Constant shifts in consumer behaviour highlights the crucial role that adaptable shelf management solutions play in optimising product visibility, supporting an increase in sales and more broadly, maintaining competitiveness in a crowded market. In fact, 43% of shoppers are more likely to spend money with a retailer who offers a meaningful in-store experience. Shelf management equips retailers with the tools to create a unique and positive brand image, fostering long-term, repeat business relationships with customers.  

A common misconception is that shelf management is primarily about how products are arranged. When in fact, retailers need to ensure product placement remains consistent, products are well presented, shelf space is optimised and loss prevention is taken into account, ultimately playing a part in delivering a positive shopping experience.  

Although the customer is always the priority, retailers and their employees are also reaping the benefits of innovative shelf management solutions. T-rails and dividers, for example, streamline display assembly, enhance shelf organisation, and expedite restocking processes, reducing time consuming tasks and staffing requirements. 

Regardless of who stands to gain, shelf management is establishing itself as a crucial element of modern retail operations. The result directly influences and impacts the experiences of both customers and employees, unified in their desire for effortless store navigation and improved product accessibility. 

T-rails used at the front and rear of shelving offer a tailored shelf management solution, featuring PVC rails that vary in length and are self-adhesive for easy installation. This enables retailers to customise shelf configurations to suit their needs, while adjustable breakpoints and clip-on dividers keep products of all shapes and sizes organised to optimise shelf space and enhance product visibility.  

Offering an appealing aesthetic, breakable shelf dividers serve as both effective and visual complimentary additions to t-rails. A transparent yet durable and versatile design, featuring break points every 2.5cm makes them highly adjustable, while in-shelf barriers prevent product displacement and enable efficient restocking. Their transparent design presents customers with an uninterrupted view of products, making it easier for shoppers and employees alike to access products.  

At Harrison, we understand that shelf management is not a one size fits all solution and that changes to store layout and shelf space is a continuous process. This is why our selection of tailored t-rails feature magnetic tape variants to enable easy movement of divers between shelves, offering quick adjustments to allow for changing products or promotional displays. 

Retailers worldwide are navigating the challenges of customer demand and expectation for efficient and meaningful shopping experiences. Ensuring shelves are organised, well stocked and provide optimum product visibility is now a non-negotiable regardless of the store size, layout or goods. Recognising this, it is essential that retails employ a selection of high-quality shelf management solutions to support in-store enhancement, elevate product displays and ultimately deliver a compelling shopping experience. 

Get in touch with us today to discuss your shelf management requirements and explore how we can develop a tailored solution to suit you and your project. Email and one of our team will get back to you.

Co-op, which hosts over 2,500 stores across the UK, saw a 44% surge in retail crime last year and in response has resorted to installing 200 secure till kiosks, locked cabinets for bottles of spirits and AI technology to monitor its self-checkouts. 

To overcome the ongoing threat of theft, retailers can adopt point-of-sale (POS) and bespoke display solutions to help combat loss. 

Limiting product accessibility and shrinkage with store fixtures 

Anti-theft merchandising solutions are a great option for retailers; designed to limit product accessibility, making theft attempts more difficult, and reducing stock shrinkage. This includes products such as anti-sweep hooks designed to limit accessibility, making attempts at theft far more challenging and reducing stock shrinkage, as well as bespoke designed shipper surrounds to limit the number of high value items, such as alcohol, that can be removed from temporary display units at a time. 

However, it’s important to consider that every retail shop is different, hosting different loss prevention plans due to different product types sold and the branding and imaging of each retailer differing. Therefore, retailers must identify the right designer and producers of display fixtures which can provide a tailored approach to theft prevention solutions.  

At Harrison, we provide a range of bespoke anti-theft store display fixtures and merchandising solutions, including stock limiters, shipper surrounds, and shelving systems to enhance store security. 

By implementing POS and display solutions such as anti-theft hooks, shipper surrounds, and stock limiting systems, retailers can not only protect their high-value goods and increase profitability but also create a safer, more inviting shopping environment for customers. 

