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IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

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Retail Project Management
  • 29 Nov

Mint Velvet experiences the benefits of POS replacement project

  November 2016: Mint Velvet, the British luxury womenswear retailer, has revamped its entire store estate with new till hardware, managed and supported by Retail Assist. Across the UK and Ireland, 30 Mint Velvet stores have benefited from the technology refresh for a modernised look and feel, improved functionality and greater cost efficiencies. Mint Velvet came to Retail Assist with a requirement to replace its till systems, back office PCs, and end-of-life software. Within tight timescales of 5 months, the project needed completing before Mint Velvet’s peak trading season. The new hardware was also migrated onto Mint Velvet’s central IT domain, to improve communications and administration between Head Office, and between stores. Retail Assist’s retail Project Management team completed a hardware selection process, till configuration and roll-out, with ongoing support being provided by their award-winning IT Help Desk. The till installations were completed out of hours, causing no disruption to Mint Velvet’s day-to-day trading operations. Retail Assist also managed a team of third party engineers to ensure a slick and effective transition in stores. A strong example of Retail Assist’s continued retail IT support, Mint Velvet’s Regional Operations Manager and Store Managers were recently invited to Head Office for a practical training and feedback session on the new Infinity POS system. Mint Velvet’s Regional Operations Manager, Nicola Soar, commented: “The training day really emphasised the proactive nature of Retail Assist’s unique support model. With any new in-store technology, being able to continue a two-way information stream is essential for our Store Managers to make the most out of their new kit, and have resolved any issues. The team also enjoyed meeting Retail Assist’s Help Desk, to put faces to the names of the support they receive.” Lucy Horne, Head of IT at Mint Velvet added: “The IT and technology project completed by Retail Assist has enabled Mint Velvet to improve IT alignment, and maintain our growth plans with dependable technology and support.” Dan Smith, CEO at Retail Assist, commented: “The POS replacement project demonstrates our unique knowledge of the retail IT systems marketplace and expert ability to implement new technology. We are committed to supporting our customers in whichever way they require.” Mint Velvet also uses Retail Assist’s omnichannel supply chain solution, Merret, installed when the brand started up in 2009.   This article is available to request as a Case Study here. Keep checking our news page for more of our latest retail technology news.…
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Nexpo Retail Technology News
  • 26 Sep

Nexpo launches retailing into the next generation

International fashion house, Karen Millen, launches a retail technology concept store in Shoreditch. In partnership with Retail Assist and a number of emerging tech firms, Nexpo showcases existing technology in Karen Millen stores such as wearable tech for store assistants and payment analytics, as well as a range of the latest technologies coming to market. This includes time-delay mirrors that allow customers to film and share videos of themselves trying on clothes, store heat mapping and RFID tagging garments to help retailers track their stock’s performance. Visitors to the store will have the opportunity to browse and shop the latest Karen Millen collections while testing the state-of-the-art technology, providing rich analytics to help design the ultimate in-store experience. Charlotte Ellis, Customer Director at Karen Millen, said: “It is fantastic to see progressive technology together in this environment with elements of the technology on show in this pop-up already being used in Karen Millen stores. This pop-up brings it all together in one place alongside new tech innovations, helping us create a highly engaging and differentiated client experience. We’re really excited about the potential for this emerging technology as a key part of our continued ambition to a leading accessible luxury fashion brand”. Alex Broxson, Head of Marketing at Retail Assist commented on the event: “Unlike so called ‘stores of the future’ most of the tech featured in the store is being trialled and tested already by retailers across the world. But, it hasn’t yet been introduced all together in one space, providing a singular, seamless customer shopping journey. That’s Nexpo’s critical difference.” Alan Morris, Executive Chairman of Retail Assist, added: “Retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The key to offsetting the trend of falling footfall is twofold: using technology to integrate the store into your omnichannel strategy, and understanding how it performs best in order to increase basket value. Your store could be your biggest untapped source of potential, with opportunities to sell more stock at full price. “The technology showcased at Nexpo will support retailers to achieve higher sales, wider market share and help better understand customers now and in the future.” Nexpo exhibiting technology partners include Enactor, Vista Retail Support, Vodat International, Inovretail, Adyen, DB Pixelhouse and Catalyst. If you require any further information about any of the partners, or any of the technology showcased, get in touch here, or call Alex Broxson on 0115 9042713. To be informed about any of our future events or any other retail technology news, please get in touch with us.…
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Retail Assist Record Financial Results
  • 5 Sep

