IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality


  • 27 Feb

The Proof is in the Pud: A Day with Fran Bishop

Such a brilliant day with @RetailAssist & my team! Thank you so much @rhiannejpoole & @KtBoo_ for helping us in getting the site ready! pic.twitter.com/F5iA1WNttc — Frances Bishop (@franbishop_) February 20, 2017 A Day in the Life: Our Marketing team spend a day as store assistants with an independent childrenswear retailer. The Pud Store first caught our eye back in 2014, and from then on we’ve been strong supporters of its growth. From regional town stores to social media dominance, and a hotly anticipated ecommerce launch, the independent childrenswear retailer is going from strength to strength. The brand was founded by Fran Bishop, finalist on The Apprentice 2016, and if her dynamic and resilient personality was anything to go by, her ambitions for Pud are in very capable hands. Retail Assist’s Marketing team spent a day at The Pud Store in Newark, getting to grips with the workings of independent retail with Fran and her team. Customer Experience is key It’s an over-used phrase, but couldn’t be more appropriate for The Pud Store. Fran knows her customers inside and out – from the names of the people coming into her store, to their likes and dislikes – from using both her physical and social media presence. Arriving for our first morning at Pud, we find Fran speaking to her smartphone, videoing the “Deals of the Day” to be broadcast straight to her Facebook group of nearly 9000 customers. For the shoppers who prefer to buy from their mobile, Fran understands that having a store presence is not the be all and end all:  Pud makes approximately £1,200 every day just from its Facebook page. And it’s this that allows her to uphold a high street presence in Newark and Doncaster. The popularity of Fran’s daily videos, featuring her latest lines, competitions, offers, even just daily Mum observations, is something that all retailers can learn from. The videos generate interest not just in the products, but in the Pud brand itself and the fun, inclusive culture that Fran leads. It’s almost like an interactive click and collect – there’s even plans to integrate a packing area within the Newark store just to service the overwhelming demand of online orders – and it’s only set to get bigger with Pud’s ecommerce launch. Product lines are being added as we speak. However, adopting a multichannel approach to retailing, the Pud Store also prides itself on its child friendly store environments. We really enjoyed visual merchandising the store whilst the Pud team worked on fulfilling their Facebook orders and kickstarting the website. It showed that with a growing brand, the more hands on deck to focus on each element, the better the customer experience. The day is perhaps best summed up by Fran on Twitter. Thank you for having us! Things I’ve learnt today: 1) Big businesses can learn off small ones and visa versa 2) A little bit of help goes a very, very long way — Frances Bishop (@franbishop_) February 20, 2017…
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retail IT solutions
  • 4 Jul

RA Summer Event 2016

Last week, we celebrated our Annual Summer Event with our customers; retailers and hospitality brands that we’re proud to support with our IT services and solutions. Many thanks to those who joined us for drinks and bowling at All Star Lanes on Brick Lane! We had a great evening, and hope that you did too. Of course, a Retail Assist event wouldn’t be complete without some fun, so our bowling competition provided great entertainment, plus some top-class cocktails thanks to our dedicated mixologist! We’re pleased to announce that Pizza Hut were the overall winners of the bowling event. Congratulations! To see the whole album, head over to our Facebook page. We love hosting our annual Summer Drinks, and we’re already excited for our next client events! We have long-standing relationships with our customers, spanning up to 15 years. At Retail Assist, our customers are at the heart of what we do. The difference that we offer as a business, is that we can provide you with the whole retail and hospitality IT package. Not only can we manage the full implementation process of retail IT solutions, but we will also support your business with our Managed Services. All of this, 24×7×365, across the globe with multilingual support.…
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  • 21 Mar

The Great Retail Assist Bake Off 2016

For Sport Relief, we enjoyed fundraising across all of our Retail Assist sites on Friday with a company wide Bake Off! Charitable giving is important to our business, and the Bake Off was a great way to get together in aid of a fantastic cause. We’re proud to have raised over £500! The Star Baker was crowned at our Paul St London office: congratulations to Sarb Singh, our Desktop Support Manager, for his Falling Malteaser Masterpiece! Check out the bakes below:…
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Mother's Day Gift Guide
  • 2 Mar