Developing a system that deters stealing 

It is important to recognise that bespoke display fixtures are just one of many ways retailers can help prevent theft and to develop a balanced system that deters stealing, retailers must install a combined approach. 

Adopting intelligent analytics is the best next step, as it can detect unusual behaviour, prompting real-time alerts. Analytics recognise patterns, movement and specific objects or behaviours, delivering insights beyond video footage.  

Other solutions include the addition of more security guards, an increase in EAS systems and RFID tags, facial recognition systems, and signage displaying the consequences of theft.  

Your loss-prevention partner 

Our forward-thinking and proactive approach to projects is why retailers are turning to us to combat stock shrinkage. We don’t simply offer products; we collaborate with our clients by understanding your unique challenges. From concept to completion, we will tailor solutions that work for you.  

Specialising in three focal areas: beers, wines, and spirits; healthcare and beauty; and household, we’re tackling the sectors facing the highest rates of theft.  

We have developed fixtures and systems that limit accessibility to high-value merchandise and minimise the volume of product that can be removed from displays. Some systems even incorporate sound-emitting features, acting as deterrents for thieves.  

By partnering with Harrison, you are investing in the future success of your business. Our expertise and creativity ensure that your merchandise is protected, and your profits secure.  

So, are you ready to regain control of your retail environment? Contact our team of experts today to discuss your brief.  Email or call us on +44 (0)1451 830083.

This increases the chances of customers being deterred from returning and shifting their brand loyalty, while causing delays as in-store staff check and rectify any discrepancies. 

To resolve this, retailers can deploy ESLs to save time and improve pricing accuracy. ESLs can be updated in real-time, eliminating the need for employees to manually print new labels and change the product information on the shelf. 

ESL Data Strips, coupled with electronic shelf-edge labels, have the potential to reshape the way retailers operate, providing an efficient, modern solution to pricing and product information display. 

What are the standout features of ESL Data Strips? 

Electronic shelf labels are battery-powered displays which exhibit information such as pricing, portion size, product details and inventory status. They operate by sending and receiving information in line with the store network through Bluetooth or wireless connections.

This enables ESLs to be updated in real-time, eliminating the need for printing new labelling whenever there’s a price or product adjustment. 

While ESLs have been around for some time, unlike the first generation of ESLs which focused on pricing updates, newer generations support additional retail use cases. New innovations include an increase in the number of shelf label pages supported, a greater variety of ESL form sizes, faster update speeds, higher resolution displays and better resistance to fluctuating temperatures in store. 

At Harrison, we provide a range of ESL data strips to allow stores to accurately place their ESLs in their desired location across their stores. The quality and strength of a data strip is vital to ensure ESLs stay in place and are not damaged.

Our data strips are made from long-lasting, UV-stable, extruded plastic to ensure consistent high-quality and elevate the shopper experience with sleek fixtures in line with modern pricing displays.  

Shelf-edge technology and improved customer satisfaction 

One of the most important elements for retailers to consider when they’re updating their stores is customer loyalty. ESLs can help retailers enhance that loyalty by allowing them to go further with customer support. 

Modern ESLs combined with Near Field Communication (NFC) and Quick Response (QR) codes go beyond displaying simple pricing information. Now, they can display additional insights such as nutritional/allergen information, stock updates, product reviews and different currency exchange rates.

This information can go a long way towards improving the customer experience, and ultimately, bolstering loyalty to a particular brand.  

Increasing the efficiency of in-store workers 

The shop floor is a demanding environment, particularly during peak times such as weekends. Therefore, it’s essential that employees are able to put their time and attention to shop floor maintenance and helping customers.  

ESLs automate time consuming tasks such as price and promotion changes. This is one of the most time-consuming tasks in any retail store, with in-store workers printing fresh labels for each section.

ESLs can automate pricing labels, allowing store workers to focus on improving customer service and doing more rewarding tasks, heightening the levels of job satisfaction, and reducing staff turnover. 

Sustainable benefits and reduction in paper use 

It is estimated that 180,000 tons of label waste is sent to UK landfill sites each year. The digital nature of electronic shelf labels eliminates the need for paper labels and printers in-store, enhancing sustainable output. 