Retail Assist’s Record Financial Results

Media Release, September 2016: Retail Assist, the global award-winning software and support business which powers some of the biggest names on the high street, has revealed record results driven by growth in sales and customer numbers. Headquartered in Nottingham, the business’s turnover in 2015-16 leapt more than 10 per cent to £15m, with increasing numbers of retail and hospitality clients turning to its technology and services to help deliver sales growth and high-quality customer experience. Retail Assist provides software and technology support services which help clients like retailers and hospitality businesses globally, 24x7x365. The company’s turnover has risen by nearly 50 per cent in the space of only three years and Chief Finance Officer Matthew Proudlove says he expects growth to continue as customers look for centralised support during a period when technological transformation is driving omnichannel sales. “This has been our best ever year and it reflects the sustained commitment we’ve made to invest in good people, great products and consistently high support,” he said. “We are operating in growing markets where technology is, more than ever, central to success in retail and hospitality and we expect to see our strong performance continuing as there are many brands for whom the services we deliver and the way we operate are a very good fit.” Retail Assist employs 220 people at sites in Nottingham, Northampton and London, with most based at its head office on Friar Lane – also the home of its Help Desk operations. Retail Assist works with retail clients such as Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen and ASOS, major hospitality brands including Pizza Hut and cinema chain Vue. Matthew added: “This is a year in which we have delivered a number of key initiatives for our customers, among them a business-critical project for ASOS which will enable them to continue growing as the second largest online retailer. “Similarly, we have helped the Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse websites move on to a new ecommerce platform which will allow them to enhance their customer experience further. “At the same time, there have been a number of significant new client wins and expanded services from existing clients who want us to deliver more of their core support. “There is further growth ahead. Our products have proved themselves in retail but they are transferable to hospitality, an industry which is at an earlier stage in its technological evolution – hence hospitality clients are coming to us to make that step.” Besides its support services, Retail Assist has its own software supply chain solution, Merret, which is designed to give clients a single view of stock across high street/online channels. Retail Assist’s CEO, Dan Smith, explained: “We live in an era when the digital revolution continues to transform retail and hospitality industries. Social media is driving rapid turnarounds in trends and the always-on world is fuelling rising customer expectations in terms of the speed and level of service – both in-store or online. “These represent major opportunities for dynamic retail and hospitality…
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IT services
  • 16 Aug

Retail Assist is a Key Driver of Success for Bidvest Logistics

Retail Assist has worked with Bidvest Logistics for over 5 years, and is thrilled to announce a further 5 year contract extension     Bidvest Logistics, the preferred logistics partner of leading brands within the food, drink and hospitality industry, including Pret A Manger, Greene King, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Pizza Express and Zizzi has continued to develop its relationship with Retail Assist through the extension of its IT Managed Services Agreement for a further 5 years. Retail Assist has supported Bidvest since 2011 with managed IT support services, enabling internal IT resources to focus upon the core business and applications, whilst Retail Assist maintains the infrastructure and user systems. Retail Assist helps drive incident volumes down with their single point of contact IT Help Desk, which supports 600 staff members across 7 depot locations. Retail Assist works closely with Bidvest’s internal IT team and third parties to minimise any disruption to critical business operations. Because Bidvest Logistics was so impressed with Retail Assist’s Managed IT and Technical Services, in 2015, a year before contract end, they were contracted for a further 5 years – a real reflection of Bidvest’s confidence in the service. Thanks to 24×7 support from Retail Assist, Bidvest Logistics is reaping the benefits of greater systems uptime, meaning guaranteed services to their customers around the clock; for example, servicing around 12,000 deliveries per week across their customer base. Cindy Howarth, Director of IT at Bidvest Logistics explains: “The selective outsourcing model we have chosen allows the team here to concentrate on our core competencies. Although Bidvest is in the logistics sector, IT is a key driver of our business. Working with a specialist company such as Retail Assist allows Bidvest Logistics to retain a competitive edge by enabling us to be agile and meet the demands of our internal and external customers. “The impact of the IT projects carried out by Retail Assist cannot be understated. For example, since upgrading Bidvest’s servers to the latest technology, our disaster recovery time has gone from 4 hours to just 15 minutes. This has had a very significant impact, and represents just one of many benefits we’re experiencing.” Since virtualising Bidvest’s key server environment in 2013, Retail Assist has continued to advise and support Bidvest Logistics on numerous projects to standardise Bidvest Logistics IT systems across all sites, to improve performance and maximise productivity. In a project to upgrade disk storage for increased systems performance, Bidvest’s warehouse management system, Minster, experienced a 40% decrease in the time taken to complete overnight scheduling, allowing the business to operate 24×7 warehouses due to the vast decrease in system downtime. Retail Assist has further supported Bidvest’s international expansion plans, implementing IT infrastructure and user systems at 3 new depots in Paris, Manchester, and Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. Retail Assist’s shared service model provides a consistency of service delivered across Bidvest’s disparate sites – in the UK and France – meaning that every member of staff receives the same quality support. Retail Assist…
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omnichannel supply chain solution
  • 3 Aug