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Have you bought your Mum a gift yet? If the answer is no, don’t panic. We visited some of our customers on the High Street to create a  Mother’s Day video gift guide for you. We’ve got all types of Mums covered in our gift guide: the fashionistas, the handbag lovers, the list makers and the ones who insist a card is just enough. Take a look at our gift guide here and if you see something you like, we have listed all the links to each product underneath the video. Mint Velvet Ombre Wrap Blouse, Mint Velvet Abstract Print Scarf, Karen Millen Glitter Box Clutch, Karen Millen Printed Clutch, Paperchase’s Entire Mother’s Day Collection. Our customers always provide great gifts for Mother’s Day. Did you know that if you make a purchase at Cath Kidston before Mother’s Day, you’ll get a lovely free card? Now that’s a job made quick and easy! Cath Kidston are also hosting a series of ‘Mother’s Day Makes’. Join them in-store to create some lovely Mother’s Day gifts. You can also use their blog guides to create home-made gifts if you’re a bit strapped for cash. What gifts do you think your Mum will like best from our gift guide? How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday? Post your comments in the box below, we’d love to hear from you!…
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retail IT support
  • 30 Oct

Halloween 2015: will retailers be spooked by demand?

With recent estimates stating UK Halloween sales are expected to reach £460 million for retailers this year, seasonality is evidently still a big win for retail brands. Pumpkins, witch hats, trick or treat provisions: no doubt you’ll have had a panic dash to your nearest shop to purchase one/all of the above this week. We wanted to find out more about consumers’ purchasing habits and general plans for the Halloween period, so in true Retail Assist style, we’ve conducted a survey and produced an infographic of our spooky findings: Where will consumers be shopping? Supermarkets took an overwhelming majority when it comes to Halloween purchasing habits; keeping their title as the “go-to” stores for Halloween shoppers in search of costumes and treats. 67% voted for supermarkets as their preferred place to shop Halloween items, over the 33% of people choosing fashion retailers. Retail Week’s recent survey also noted that supermarkets came out on top last year, with 38.3% of costume purchases made at a supermarket in 2014. Sadly for independents, nearly three quarters of people source their pumpkins from a supermarket, rather than from a traditional pumpkin patch. What will consumers be doing? Our survey shows that most people plan to watch a scary film this Halloween, which is great news for our customer Vue Cinemas! Are you brave enough to watch the new Paranormal Activity instalment? 53% will be sitting down to a scary film, whilst 28% will be attending costume parties, and 19% having a night out. The hospitality industry will definitely experience a burst of activity this weekend. So, what will people be watching behind their cushions tomorrow evening? Hocus Pocus stormed ahead, taking 34% of the votes as people’s favourite Halloween film. This proves that classic cult films retain popularity: perhaps we could do with a new Halloween classic to be released! To find out more about our work with Vue, just visit their dedicated page here. For more information about how our Help Desk supports their cinema estate, you can also request a case study. With busy trading expected, our Help Desk teams are gearing up to support our customers from day to night, with a smile, 24 x 7. Have a Happy Halloween, from all at RA! Pumpkin credits to our Contracts Manager, Rumyana Topliyska!    …
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Mademoiselle Prive
  • 26 Oct