Additionally, ESLs can now display a range of sustainable information about carbon footprint, energy rating, recycling, and source materials, allowing consumers to be aware of the impact the product they’re purchasing has on the environment. 

Evolving on-shelf digital labelling technologies allow retailers to be more transparent with their customers and establish trust through accurate pricing.

ESLs benefit retail stores by enhancing product price accuracy and customer satisfaction. As the competitive nature of the retail sector continues to surge, retailers can stay one step ahead by introducing on-shelf technologies. 

To explore our extensive range of ESL fixtures and accessories, browse the comprehensive ESL profile guide or contact one of our retail experts today. 

In an exclusive interview with industry expert and Head of Procurement, Mark Adams, we delve into the world of sustainable retail display and merchandising fixtures. As global retail experts, Harrison is at the forefront of the sustainable revolution in the industry.  

This article explores our commitment to sustainability, the growing need for recycled, recyclable, and compostable materials, and the balance between cost-effectiveness and innovation. Mark Adams provides insights into the products currently available and those in the pipeline, highlighting the challenges and opportunities in creating eco-friendly customer solutions. 

Pioneering Sustainable Display Solutions 

“We are working tirelessly to provide innovative sustainable solutions. However, differences in supplier capability, materials availability, and price points exist from supplier to supplier, and country to country; therein lies the challenge.” – Mark Adams. 

Here at Harrison, we are spearheading the movement towards fully sustainable options. In this exclusive conversation with Mark, we unravel the challenges of achieving sustainability and explore whether compromise can be avoided between sustainability, innovation, and cost-effectiveness.  

Since his appointment in January 2023, Mark has helped champion sustainable solutions within the company, spearheading a progressive and robust quality programme that’s growing with the business.

With the implementation of a Quality Planning system and a Quality and Compliance Division which incorporates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) oversight, the entire Harrison team are behind the changes and continue working towards the larger company vision together. 

Recycled, Recyclable, and Compostable 

Harrison understands that sustainability requires a multi-faceted approach which begins with the materials used. This is why our innovation teams are focused on researching and developing a wider range of recycled, recyclable, and compostable materials to enhance our sustainable offering for clients.  

Recycled display products and solutions are made using a material that is recovered from a used product and reprocessed into new fixtures. 

Recyclable ranges are crafted using materials that can be recovered at the end of the product life and reprocessed for further use elsewhere. 

Compostable products will rapidly bio-degrade into harmless natural elements if accidentally placed in landfill. 

By reducing conventional plastic use Harrison is making significant strides in minimising the environmental impact of their products for their customers.   


Mark Adams shares that our Product Development department is actively exploring new proposals using a variety of recycled materials. However, he acknowledges the challenge of balancing sustainability with aesthetics because “there’s currently a compromise to be had with aesthetics. Recycled plastic materials tend to lack a little of the shine or lustre associated with virgin plastics.

This highlights the inherent tension between creating eye-catching displays and eco-friendly solutions which is why our teams are working to resolve this issue through innovation. 

It is vital when developing high-quality sustainable solutions to eliminate the trade-off between sustainability and cost-effectiveness. As Mark notes, the current order of technical capability is often inversely related to cost-effectiveness.

He notes: “Achieving high sustainability cannot be at the expense of cost effectiveness. This presents a significant challenge for businesses like Harrison, who aim to balance both aspects effectively for each customer.” 

Future Plans for Sustainable Service Offerings 

The ultimate aim in the retail industry is to provide display solutions capable of continuous recycling and reprocessing within a closed loop system. Used products will be collected from clients at the time of delivering new stock ready to be recycled and reprocessed into new products.   

Whilst this ultimate goal may be a little out of reach at present, requiring advances in technology and logistics, here at Harrison we are actively exploring closed-loop offerings by working with innovators in the field, reinforcing our commitment to remain at the forefront of sustainability and innovation.  

Committed to Continued Improvement 

Prioritising sustainable offerings alone is not enough. As a business, we have always been aware of the impact we have on the environment and continue to take appropriate steps to mitigate that impact, including setting environmental objectives and targets, implementing procedures and providing training so that our team members understand their environmental responsibilities and can seek to improve environmental performance. 

