Ellie’s story of creating better VM standards

Visual Thinking’s graduate intern project manager Ellie Pask shares her story of how we’ve helped to deliver VM excellence in fashion retail over the last six months. 


Ellie’s Story… New Look Project Delivery

One of the first things I quickly learnt after I joined Visual Thinking as a Graduate Intern Project Manager was to approach every client brief from a new perspective. We’re trained to analyse the client’s brand, products and commercial situation in detail, and to reform these with more effective VM and communications solutions.

Even though you’ll have your own creative preferences, you can’t let that get in the way. The solutions we recommend are not simply cosmetic; they must work carefully alongside the existing structures and resources of the business, and deliver against agreed commercial objectives or KPI’s. I’ve seen first-hand that sometimes even the smallest of changes to VM handling and ‘ways of working’ can have a hugely positive impact on sales performance.

Engaging people so they embrace the need for change.

Our recent work with New Look was my first client brief with practical, creative VM responsibilities. From start to finish, I found the process fascinating. I’ve been able to influence what I know to be better VM solutions while learning how to build in the commercial metrics we have to meet for effective implementation: store time, staff resources and skills, down to what shop equipment is readily available to work with. It can be a daunting experience at times, but it’s challenged me to think differently and I’ve been able to see the impact of the decisions that I’ve personally made.

While I’ve been able to apply my instinctive VM knowledge and creativity in the solutions we’ve introduced, it’s my broader communication skills that have developed the most during this project. When retailers engage consultants to support their business there can sometimes be challenges to overcome, such as being aware of and carefully managing concerns amongst internal teams. Success is all about working in a way that’s truly collaboratively, engaging people so they embrace the need for change – vital to achieving the end results our clients are seeking. Unless the client’s teams really do support us being there, and also buy into the changes that we recommend, it’s hard to make progress. It’s part of our role to ensure we land the projects successfully, and do so, by keeping people onside.

Turning the corner with their brand transformation plans.

The real test of the success, however, is when shoppers just like what they see, and start shopping differently. I’ve proud to be able to say, and see, that I’ve played a role in helping New Look to transform their store performance, delivering better looking stores and new, more effective VM solutions that are fast, easy and effective to rollout – changes that can be implemented across a large business quickly to maximise and be sustained. It’s really satisfying when people say you’ve made a positive difference. It’s when you know you’ve got what it takes. It’s been great to see recent announcements from the business talking about how they are turning the corner with their brand transformation plans. I know from what we have done, and the feedback we’ve received that I have played my own valuable part in this.

To read more about our work for fashion retailer New Look, and how you can rejuvenate store performance, download our latest report ‘Better Fashion Retail’.

Click here

By Ellie Pask

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