high street

Retailers in Cheshire West and Chester will be able to attend one of  “The Shop Doctors” Retail Masterclasses being arranged for 29th March 2012.

The masterclass is being delivered as part of a  new “Shop Doctor Support Programme” being delivered into Cheshire West and Chester for the first time.

The programme also allows for ‘one to one’ advisory visits with 12 independent retailers within each of their businesses. Following the visits each retailer will be receive a comprehensive recommendations report from the Shop Doctor detailing opportunities that he believes will  help build business performance and onward profitability.

The Shop Doctor comments that “unlike many recent TV shows featuring retail ‘gurus’ that result in a major stock purge, and often expensive shop refits, my advice is about identifying immediate solutions that can be cost effectively implemented to help revitalise the businesses concerned.” he added “Substantial investment is often  desirable but not always possible in the prevailing economic climate. We work with the retailers concerned to help them recognise and maximise their existing opportunities, ones that can materially improve performance and lead to future investment if necessary when the economic climate improves”

Retailers in Dumfries will be benefiting from a programme of specialised Shop Doctor support funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

Our Shop Doctor, Bill Smith, will be delivering one of his motivational and informative retail masterclass workshops to retailers  on the evening of Tuesday 20th March at the DG One Leisure Complex

In addition to the masterclass 12 independent retailers in the town will be given the opportunity to receive an ‘in store’ surgery from The Shop Doctor enabling them to directly benefit from his specialised advice.

Each of the twelve shops enrolled for  ‘one to one’ visits will also receive a comprehensive recommendations report focused on helping re-energise each of the individual businesses taking part and will also be eligible for a £500 grant towards implementation of recommendations made by the Shop Doctor.  A follow-up visit with the Shop Doctor will also be arranged 12 months later.

Further information about the retail workshop and the specialised ‘one to one’ Shop Doctor visits will be posted below as soon as it becomes available:

6th March 2012: Dumfries & Galloway Council

22 February 2012: South of Scotland Business Solutions


Adopting some simple resolutions for the New Year could help attract new customers to your shop.

Why not try some of these:

  • Regularly look at your business from the customers point of view, remedy any failings immediately.
  • Keep your shop front well swept and free of weeds and rubbish.
  • Refresh the message on your ‘A’ sign, keep it informative, clean and sensibly located.
  • Display your business contact details clearly on the shop fascia or window.
  • Request the window cleaner to clean the shop fascia on a regular basis. What about cleaning the insides more regularly?
  • Ensure window displays are regularly changed and that the window is working for you even when the shop is closed.
  • Illuminate your window effectively and keep window lighting on after the shop is closed.
  • Repair light fittings immediately something goes wrong and keep bulbs to the same specification.
  • Remove unnecessary notices from your shop window and door – particularly if they are promoting another business.
  • Remember the age old retail adage – EYE LEVEL IS BUY LEVEL” and use it to maximise the appeal of your window and interior displays.

Look out for more simple resolutions from ‘The Shop Doctor’ to help make your shop work harder for you in 2012.

Sometimes addressing the simplest of things can make the greatest impact.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and let’s hope for a more prosperous one.




8 independent businesses in Knutsford directly participated in the most recent round of Shop Doctor surgeries funded by Cheshire East Council on 29th & 30th November.

‘One to one’ in-store surgeries were focused on helping retailers maximise additional opportunities within their existing businesses and how to achieve this in a cost effective way.

“All too often opportunities to maximise the impact of  a business,  its appeal to the customer, and how existing fixtures and fittings  can be more effectively utilised, positioned and merchandised can easily become overlooked” commented The Shop Doctor adding “During my surgeries I prompt retailers to take a look at their business from the customer perspective,  recognise how small changes can  help deliver significant benefits and how, by applying simple concepts regarding  how customer ‘shop the shop’, it is possible to increase unit sales”

A Retail Masterclass was also included within the programme and this was delivered by The Shop Doctor on the evening of the 30th.  Attendees at the Masterclass also received information about the CORA World Host Customer Service programme being delivered by the Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy.

Shops visited included, Roberta Beauty Redefined, Papa’s Tailoring, Raw Sienna, Aunty Mabel’s Seat, Clarity Contemporary Jewellery, The Orange Orchard, Polished Glass and Cherry Tree

Whilst in Knutsford The Shop Doctor also looked in on Cooks Emporium, Stephen Edwards Electrical and EmsOriginals

I certainly experienced some excellent shops, superb skills and undoubted entrepreneurship during my visit to Knutsford, a town well worth visiting.

A pilot project by Tesco to run in-store hair and beauty salons has been described by small-business groups as a further threat to independent retailers, many who are already struggling to survive.

The project will see the ‘Regis Salons’ chain offering “luxury at great Tesco prices” in Tesco Extra  stores in eight towns and cities in England and Wales.

Concern is being expressed by trade bodies that the development could force further small shop closures on our High Street with customers being attracted away from their traditional hair and beauty treatment providers.

The hair and beauty sector has to date avoided facing the challenges created by the continuing development of product and service diversity being driven by the supermarket chains  and, for some, it has been surprising that the hair and beauty sector has not been targeted previously.

For more information click here.

For an up to date review of the impact of the new in store facility in Horwich read the article carried in The Bolton News on the 29th October


Regis Salons are part of the Regis Corporation which owns and operates over 400 salons in the United Kingdom, including brands such as Regis, Supercuts and Sassoon Salon.

In addition, Regis maintains an ownership interest in Provalliance, which operates salons primarily in Europe, under the brands of Jean Louis David, Franck Provost and Saint Algue.

The Shop Doctor has been active again this week working with Cheshire East Council delivering his bespoke retail business support to independent retailers in Wilmslow, Knutsford, Disley, Nantwich, Handforth,  Sandbach, Middlewich and Crewe.

At an evening workshop on Tuesday 27th September retailers from Wilmslow, Handforth, Disley and Knutsford participated in an enjoyable and informative evening workshop focusing on how retailers can attract more customers by making the best of the visual impact of their business.

On Wednesday 28th the Shop Doctor participated in the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce Open Day by delivering two workshops, one in the afternoon (aimed at professional service providers operating on our High Streets) and the second identifying how retailers can maximise unit sales by applying simple but effective  layout and merchandising techniques.

On Thursday the day was spent visiting  6 retailers in Nantwich and 1 in Crewe and on Friday 7 retailers across Middlewich, Sandbach and Nantwich will be receiving a visit.

The ever increasing presence of professional services providers on our high streets can materially affect the visual ambiance of the trading environment in which they operate.

When contemplating establishing such a business on the high street care needs to be taken to ensure that the visual impact created by the business compliments the trading environment rather than conflicting with it.

Existing providers could often do with taking a regular look outside as first impressions really do play an important role in attracting or detracting customer or clients interest and all too often the impact is less than effective.

Whether a solicitor or accountant, doctor or dentist making sure that those important first impressions impact favourably on your clients can materially affect the onward vibrancy of your business.

Let’s Talk Shop can help you make the right decisions, from the name on the fascia to the colour and presentaion of the ‘shopfront’ , the effectiveness of window displays to getting clients through the door and, once they are in, making sure they feel comfortable.