All posts by aharley

Halfords: “Golden Eagle” Project

Halfords: “Golden Eagle” Project

Summary

Halfords were looking to roll out the first part of a long-term plan to transform their estate, with over 450 stores involved in the project. They had two incumbent suppliers in place and felt a third was required. The Bluestones One management team had previously worked with Halfords and were a perfect fit for the retailer.

Challenges

The full store estate had to be completed before the Christmas peak trading period. Delivering a project of this size and scale in a relatively short period of time meant it was key that we worked closely with Halfords to fully understand their requirements and brief this across our teams across the UK and Ireland. The project completely “rebalanced” each store, freeing up space for key new ranges.

Results

Each of our store transformations was delivered to standard, on time and with excellent feedback across the board. We had put a plan in place from day one to upskill team members as the project progressed. This approach meant that if there was a need for Bluestones One to step in and support elsewhere, we were ready to do so and on more than one occasion did. This project is the biggest Halfords has undertaken across their estate and we were extremely proud to be a part of it.

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Wickes: New Stores & Refit Activity

Wickes: New Stores & Refit Activity

Summary

Bluestones One were very proud to support Wickes across its full New Stores & Refit programme.

We were tasked with delivering installation and merchandising activity across 7 and a half weeks for refits and 10 days for new store activity. By utilising our experienced installation and merchandising teams, we delivered phased activity on time and on budget.

Challenges

Wickes required an experienced, people-focused partner to supply them with talented teams, improving standards across the estate and driving efficiencies. By establishing an excellent relationship with the customers at all levels, we were able to deliver “right first time” on every level of this project. This was delivered through investment in training and support to our teams to ensure they understood the high standards of this fantastic retailer.

Results

By working closely with Wickes and delivering results above the required brief, we have continued to be awarded further stores and get involved in more projects across the Wickes estate and the wider Travis Perkins group. With our continued focus on developing our teams and building relationships with our customers, we hope to be working with Wickes for many more years.

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The difference between an inbound and outbound sales advisor

While many people might believe that inbound and outbound sales jobs fall into the same category, the truth is there are many differences between the responsibilities and tasks taken on by an inbound and outbound sales advisor.

Both roles do have a lot of crossovers – individuals working in inbound or outbound sales advisor positions share many of the same skill sets that are necessary to be successful in the job.

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Interview advice

Here at Bluestones One, we understand how daunting the prospect of an interview can be. It can fill some people with absolute dread, but we are here to help! Here are some really useful tips on how to make an interview a complete success and to drive the nerves away.

  • Remember the interview is a two-way process – You are chasing your ideal job and they are chasing their ideal candidate. In short, the interview is about you checking if they are right for you as well as them checking if you are right for their organisation.
  • Preparation – Remember the phrase, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. This is never truer than when you are going for an interview. Ensuring you do the relevant research and preparation will eliminate nerves and make you feel more confident when meeting your interviewers.

Key areas of preparation should include:

– Knowing who you are meeting with
– Where you are going. Prepare your journey so you arrive at least 10 minutes before.
– Look at the potential employer’s website, research what they do so you are ready for the question, “what do you know about the company”?
– Study the job/person spec – so you are fully aware of what they are looking for and know what skills and experience to sell during your interview
– Pre-prepare questions you would like to ask. Centre this around information which is not included on the job description, such as progression, current team members etc
– Have any items ready that have been requested to bring with you to the interview

  • On the day of the interview – Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and get to the interview, arriving at least 10 minutes before. In addition, re-read your CV (to remind yourself of what you have included) and the job description. Copies should be taken with you to the interview as well.
  • Conquer the nerves – Remember it is natural to be nervous. An easy way to overcome these is to remember, you have got as far as an interview, so they have seen something they like.
  • Make a strong first impression – Dress smartly, smile, give a firm handshake and display confident body language.
  • Think about the question before you answer – Take a second to digest the question. Answer questions fully, giving real examples. Include examples of your personal experiences.
  • Be positive – Even when describing difficulties you have encountered, explain what you learned from dealing with the specific problem.
  • When leaving – Thank the interviewer for their time and ask what the follow-up stage will be.

Definite interview don’ts

  • Lie or exaggerate
  • Lose your temper
  • Criticise your previous employer
  • Fidget or slouch
  • Swear
  • Interrupt

Hopefully, this information will help you shine in your interview but if you would like a 121 session for more guidance and support please call 01244 555 090 to make an appointment.

Top CV tips

A CV is a fantastic tool to promote your skills and experience and spark interest from a potential future employer! Done right, you will have interview offers by the bucket load. Here at Bluestones One, we care about our candidates and want to pass on our knowledge and expertise to help people find their dream job!

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Bluestones One on the driver shortage

The UK continues to face a driver shortage, with the deficit staked at between 45,000 – 50,000 HGV drivers this year alone. So, we spoke with Warrington’s Regional Operations Manager, Martin Bispham, to find out his thoughts on the driver shortage and what needs to be done to combat it.

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Productivity in the UK: What can be done?

Productivity, as measured by the amount of work produced per working hour, is the main driver of long-term economic growth and higher living standards. However, in the UK productivity remains below the average pre-crisis growth rate of 2%, with the country still lagging behind most of continental Europe at about 16.3% below average.

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John Rooney joins Bluestones One

We’re very pleased to welcome John Rooney to Bluestones One. John will be working with the Managed Services division of Bluestones One as Special Projects Director. Tempted out of retirement, John has already hit the ground running by going on manufacturer site visits with Operations Director, Greg Fields, asking marketing for print requirements and sorting through client data (and it’s only his fourth day). 

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Is the high street hotting up?

Who said the high street was dead? With soaring temperatures in the UK, the public is shunning their computers and phones and heading to the Great British high street to part with their hard-earned cash.

According to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey, 32% of retailers said that sales volumes were up in July than compared to a year ago and 13% said they had to place more orders with suppliers as a result. A combination of the unusually nice weather (does this weather even belong in the UK?) and World Cup fever have been thanked for the boost in high street sales this July, which also saw 45% of motor traders report that sales volumes were up compared to this time last year (convertible anyone?).

These figures should be seen as a huge positive for the high street, especially following the results from the survey campaign #WDYT (What do you think?) which found consumers want more and better shops available to them. The survey, which was completed by 300,000 people, found that 78% of respondents worry about the high street and 70% are concerned about shops closing – proving that the public still back “popping into town” to do their shopping.

All the positives do come with negatives though – in the same CBI Survey, retailers reported that they expect sales to slow again in August and orders to flatten out. With subdued real wage growth, households are still feeling the financial pinch and retailers are still battling with the reduced costs online retailers are able to offer.

Along with the Government’s inquiry into high streets and town centres 2030 to examine how local areas are planning for the future of their high streets, this month’s results should be seen as a step in the right direction to securing the future of the British high street.

Bluestones One supports fundraiser for Jeanie-May

We regularly try to support local and national charities and fundraisers, but the one we’re recently supporting is much closer to home.

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