Harvey Nichols sees benefits of real-time stock availability

Harvey Nichols, the world’s leading luxury retailer, has upgraded their supply chain technology to the latest version of Merret, the end-to-end omnichannel solution developed by Retail Assist. Retailing in an omnichannel world, Harvey Nichols required 24×7 availability of stock across all of its channels, to fully support the relaunch of its website. The software upgrade involved Merret being moved onto a cloud based infrastructure, which facilitated a higher availability of the solution, making the supply chain structure much more resilient and dependable. Harvey Nichols can now retail in real-time, as they experience consumer demand around the clock. The upgrade contract with Retail Assist builds upon an existing relationship with Harvey Nichols, which began in 2004. The project was fully managed end-to-end by Retail Assist’s in-house project managers. Fatima Zada, Director of Technology and Innovation at Harvey Nichols, said: “The Merret upgrade provides much more in terms of scalability, as our international growth trajectory and ecommerce offer goes from strength to strength. Retail Assist facilitated our journey into omnichannel over 10 years ago, and the recent project has created a solid foundation for our growth vision going forward.” Nigel Illingworth, Global Strategy Director at Retail Assist, oversaw the project closely from an operational level: “Harvey Nichols is now experiencing the business benefits of a package solution, one that has moved from a bespoke, localised system to a fully supportable version. The brand is now on our roadmap for future developments, meaning they will always benefit from latest Merret innovations to provide a top quality customer experience.” Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, commented on the successful project completion: “With a global reputation for luxury lifestyle retail, Harvey Nichols needed to make their omnichannel proposition as strong as their brand heritage. We are pleased to see our longstanding relationship with Harvey Nichols develop further, providing them with cutting edge retail technology 12 years after they originally started working with us. The Merret upgrade is testimony to the confidence that the business has in our people and products.” Harvey Nichols has also invested in smart tablet technology with Retail Assist’s in-store inventory solution, Merret Tablet Inventory. Facilitating a more transparent and comprehensive stock view, and therefore enabling order fulfilment in-store via the most efficient and cost effective channel, the solution maximises the sell-through of full price stock. Retail Assist’s new Merret support functions, such as the App Academy, an online training and user support portal, are also now readily available to educate Harvey Nichols on best omnichannel practice. This can result in greater operational efficiency of their retail business processes, maximising profitability. Keep an eye out for more retail technology news from Retail Assist. …
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retail it solutions
  • 1 Aug

