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Commercial Enterprise: Retail Session 1

What's in Store?

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 10:00

Museum shops are an integral part of the visitor experience and when managed successfully, provide vital revenue streams.  Through creative case studies and shared experiences, this event will explore how museum shops can create a unique identity which is commercially viable and supportive of their organisation’s culture and philosophy.

The day has been designed to inspire confidence in developing retail activity and aims to help museums identify the steps they need to take to maximise the effectiveness of their retail offer. 

Case studies will provide insight into how retail success can be achieved on a tight budget, identify the fundamentals of retail management, explore effective business models, offer advice on understanding and forecasting sales, look at how museums can build relationships with customers and suppliers, and share top tips on customer service and e-commerce.

The day includes workshop tours of the shops at the Pitt Rivers Museums, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology which will provide a visual backdrop to conversations around a range of issues including product design and development, working in restricted spaces, best sellers and visual merchandising.

There will be plenty of time to network with colleagues, share ideas, be inspired by each other and to think about what your museum needs to do next.

This event is for decision makers working in museums who have retail responsibilities.


Sue Shave, Director at the Chiltern Open Air Museum (COAM) in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire has a background in museum education and worked at ARC, Coldharbour Mill, Thinktank and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum before joining COAM.   She recently led COAM through a radical rethink of its retail offer, increasing the visitor spend per head.  Sue will share her top tips on how to run a museum shop on a budget. 

Yvonne Cawkwell, Retail Manager at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History & Pitt Rivers Museum started her career in retail on the Marks and Spencer’s graduate scheme.  She moved to the Burton Group as a buyer before specialising in supply, product design and development for Elle and Nina Ricci. Drawing on her extensive retail background and using the museum shops she manages as case studies, Yvonne will reflect on the importance of knowing and understanding your business through the principles of merchandising. She will also look at the importance of getting the right stock in store and understanding trends.

Jeremy Ensor, Commercial Director at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology was previously Head of Retail and Licensing at the Natural History Museum in London, which followed seven years with Heals as a Store Manager and seven years with Selfridges in various buying and sales management roles. Jeremy will share his expertise on how museums can develop their retail offer by exploring the importance of average transaction value and spend per head and what actions can be taken to maximize effectiveness.  He will also discuss how museums can diversifying their ranges through in-house product design and development and will look at the pros and cons of online shops. 

Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Lucy Shaw

Lucy Shaw: | 01865 613783

Booking Details: 

This session is free of charge and ASPIRE will pay for reasonable costs of delegate’s travel.  Places are limited and will be given on a first-come-first-served basis (maximum of one per museum).

Participants are invited to arrive from 10.00 for coffee. The day will start promptly at 10.15 and will include a networking lunch.    We aim to finish the day by 16.00 when participants will have the opportunity to visit the current temporary exhibition at the Ashmolean.

To book a place please visit:  

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