Retailer Opinion: Jo Webber of Jo Amor’s take on Theo Paphitis’ lessons

Jo Webber, owner of Tiverton-based card, gift and clothing retailer, Jo Amor is a great retailer who knows what she is doing – as her recent Greats gift retailer award testifies, but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t up for learning new tricks and listening to other retailers’ views. For this reason she ensured she nabbed a front row seat at the recent Autumn Fair as former Dragon and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis shared his take on what is happening in the retail landscape right now.

Above: Jo Amor’s Jo Webber joined the throng to listen to Theo’s every word.
Above: Jo Amor’s Jo Webber joined the throng to listen to Theo’s every word.

Here Jo shares a ‘magnificent seven’ of Theo’s standout quotes:

  1. Prepare for seismic change at retail: “There is so much changing all around us that we can expect a seismic change at retail too.”
  2. Consumers are promiscuous: “What we have all learned about retail over the past 30-40 years is that very little is now relevant. So much has changed in the way that our customers trade and the habits that they have got themselves into. For example, today’s consumers are promiscuous, and by that I mean that they love you today and move on tomorrow, just with their finger. Click. It’s so easy in terms of products and services.”
  3. With disruption comes opportunity: “Disruption is still majorly in existence. If you think what we have seen so far is disruption, the next five years will put that in the shade. However, wherever there is disruption there is opportunity. Nowadays, you can grow out of a workspace, a container, an office, a back room, a front room. The opportunities are there for everyone. All you need is a magic formula – the product, the reason to exist and the ability to reach your customers.”
  4. The Brexit effect: “It will cause irreparable damage to the retail industry. Some will survive and lots of people won’t.”
  5. Survival tactics: “To survive a small business needs to have ‘a want’ to be different.”
  6. Five year prediction: “The next five years on the high street will see great change. Well known brands will disappear. It will appear dangerous and frightening. We don’t know what the next new product is, because it hasn’t been invented yet.”
  7. Advice for thriving: “Keep your finger on the pulse and don’t accept what you are doing now.”
Above: Jo Webber’s own retailing prowess was recognised in The Greats gift retailer awards in May at which Jo Amor won Best Independent Gift Retailer – South West.
Above: Jo Webber’s own retailing prowess was recognised in The Greats gift retailer awards in May at which Jo Amor won Best Independent Gift Retailer – South West.
Above: Theo Paphitis is the owner and driving force behind Robert Dyas, Ryman and Boux Avenue, and has spent his career building and buying businesses spanning retail, property, finance and consumer goods. 
Above: Theo Paphitis is the owner and driving force behind Robert Dyas, Ryman and Boux Avenue, and has spent his career building and buying businesses spanning retail, property, finance and consumer goods.

Top: Theo Paphitis was interviewed by Grace Bowden, head of content for Retail Week at last week’s Autumn Fair.

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