To fully demonstrate our commitment to reducing our environmental impact, we hold the following accreditations: 

  • ISO 14001: This environmental management certification demonstrates our commitment to reducing our environmental impact as a business. 
  • EcoVadis: As part of our commitment to continually improve our business practices and corporate social responsibility management, we undertook a series of assessments from EcoVadis and have since been awarded the Gold EcoVadis Sustainability Rating. 
  • CarbonQuota: We are now a certified carbon reduced operation, and are continuing to work with CarbonQuota to measure, reduce and certify the carbon footprint of our direct operations. 
  • Sedex: As a Sedex member we are committed to being a responsible business, sourcing responsibly and improving ethical standards and working conditions within the supply chain. 

Find out more about our accreditations here

The Balancing Act of Sustainability 

In the pursuit of sustainable retail display fixtures, we recognise the need for balancing this with cost-effectiveness and aesthetics whilst also ensuring that we develop solutions that solve our clients’ needs and remain a responsible business.  

As Mark states: “We need to develop products that deliver a solution to a problem that exists for a customer. This can be achieved through close collaboration with supply chain partners, together with teamwork among Harrison’s Product Development team, Purchasing, Quality Control, Sales and clients.” 

As industry leaders and experts in innovation, we are not only addressing the sustainability challenge but embracing it as an opportunity for growth. By continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible, Harrison will remain a driving force in the sustainable revolution for retail display. 

Get in touch with us today to discuss your sustainable display requirements and explore how we can develop a tailored solution to suit you and your project. Email and one of our team will get back to you.

In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, businesses face an ongoing challenge: theft. Despite implementing additional security measures such as extra guards, security barriers, employee body cams and even the use of dummy products on shelves, the issue of stolen goods continues to plague the industry.

This problem has been exacerbated recently by the effects of a post-pandemic economy now facing a cost-of-living-crisis. As a result, the industry is turning to forward-thinking companies, like Harrison Retail, to innovate POS and display solutions for loss prevention.

The cost-of-living crisis and theft

The cost-of-living crisis has had a profound impact on communities worldwide, pushing some individuals to resort to theft as a means of survival. While this issue remains complex, it underscores the importance for retailers to take proactive measures to protect their assets. By investing in innovative shrinkage-reduction, businesses can mitigate the impact of theft while maintaining a secure and welcoming shopping environment.

Theft in retail is a persistent issue that is costing the retail industry billions each year. Despite retailers’ best efforts to enhance security, determined thieves find innovative ways to exploit vulnerabilities. The cost-of-living crisis has only exacerbated this problem, pushing some individuals to turn to theft as a means to cope with financial hardships. Retailers are now tasked with finding more efficient and effective solutions to protect their inventory and bottom line.

We are seeing more and more retailers introduce additional loss prevention measures such as:

  • extra guards, security barriers and body cams for employees,
  • facial recognition systems to flag known shoplifters,
  • ‘dummy’ packages displayed on shelving to be swapped for the actual product by staff members at checkout,
  • and – as reported by the Daily Mail – a south London Sainsbury’s, once the chain’s biggest supermarket in the country, is set to shut later this year with staff revealing that rising theft factors highly in the decision to close.

We’ve always been used to high value items such as alcohol having security protection; however, we’re now seeing everyday items, baby formula, duvets and suncream, displayed in stores with this extra level of security.

The British Retail Consortium recently reported that:

“incidents of theft have increased by 27% across ten of the largest cities in the UK, with some cities up as much as 68%. The nature of these crimes has changed, with perpetrators becoming bolder, and many retailers reporting increasing links to organised-crime activity.”

The full report can be found here.

Adapt and evolve with anti-theft innovations

As the cost-of-living crisis persists, it is imperative for businesses to adapt and evolve. By embracing innovative solutions, retailers can safeguard their assets, enhance the customer experience and continue to thrive in a challenging retail landscape.

Here at Harrison Retail, we are leading the charge in combating theft by developing cutting-edge point-of-sale and product display solutions designed to limit product accessibility, making theft attempts more difficult and reducing stock shrinkage.

