installment of a short series that dives into a few uncommon KPIs for successful retail portfolio management. Learn how traffic cost and footfall per hour can help you renegotiate rental contracts.

For many years, retail expansion was the main growth strategy in the brand retail world. More recently, however, brands increasingly face an under-performing retail portfolio. Realising that retail expansion doesn’t work without like-for-like growth of existing stores, brands are busy assessing their retail portfolios in order to focus on profitable stores and stores with potential for improvement.

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Retail Portfolio Assessment: The Good Ones Into the Pot, the Bad Ones Into Your Crop

What tools are available to help brands choose their most promising retail locations, and identify the not so promising ones? Let’s mobilise some unusual KPIs!

Inspired online stores, a lack of innovation in brick & mortar retail, overpriced retail locations and double-digit traffic losses all contribute to diluting 4-Wall contributions of many brick & mortar stores. It’s therefore no big surprise that we are frequently asked to help brands to pick out the most promising retail locations, to identify locations to shut down and, even more importantly, to identify the ones with potential for store performance improvement.

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Goats on a Roof! And What’s Your USP?

As far as unique selling propositions go, goats on a roof are pretty unique. And this offline-only retail location on Vancouver Island has turned them into a long-term success story without selling a single goat.

Once upon a time there was a tiny fruit booth near the Trans-Canada Highway that served Vancouverites en route to their weekend and summer houses as well as tourists exploring an island full of natural beauty. That was back in the 70ies when Kristian and Solveig Graaten, who had migrated from Norway 20 years earlier, decided to start a small retail business on Vancouver Island.

In the meantime, this little fruit stall has become the queen of retail locations and one of the most frequented tourist attractions on Vancouver Island: The Coombs Old Country Market.

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How to Benefit from Bestseller Management Immediately

Bestseller Management is one of the most important processes to improve sell-through and mark-down in the consumer goods industry. What KPI helps identify bestsellers and make smart decisions about them?

Some companies like Zara, Kennel & Schmenger or s.Oliver excel at managing bestsellers. While Zara works with sophisticated analytics to alter bestselling styles by fabric, color or detailing, s.Oliver masters  bestseller management to a degree that endangers its potential to innovate.

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Size Matters! 4 High and Low Tech Solutions for Fashion Size Finding

Fashion size finding remains a challenge for retailers and consumers. Choose the right fit for you from our shortlist of size finding technologies.

Finding the right size is of course crucial when shopping for fashion. It is therefore no big surprise that failing to find the correct size or fit is the reason that consumers mention most frequently for aborting a shopping experience, both online and in brick and mortar stores.

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Is It Magic? A Retail Survival Check of the First German Disney Store

Disney opened its first brick and mortar store in Germany three weeks ago. Let’s perform a retail survival check to guesstimate its chances of sustainable success!

Truth be told, it is not actually the first Disney store to ever open its door to magic in Germany. Disney ran four stores in the 90ies which, according to Disney, had to close due to licensing problems. With its new store on one of Germany’s busiest high streets, Disney starts a second attempt to conquer the German market with its merchandising products.

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Don’t Trust Your KPI Expectations!

Explore how to keep management and organization committed if your KPIs for international expansion don’t meet the expectations.

This post shows how KPIs in new markets can differ enormously from your home market. When starting international expansion, reporting often needs to be reviewed to make sure that you get the full picture and give a new market its fair chance. This is part 6 of my series on international expansion, catch up with my previous pieces here.

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Is Your Store Format Ready for International Expansion? Part II

Customer Service levels and consumer expectations differ from country to country. This post (Part II of this series) shows how those differences affect your staffing and how you select, train, motivate and pay your store staff when expanding into new markets.

In Part I I talked about the specifics to consider when taking a proven retail format international with regards to store location, adjacencies, assortment, product mix, store size, dimensions, layout and store look and feel.

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Is Your Retail Format Ready for International Expansion? Part I

The days, when brands could establish a successful retail format at home and just roll it out internationally without major adaptations, are long over.

Customer centricity is the new holy grail in the retail business, promising prosperity and success for any retail format. Surprisingly, many brands still start to roll-out a retail format without even trying to understand whether and how consumers and their behaviors differ in a new market. This post illustrates what to explore and adapt to establish a successful retail format when going international.

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International Expansion – How to Find the Best Distribution Model?

Selecting the most appropriate channel mix – using the optimal distribution model for any new market – is like finding your way in a multidimensional maze. It is one of the most complex and risky decisions top management has to make, as each market comes with its own set of conditions and requirements.

There is plenty of information available about characteristics of the different distribution channels. Therefore, in this post I would like to focus on how to select the best distribution model for your brand. A distribution model that allows you to expand into the targeted channels in a specific country in your market segment!

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International Expansion: Product Adaptation Without Jeopardising SKU Productivity

This post will answer the question “how much product adaptation is needed and healthy for a brand starting its international expansion?”

In answering the question, I am going to use examples from fashion and lifestyle companies, as I’ve spent the majority of my professional life in those industries.

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How to Drive International Expansion Without Escalating Complexity

Customise or standardise? This is the question! Maybe THE most important one whenever a brand starts its international expansion!

Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers. If you ask your brand and marketing management, they will vote for as much standardisation as possible.  If you ask your sales force – well the answer will be quite the opposite!

They will come up with a long list of issues that need to be addressed before you can successfully launch into an international expansion and you know what? They are all RIGHT!

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Managing the Impact of Double Digit Footfall Drops

How a new retail KPI can help to keep store performance on track and retail staff motivated when footfall drops.

Retail business always has been tough – but today’s challenges for bricks-&-mortar retailers seem to reach unprecedented heights, with footfall dropping up to 20% compared to last year, even in prime locations.  (more…)

Partner Retail Transparency

What You Should Know About Your Partner’s Business and How to Get This Valuable Information.

There are many reasons why it makes sense to conquer a market through reliable retail partners. Besides the shared risk, lower investment and faster growth, you may want to benefit from your partner’s deeper understanding of the market – its local players, dynamics (e.g. real estate and channel development) and consumer behaviours – before opening your own retail stores. (more…)