Monday, 13 November 2017

Can we learn lessons from retail in Majorca?

A recent trip to Majorca gave me an insight into how retail works differently there. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it is the culture, but retail seems to attract people in a completely different way on the island. If you go to any town centre in the UK on a normal day then you will find shops open during the day and closed around 5 in the evening. Particularly at this time of the year, when it gets dark, there is little appetitie to shop later then this. The exceptions are -
  • Special shopping nights
  • Shopping centres
  • Cities
In ther run up to Christmas, this changes slightly but not much. This doesn't work the same on the island of Majorca. I found it to be a very different beast.

How is retail different in Majorca?

The seasonal nature of retail on the island does tend to focus the mind of the shop owners there. I went towards the end of the season, but there was still the daily sight of shop owners setting up for around half an hour at the start of the day and then bringing it all back in again at the end of the trading day. It seems that showing absolutely everything that they sell is the way to go!

The traditional siesta is observed, which turns the working day into a longer one. The evening crowd, walking the streets looking for something to eat, are the perfect audience for these shops in the parts of the day where the UK shops are firmly closed with all the team at home. In an area where there will inevitably be people walking around looking for a place to spend their cash, being open and looking like they mean business really helps. I found these stores busier in the evening than they were during the day.

How can the UK learn from this?

We have seen a lot in the media about the decline of the UK High Street. But the way it is transforming poses some interesting questions. There is a larger mix of cafes and restaurants in the UK High Street than there ever was when I was young. This change in the mix of businesses throws up a new challenge, but not one that we can't surmount. Weatherspoon's pubs have a business model that makes the most of their presence. They -
  • Open for breakfast
  • Attract the mid-morning crowd with coffee
  • Get lunchtimes going
  • Have people in for evening meals
  • Act as a traditional pub after this
So, rather than be a pub, they have made the most of the fact they are already there on the street. Retailers need to think about how this works for them - particularly in conjunction with town planners. Having a town or city centre that remains open for breakfast, through the day and into the evening adds a vibrancy that the UK High Street rarely gives.

If you are part of a local area, then you may need to get together to influence this. Having a Weatherspoon's near to you will attract people all day long, so how do you make the most of this opportunity? I think that Majorca leads the way. There are lessons for us all to learn from different parts of the world. Think about how it can boost your retail business.

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