Douglas Cook, our in-house Product Development Manager, states:

We are seeing a dramatic increase in requests for anti-theft and loss prevention solutions across our retail client base. It is clear that the industry is facing a real challenge and looking to the most innovative suppliers who are able to react to this problem effectively and efficiently; which is why we continue to prioritise research and development in anti-theft solutions at Harrison.

Leading the market to new innovation

Our innovation and product design experts are working with large supermarkets and cosmetics stores throughout the UK to innovate new loss prevention systems which are currently being trialled in multiple stores.

Our commitment to revolutionising retail security aims to serve as an example for the industry as a whole, paving the way for a more secure and prosperous future for the retail industry.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your store’s vulnerability to theft and explore how we can develop a tailored solution to reduce your stock shrinkage. Email and one of our team will get back to you.

In an ever-evolving retail landscape, staying ahead of the curve is essential for businesses looking to thrive in the competitive marketplace. Coupled with our ESL Data Strips, electronic shelf-edge labels have the potential to reshape the way retailers operate, providing an efficient and modern solution to pricing and product information display. 

We recognise the significance of this shelf edge technology and offer ESL Data Strips that play a crucial role in ensuring the devices are held securely along shelf edges. As Charles Bedford, Managing Director of Harrison, states: “Our ESL data strips add a modern and professional touch to your retail space, ensuring that they won’t detract from the overall aesthetic of your store.”

ESLs have been a staple in retail establishments across Europe for quite some time, but their adoption in the UK has been gaining momentum recently. Leading grocers have initiated trials or deployed electronic shelf-edge labels across their stores, drawn by the undeniable advantages of a system that allows prices to be updated instantly. This dynamic pricing capability not only saves time but also offers flexibility in responding to market changes swiftly.

Harrison ESL data strips being used in Morrisons

One of the standout features of electronic shelf-edge labels is their capacity to convey comprehensive product information in a concise and easily readable format. Unlike traditional paper tickets, ESLs can accommodate extensive data, enabling retailers to provide customers with valuable details about products, promotions, and nutritional information. This enhances the overall shopping experience and empowers consumers to make informed choices. 

Furthermore, ESLs are not limited to merely displaying prices and product information. Some advanced systems can optimise inventory management by guiding employees through the picking and packing process for online orders. These systems illuminate a clear route, streamlining the fulfilment process and reducing errors, which is especially crucial in the booming e-commerce sector. 

However, the adoption of shelf edge technology in the UK has not been without its challenges. The prohibitive cost of implementing such systems across large retail estates with hundreds of stores has been a deterrent for some. As Product Development Manager, Douglas Cook, notes: “While it seems likely that this type of technology will eventually spread across the UK, it might take some time before every store we walk into has electronic labels on the shelves. However, we have definitely seen a big increase in the number of UK retailers currently running ESL trial stores and exploring the various attachment solutions with us.”

Harrison ESL data strips being used in Morrisons

Despite the initial hurdles, ESLs are gradually gaining ground in the UK market, driven by the evident advantages they offer. Retailers are recognising the long-term benefits of reducing manual price changes, improving accuracy, and enhancing the shopping experience for their customers. As the technology evolves and becomes more accessible, it is only a matter of time before ESLs become a standard feature in UK stores. 

Our ESL data strips offer enhanced mounting and display of electronic price tickets through durable, extruded plastic construction and unobtrusive finish, ensuring an uninterrupted view of products and ticket prices.

In conclusion, Electronic Shelf-Edge Labels, complemented by ESL Data Strips, are already starting to revolutionise the retail landscape in the UK and beyond. The ability to swiftly adjust prices, provide comprehensive product information, and streamline operations make ESLs an indispensable tool for retailers looking to stay competitive in a dynamic market. While challenges remain, the momentum behind ESL adoption suggests that these innovative labels are here to stay, promising a more efficient and customer-centric future for retail businesses. 

We already supply a wide range of ESL ticket strips and accessories to leading UK retailers, speak to our innovation experts today to discuss your ESL project requirements by emailing

We are thrilled to introduce the latest addition to our team, Ole Elm Christiansen, who joins as the new Nordic Business Lead. Ole’s extensive experience in the retail industry, combined with his deep knowledge of the Nordic region, makes him the perfect fit to support the expansion of Harrison supplying bespoke retail display solutions into the European and international markets.