Retail Assist launches Nexpo: a pop-up store of the next generation

Leading retail IT specialists, Retail Assist, have announced the launch of Nexpo, a retail technology pop-up store opening in Shoreditch, London, in September 2016. In partnership with international women’s fashion retailer Karen Millen, Retail Assist will showcase a range of innovative in-store technology, demonstrating solutions that are realistic, affordable and easily deployable to your store estate. With a host of cutting edge technology partners, the store will feature customer profiling and in-store analytics, beacons and personalisation, interactive omnichannel experiences and more, all available to test and experience on free guided tours. Nexpo will be hosted at Hoxton Arches, London, from Wednesday 21st to Friday 23rd September 2016. With the opportunity to network with other retailers on pop-up store tours, running twice daily, guests are registering to be taken on a journey of the achievable future customer experience. Alex Broxson, Head of Marketing at Retail Assist commented on the event: “Unlike so called ‘stores of the future’ most of the tech featured in the store is being trialled and tested already by retailers across the world. But, it hasn’t yet been introduced all together in one space, providing a singular, seamless customer shopping journey. That’s Nexpo’s critical difference.” Alan Morris, Executive Chairman of Retail Assist, added: “Retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The key to offsetting the trend of falling footfall is twofold: using technology to integrate the store into your omnichannel strategy, and understanding how it performs best in order to increase basket value. Your store could be your biggest untapped source of potential, with opportunities to sell more stock at full price. “The technology showcased at Nexpo will support retailers to achieve higher sales, wider market share and help better understand customers now and in the future.” Favouring an experimental and realistic experience over the demo versions usually shown at tech Expos, Nexpo features three areas: Customer Experience – a seamless end-to-end omnichannel experience, with the ability to browse, shop and experience all channels whilst in-store. Store Operation – the innovative technology underpinning the store’s performance, from inventory management, to high-value payments, and atmospherics. Analytics – continual assessment of store performance for making business recommendations based on the store experience. Nexpo technology partners include Enactor, Vista Retail Support, Vodat International, Inovretail, Adyen, DB Pixelhouse and Catalyst. Nexpo tour bookings are required to attend the event. Reserve your exclusive free space at www.retail-assist.co.uk/nexpo…
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  • 12 Jul

New structure builds foundations for further growth at Retail Assist

Julian Woodall – HR Director; Dave Roberts – Managed Services Director; Dan Smith – CEO; Matthew Proudlove – CFO; Hazel Olivier – Solutions Director; Renato Pastorino – Client Director. A MIDLANDS business whose IT software and support are used by some of the biggest names in retail and hospitality is gearing up for growth with a new management structure. Retail Assist provides technology, support and expertise which ensures that retailers and well-known hospitality brands can meet customer demand in-store and online. Currently on course for its most successful trading year, the business has now set up a new Operational Board which has seen key staff step up to take on new responsibilities. The move has also seen a new face join the business – people development expert Julian Woodall, who becomes HR Director at Retail Assist. The Operational Board will complement Retail Assist’s Main Board, which is led by Chairman Alan Morris, CEO Dan Smith and CFO Matthew Proudlove. While the Main Board will focus on the long-term strategy of the business, the Operational Board has responsibility for day-to-day delivery. Explaining the new structure, Dan Smith said: “We’re going through an exciting transformation that comes with being an organisation that has grown from a small Nottingham and Northampton company into a multi-site business which underpins the IT operations of some of the biggest brands in retail and hospitality internationally. “The business is performing brilliantly, securing some very high-profile new clients and winning global accolades for the customer service that lies at the heart of what we do. The new structure will help us to capitalise on that growth and move on to the next level.” Retail Assist employs more than 90 people at its headquarters on Friar Lane, Nottingham, while a further 80 people are based at two sites in Northampton – an application centre on the Moulton Park Industrial Estate and a Data Centre nearby on Westleigh Office Park. The business develops and provides global software solutions and round-the-clock IT support services which enable clients like Harvey Nichols, Karen Millen and ASOS  to meet customer demand in an era known as omnichannel – where sales can be in-store, online or click-and-collect. The IT support which it provides is acknowledged to be the best in the industry, its Help Desk having won the Best Managed Service Desk Award at this year‘s Service Desk Institute’s annual awards – a benchmark of global performance. Julian Woodall’s arrival at Retail Assist marks the start of a push to help its team enhance skills and assume responsibilities which will enable the business to explore new opportunities. Julian, whose experience includes senior roles with major retail and financial services organisations, said: “Retail Assist is in a strong position to progress because it is beginning this journey with the right culture – the people who work here, the service they deliver and the environment they operate in are already very good, as the awards testify. “But as a business, we’re ready to move on to the…
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international help desk support
  • 8 Jul