Mademoiselle Privé: The Free Chanel Exhibition

Earlier this month, we watched in awe over social media as the Chanel Airlines SS16 fashion show took place in Paris. Watching this event unfold over our favourite celebrities’ Instagram and Twitter feeds, we couldn’t help but say – “we wish we were there!” Thus when Mademoiselle Privé was announced to open in London as a free exhibition, we couldn’t have been more excited to be part of it. Yesterday, we attended the beautiful Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The spectacular star-studded opening party took place on October 12th, where the likes of Cara Delevingne and Julianne Moore graced the exhibition. Mademoiselle Privé showcases the stunning work of head designer and creative director of the fashion house, Karl Lagerfeld, as well as taking you on a journey through the work and lifestyle of Mademoiselle Chanel herself. There’s no better setting for this iconic expo than the Saatchi Gallery, located in Chelsea. Just last month we were invited to go there for London Fashion Weekend, which we thoroughly enjoyed! After waltzing into the ticket-only LFWEnd event at the gallery last month, we were stunned to see the colossal queue of around 400 people for the Mademoiselle Privé free event. ‘Exclusive’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘quintessentially French’ are all connotations of the Chanel brand. Therefore, ‘a free Chanel exhibition open to the public’, does seem a bit of an odd juxtaposition. However, this accessibility is what has made this event so popular, and is a testament to Chanel’s humble beginnings, and wide social reach in the early 20th century. Each room in the Saatchi Gallery has its very own Chanel theme. There is a perfume room called the Chanel No5 laboratory, which experiments with the alchemy of the revolutionary and mysterious composition of Chanel No5. Another room is an 18th century French garden, inspired by the iconic intertwined C motif that is the brand’s signature. Gabrielle Chanel first saw this C motif in a stained-glass window in the orphanage where she lived as a child. In addition, there is a small cinema room showcasing a short-film of Karl Lagerfeld himself acting beside ‘Gabrielle Chanel’. Perhaps the most impressive room was the Haute Couture and Photography rooms on the second floor. Haute Couture embodies the spirit of Chanel, and demonstrates the tradition, attention to detail, quality and perfection of Chanel. The Photography room displays the likes of Rita Ora, Lily-Rose Depp, Kiera Knightley and many more wearing the haute couture pieces. All the photos were captured by Karl Lagerfeld. Embroidery, flower making and Chanel No5 olfactive workshops run throughout the day for those who really want to immerse themselves into the world of Chanel. Also, a Mademoiselle Privé app is available to download to your phone. You can use this throughout the expo to have an interactive, self-guided tour experience. And as you leave the expo, you’ll be handed a complimentary Mademoiselle Privé tote bag (perfect for avoiding those 5p plastic bag charges)! It’s the final week of the exhibition…
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  • 28 Sep

London Fashion Weekend 2015: Best Bits

Yesterday, our Marketing team was lucky enough to attend the closing day of The British Fashion Council’s London Fashion Weekend, held at the Saatchi Gallery in London. It was a glamorous affair to say the least, with more fashionistas than you could shake a Fendi pom pom at. Here’s our round-up of the best bits from the day, featuring expert talks, catwalks, and three packed floors of designer previews. 1) Blogger Talks: Becoming a Blogger with The Frugality (Alex Stedman), The Edited (Erica Davies) and The Lifestyle Edit (Naomi Mdudu).   From a Marketing perspective, probably the most interesting part of the day. Three inspirational women gave their expert opinions on everything blog related, covering topics such as gifting a blogger, how to create an authentic voice, the correct use of the hashtag, and the best photo editing tools (“are Instagram filters uncool?” – collective response: yes) In the blogging arena, the digital age has certainly given writers something to measure themselves by, given that the influence of blogging has become quantifiable. If an influential blogger posts a photo of some ASOS shoes for example, and then those shoes are bought 250 times in one day, the retail data can’t lie. Digital marketing in the form of blogging is one step closer to pinning down measurable KPIs, which means the profession has a more lucrative feel than before. SEO was also covered (if you’re not familiar, see “Google search monopoly”). In a nutshell, if your written online content is good enough, original, and has a consistent voice, visitors will come. SEO must be supplementary, rather than a traffic driver. Perhaps the thought shared most strongly by all three women: growing Instagram followers must be a new priority, as a new wave of Instabloggers (relying on the social medium, hashtags, and photography) use the photo sharing platform to act as their blog, rather than supplying written content as well. Instagram is a big influencer amongst the blogging audience. Analysis of social media activity throughout London Fashion Week proves this to be true. Some of the key findings, pulled together by eConsultancy, revealed that designers such as Topshop, Burberry, and Vivienne Westwood performed very well across social networks. Burberry’s Twitter handle (@Burberry) was mentioned the most of any designer, followed by Topshop (@topshop) and Julien Macdonald (@JulienMacdonald). Topshop had the most Instagram engagement, tallying up over 1.8m likes and comments on its Instagram posts. Burberry had the largest audience growth on Instagram, with nearly 74,000 new followers thanks to London Fashion Week. 2) Catwalk: Christopher Raeburn We were honoured to watch the final catwalk of the day, the outerwear collection from British fashion designer Christopher Raeburn, also GQ’s “Breakthrough Designer” Man of the Year. The contemporary collection pictured below is inspired by his “Remade in England” concept, sourcing redundant military fabrics, such as parachutes, to redesign and construct innovative, sustainable “hi-vis”uals.   3) Designer floors Check out our Go Pro stills across the 3 floors of designer pop-ups, ready to wear collections,…
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  • 28 Oct