With over 25 years of experience in the retail sector, Ole brings a wealth of expertise and a strong track record of success. He has a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within the Nordic retail landscape and we are excited to have him on board to drive expansion efforts further. 

Ole Elm Christiansen joins Harrison as the New Nordic Business Leader.

Ole’s role here at Harrison is pivotal to our ongoing commitment to provide innovative store display solutions to major retail clients. His achievements and experience in the retail sector brings invaluable insight. 

Ole confirms: “My aim at Harrison is to focus on cost-savings and efficiencies, along with sustainable and reliable partnerships on the supplier side of the business. This is an interesting market and great opportunity for Harrison to be innovative.” 

Daryl Bedford, Director, says: “Ole will leverage his industry knowledge to further strengthen our position as a global retail partner of choice. With our in-house manufacturing capabilities at our fabrication site, a well-established Product Development & Innovation department, and a dedicated Quality Assurance team, we continue to invest in expanding our retail display offerings.” 

We take pride in our global distribution network, which includes warehouses and manufacturing sites across the globe. With a stable, reliable, and consistent supply chain coupled with our team’s expertise, we offer a flexible, tailor-made approach to projects, ensuring that quality is guaranteed every step of the way. 

Our capabilities extend beyond manufacturing, as we also provide warehousing and logistics services. With facilities in the UK, Europe, and the US, we can hold stock for clients and provide swift delivery services to meet each project’s timeframes.

Our global time-critical pick, pack, and shipping service, along with retail display pre-assembly and direct-to-store delivery options, ensure seamless project completion. 

By working with Ecovadis and achieving their gold sustainability rating, we ensure that we are sourcing responsibly and continually improving ethical standards throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, we are proud to hold ISO 9001 accreditation, underscoring our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of product quality. Mark Adams, Head of Procurement, says: “Quality starts at the product and process design stage. Our Harrison Project-Lite framework employs stringent quality gates, guaranteeing that quality is integrated into every aspect of your project. 

With our in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, we can create entirely bespoke concepts and designs tailored to your specific brief and deadlines. Our expertise includes acrylic fabrication, injection moulding, extruding, and wirework, allowing us to bring your ideas to life with precision and excellence.” 

Daryl Bedford, continues: “We welcome Ole Christiansen to our team and reaffirm our dedication to providing top-tier retail solutions and services to our valued partners. With Ole’s leadership, combined with our comprehensive capabilities and global presence, Harrison continues to be the trusted global retail partner, covering all needs from concept to completion.” 

Ole concludes: “Harrison is a very well organised business that will ensure strong, high-quality partnerships with clients in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.” And with Ole’s experience, Harrison will continue to be the trusted global retail partner, creating and supplying innovative display products from concept to completion. 

Whether you’re in need of retail solutions, warehousing, logistics, or bespoke design, we are your trusted partner from concept to completion; simply contact us at and one of our expert team will be in touch.

Quality underpins everything we do here at Harrison. We caught up with some of the members of our quality team recently to find out more about their work, our company’s approach to quality and the main quality-related challenges facing the retail industry.

Liam Naran is Harrison’s Senior Quality and Compliance Officer. On a typical day, his works involves a mixture of data gathering, investigation and general quality control activities.  

“I’ll start by looking at anything that’s a top priority to the business,” he explains. “If any issues have been reported, I’ll open an investigation if I need to and begin pulling some data together for that.  

“I’ll then look at any products that may be coming in on order and whether any quality assurance inspection needs to be performed on these types of items. We do have certain known products that are quality-sensitive where audit inspection is routinely required.” 

Working on compliance documentation is another regular part of Liam’s role. “These may be documents relating to accreditations like ISO 9001 or quality control Standard Operating Procedures for the business.”  

But, when it comes down it, what is quality? How do we measure it and what steps are we taking to ensure that our products and services are delivered to the highest of standards?  