Retail Assist recognised in Top 10: Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016

Retail Assist, has successfully been named one of Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016, ranking the business within the Top 10 in the region for high performance, growth and innovation. Retail Assist is among ten businesses chosen to be part of The Creative Class, whose success embodies the growth potential of the city economy. Retail Assist’s application demonstrated its ambitious plans for future growth, expansion and accessing new markets. Further insight into Retail Assist’s innovation, both in developing new technologies and systems, as well as new approaches to talent development, marked the business as dynamic and forward thinking. With a global reputation in supporting leading retailers and hospitality operators, Retail Assist plan to remain on the curve of their current growth trajectory, continuing to attract and develop the best talent in the region. Alan Morris, Founding Member and Executive Chairman of Retail Assist, commented on the company’s latest achievement: “As a member of The Creative Class, we’re proud to be ambassadors for the city and county – passionate about Nottingham, and its creative and dynamic environment. We hope that the recognition will continue to increase our profile, raise awareness of our award-winning services and solutions, and help the business to develop an even greater competitive edge.” The Creative Class recognition comes just three months after Retail Assist’s IT Help Desk, based in Nottingham, was recognised as the best in the world by industry standards. Launched in 2011, this is the fifth anniversary Creative Class event. The initiative began with nine creative companies, which were heralded as leading the way in terms of dynamism and diversity. The Creative Class 2016 was unveiled last night at an event at the Nottingham Contemporary hosted by Nottingham Means Business, and sponsored by PwC. Retail Assist is now a member of Nottingham Means Business for 2016/17. Search #CC2016 on Twitter to catch up on all the action from the event. Videos and photos will be released next week, so stay tuned.…
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project management services
  • 17 Jun

Oasis and Warehouse launch next generation websites

High street fashion brands Oasis and Warehouse are pleased to announce the launch of their innovative new digital platforms. By partnering with Javelin Group, Demandware and Retail Assist to manage the successful migration of both sites, Oasis and Warehouse have transformed their digital offering to deliver next generation ecommerce sites, each uniquely supporting an ongoing omni-channel customer experience strategy. Oasis and Warehouse COO, Hash Ladha comments; ‘This is just the start of an exciting digital transformation for both Oasis and Warehouse. Across each brand we pride ourselves in consistently being at the forefront of innovation and now have a new base to continue to build from for the future.’ Each brand’s digital strategy demonstrates a significant commitment to delivering a modern user experience; one invested in omni-channel improvement and growth. Both brands continue to directly respond to the customer’s ever-evolving shopping requirements, creating a seamless customer journey online coupled with contemporary design and innovation. Press release via Oasis. Read more about the website replatform here.  Click for more retail technology news, or visit our retail technology blog for industry insights.…
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International Help Desk Support
  • 13 Apr

Retail Assist wins ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ at the Service Desk Institute IT Service and Support Awards 2016

We are delighted to announce that Retail Assist has won the globally recognised ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ Award at the Service Desk Institute’s (SDI) Annual IT Service and Support Awards. The SDI’s annual Awards identify the excellence of outstanding service desk teams and individuals, and celebrates their success. After reaching the Final 3 last year, Retail Assist was keen to re-enter with a host of fresh innovations to its service desk provision. ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ was a tough category – in the Final 3 were SCC based in Romania, and Maersk Group headquartered in Denmark. However, Retail Assist impressed the judges with the level of investment demonstrated in their Help Desk, and focus on the customer; providing a proactive, quality service to enable them to reach their goals. Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, commented on the achievement: “We are extremely proud to have won the award, and to claim the title as the World’s ‘Best Managed Service Desk’.  We have progressed significantly over the last 17 years to support many of the leading retail and hospitality brands, but this really gives the team the recognition they deserve for all their hard work and dedication to providing the best possible service to over 8000 global locations around the clock.” The Retail Assist Help Desk team enjoyed an impressive gala dinner event, receiving the award along with winners in each of the awards categories, at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole last night. We are donating the £1000 winning prize to our chosen charity for the financial year, Emmanuel House, a homelessness charity based in Nottingham.…
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