Retail Assist takes part in Robin Hood Day

Everyone has heard of Robin Hood, Nottinghamshire’s most famous heroic outlaw and the world’s favourite folk hero. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor alongside his band of Merry Men, his adventures have been retold down the generations, from medieval ballads to Hollywood blockbusters. So this weekend, when Nottingham hosted ‘Robin Hood Day’, as a local Nottingham business we just knew we had to get involved. The Robin Hood Marketing Committee, made up of members from the city and county councils and Experience Nottinghamshire, as well as Robin Hood enthusiasts, decided to set up the event on 25th October to help promote the county’s legendary figure. The idea behind this was that the local community and businesses across Nottinghamshire would get involved, from theming menus to getting dressed up as Robin Hood, becoming an annual event. Tony Bates, a committee member has been instrumental in organising the event using social media to not only advertise the day but also helping to gain interest and traction with local businesses. Tony who also got involved by donning a green outfit himself, commented; “One of our focuses is to claim back Robin Hood for Nottingham. We want a day where people can have fun and celebrate our local legend.” It was nice to see other local businesses getting involved, such as McDonald’s at Exchange Walk’s and their Robin Hood themed tree and also the butchers at the Victoria Market were some of our favourites. We were really excited to get involved and enjoyed getting some pictures on the roof of the Retail Assist building with Nottingham Castle in the background, we also paid the Robin Hood statue a visit. Here at Retail Assist we are an award winning retail IT services and solutions provider. Offering IT support through a dedicated 24/365 service desk, data centre, remote monitoring, supply chain solution and project services. Retail Assist can support multichannel retailers’ head offices, supply chains, websites and stores. If you are interested in our IT systems and support services you can visit our website: www.retail-assist.co.uk or get in touch, email: info@retail-assist.co.uk and telephone: 0115 853 3910. Also keep up to date with our latest news by searching ‘RetailAssist’ on Twitter and Instagram. It was a really great day and anything we can do to help raise awareness not only of Robin Hood, but also Nottingham… sign us up.…
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  • 23 Sep

The Great Retail Assist Bake Off

On Friday, the Nottingham office kicked off a company wide ‘bake off,’ a tasty way to raise money for charity whilst celebrating having entered our 15th year of trading. The day was a great success, with 21 homemade cakes entered into the mix, and a reporter from the Nottingham Post coming along to photograph the occasion. Everyone in the office enjoyed as much cake as they could eat, resulting in some very sleepy workers, before the judging commenced at 3pm sharp. Following much debate, the first prize of retail vouchers and the opportunity to bake the company birthday cake went to Helen Wright, for her carrot cake cupcakes. Second prize went to Victoria Waterhouse for her ‘secret garden’ cake – pictured at the top. We wanted to take this chance to thank everyone that took part in the bake off, and for the amount of effort that was put into each and every cake. It’s little things like this that help add a bit of lighthearted fun into such a hardworking team, and we are grateful to everyone that took the time to join in. On Friday the Northampton office will rise to the challenge of their own bake off, we can’t wait to see the results!…
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  • 12 Aug

Retail Assist, Pre-Digital Photography

With Retail Assist now in its 15th year , we’ve been doing some reminiscing. Thanks to a drawer full of pre-digital camera photography we were able to dig out some old snapshots of both our old offices, and of the people that worked there – embarrassing for those that are still on the team. Here are a few that we’ve been allowed to share. Retail Assist has come a long way in its 14 years, and with the likes of Cath Kidston, Oasis and Morrisons Nutmeg on the books, is set to only get bigger. As we celebrate our 15th year we all feel lucky to work in  such a diverse and fast paced industry, and to have the opportunity to work alongside many of retails greats. We also feel grateful to those who made it possible, some of whom are pictured. Here’s to many more years of success!…
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