Mark Adams has overall responsibility for quality at Harrison and believes that a holistic approach of embedding quality principles into each part of the business is fundamental to building long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Understanding quality 

Perceptions of quality 

“The question of how to define quality is an interesting one to consider. We support a wide variety of customers and clients at Harrison, across a range of industries and countries around the world, and everyone perceives and understands quality in a slightly different way. For us though, it falls into two main categories: quality of product and quality of service. 

Quality of product is, fundamentally, how good a product actually is. Has it been finished to a high standard? Has it been produced to the required specifications? Will it fulfil its purpose? If the answers to these questions are positive then the product can be said to be of a high quality. Steps like sample approvals, prototype testing and first-off production inspection are all ways to help ensure that these high quality standards are met each time. 

Quality of service is much broader. It encompasses not only the support that we provide to customers after a product has been purchased, but also how they interact with our business throughout the whole customer journey. The impact and effectiveness of our communications, messaging, imagery and online presence are all part of the quality of our service. 

Quality versus specification 

One of the most important distinctions to make is the difference between quality and specification. Simply put, specification is how sophisticated a product is and it takes into account everything from a product’s material and dimensions to its features and finishes. Quality is about adherence to that specification.  

So whether you have a simple stock product made from low-grade materials or a complex bespoke product made via innovative emerging technology, the quality of these two products should be identical, zero defects. Communicating this effectively to our customers helps to reassure them that a lower specification doesn’t mean lower quality.”

Quality challenges in the retail industry 


Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing the retail industry both generally and in terms of quality too. Retailers across the board are under pressure to reduce their plastic use and to recycle what they do use. However, maintaining the required levels of quality and specification while switching to sustainable alternatives represents a significant challenge. 

The maturity of the recycling economy and attitudes towards sustainability vary dramatically around the world. Some markets haven’t embraced recycling to the same degree as others and this includes a number of major supplier locations. There can be an absence of reliable, recycled raw material streams in these countries, making it difficult for companies to source sustainable raw materials that have the same level of consistent quality as their less sustainable counterparts. This is an industry-wide issue. 

It’s a situation that requires careful management and the prioritisation of quality over cost. At Harrison we’re finding ways to be commercially innovative in order to deliver sustainability whilst maintaining our competitive market position.  


Packaging is another major area where quality problems can be experienced. Given the prevalence of overseas shipping and the number of steps that can be involved in any supply chain, it’s not surprising that shipments run the risk of getting damaged in transit. This can have cost, quality and reputational implications for any company.  

Proactive attention to packaging design at an early project stage and close collaboration with our supply chain can help to mitigate these issues. However incidents of damaged goods are occasionally encountered,  necessitating a willingness to quickly address and resolve any problems to the satisfaction of the customer or client. 

Quality challenges in the retail industry 

Building quality into our processes 

Mark’s team are part of a much wider company focus on quality that goes beyond the product.  

“Here at Harrison, we aspire to a quality-first culture. Each member of the team should embrace the value that quality is of the utmost importance and seek to build quality into every area of our business. 

In terms of product development, we include pro-active quality planning at every stage. This allows us to identify any issues and address them then and there, rather than unconsciously passing them onto the next step in the process. It’s about asking the right questions at the right time and learning from the lessons of the past.” 

Ensuring supplier quality 

“We source products from all over the world through our global supplier network. Before a new supplier joins that network, we’ll assess their quality procedures and ensure that their management values are compatible with ours. We’ll also review their international accreditations and references from other customers to ensure we can have full confidence in their approach to quality.  

Advances in digital technology give us the opportunity to maintain a close relationship with our suppliers regardless of where they’re based. Virtual factory tours, regular video conference calls and shared documentation are all ways in which we can collaborate remotely and address any quality-related issues promptly and effectively. 

Additionally, we carry out regular product audit reviews with our suppliers to ensure that the quality of their products remains consistent. This allows us to be confident that the product they’re supplying a year down the line is identical to the product that was originally signed off for production.” 


The first thing that a potential customer looks for in a supplier is a quality accreditation. We hold ISO 9001 certification, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to a quality management system. A robust and functional QMS is the foundation for consistently providing products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. ISO 9001 is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and engagement of senior management, a process-oriented approach and continuous improvement. 

