Retail Therapy at the new Whitworth

16 05 2014

Retail Therapy at the new Whitworth

While our new building continues to grow and shape up, and I’ve shown visitors to this blog tantalising images of our new galleries, promenades, and cafe, as well as glimpses of steelwork and muddy holes in the ground, much effort continues behind the scenes as all members of Whitworth staff prepare for our opening in October. This report comes from Head of Commercial Operations, Marcus Chase:

‘As the Whitworth Art Gallery continues the journey of major redevelopment, we will see new spaces become available along with changes to previously familiar ones. In particular, the transformation of the old cafe and shop spaces leading off the Entrance Hall will reveal an exciting new retail space for the Gallery. But what would we be stocking in that space and how would we go about deciding this?

During the period we have been closed, there have been many workshops for staff and a great deal of research undertaken to plan a new strategy and identify products and ranges we will be selling when we re-open. In addition, we have been working with Jane Wentworth Associates’ retail specialist Frances Croxford who gave us a unique insight into Retail in the Cultural Sector recently. At this session nearly 40 colleagues from all areas of work met at Manchester Art Gallery from the Whitworth, Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and Platt Hall.

Frances shared with us an insight into what makes retail important and how it fits into the cultural visitor’s experience; selling a good time, a holiday without taking a flight, creating surprise and seeing people buying stuff that is a ‘souvenir’ of their visit. Selling a slice of happiness.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 16.14.54

We saw how the museum and gallery experience has progressed from the 1850’s to today and how the retail experience has moved with that and the many changes happening in the wider world to retail alongside the many different ways to shop. Frances gave us an insight into the economics and emotional reasons for developing a strong retail presence along with a clear sense of engaging with our visitors. This was distilled down into ten guides to smart retail and ranged from knowing our brand and customer to being curators of our shops and not just buyers to ensure that our Whitworth individuality and personality shines through in everything we do. This wider picture is invaluable for us all to understand what is behind the detailed work we are now doing in readiness for October’.




One response

16 05 2014

Reblogged this on msamba.

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