Sustainability sits alongside quality as one of Harrison’s main priorities and so we also hold ISO 14001 certification. This accreditation maps out a framework that a company or organisation can follow to set up an effective environmental management system and underpins the steps we’re taking to reduce our environmental impact while maintaining our high-quality levels.  

We are a certified carbon reduced operation, and are continuing to work at measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of our direct operations. Our commitment to continually improve our business practices and corporate social responsibility management, has also recently earned us a Gold EcoVadis Sustainability Rating. 

It’s clear that there are lots of perspectives and factors to take into account when it comes to overseeing and understanding quality. But for our Senior Quality and Compliance Officer Liam and his day-to-day work at Harrison, it ultimately all comes down to two main aims. 

“My role is about ensuring that we supply the best quality products to our customers that we can,” he concludes. “And ensuring that the relationships we have with our customers and suppliers are the best that they can be.”

Automation has been changing the face of the retail industry for decades. From the early days of factory-based robotics through to more recent developments like self-checkouts, chatbots and delivery drones, retailers have always sought ways to streamline their processes, get ahead of the competition and optimise the customer experience.

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the recent automation and technological trends in retail and consider what impact they’re having on the industry, workers and customers.

A till-free future?

Imagine walking into a store where you simply scan a QR code, choose your items and walk out – all without bypassing a checkout. Where a network of cameras and weighted shelves monitor which products you pick. Where payments are taken automatically and you receive a receipt via your phone later.

It seems like a bit of a fantastical concept, but it’s one that more and more leading grocers have been trialling in the UK over the last few years, with Amazon leading the way. The benefits of this approach include a lack of queueing, fewer out-of-stock items and reduced shrinkage. The downsides arguably include a reduction in staff numbers, and a level of technology and unfamiliarity that could be off-putting to consumers.

It’s this final point that perhaps explains why the UK’s path to a till-free future hasn’t been as straightforward as you might expect. When Sainsbury’s became the first UK retailer to launch a completely cashier-less store back in 2019, the trial only lasted three months before the company reinstated a manned till and two self-service checkouts. At the time, Sainsbury’s reported that while the new store format created excitement, “not all our customers are ready for totally till-free shopping”.

The company tried again in 2021, in a year that also saw Tesco and Aldi launch their own trials, but since then the widespread adoption of this new approach has stalled. Even Amazon, who pioneered the concept with their ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, halted plans for further expansion in 2022 and closed one of their stores earlier this year.

On paper, till-free shopping clearly has potential. But there’s a growing recognition that, as Sainsbury’s said in 2019, not enough customers are ready for it yet and that a hybrid approach with different types of checkout options is more appealing to the masses. Perhaps this will change as the younger generations that have grown up surrounded by this type of technology mature, but for the moment the idea of completely automated and cashier-less stores across the UK seems a long way away.

Creating an in-store experience

Even before Covid and the current cost-of-living crisis, the UK’s high streets were struggling. The ease and accessibility of online shopping means that retailers need to give customers additional reasons to venture out of their houses and visit a brick-and-mortar store.

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the technological innovations that some retailers have turned to in order to entice shoppers through their doors. AR works by superimposing a computer-generated image on top of what the user sees in the real world, with Snapchat filters and the popular Pokémon Go mobile game being some famous examples.

In a retail setting, examples of AR include the following:

  • Virtual fitting rooms. These allow customers to try on items virtually without having to physically touch them, so that they can check the size, style and fit before buying. While the benefits of virtual fitting rooms in an online environment are clear, retailers like H&M are also installing them in their physical stores for added convenience, to support online sales and to build connections with customers.
  • Augmented reality windows. These windows offer interactive experiences that help to entice shoppers into stores, such as this one that was created as part of the famous Harrods 2021 Christmas window display.
  • Virtual navigation. AR navigation systems help to guide shoppers through physical stores quickly and effectively, while retailers can also use them to provide additional product information. 

AR helps customers to try-before-they-buy more efficiently, it reduces customer returns, and it increases customer and brand engagement. And given that, according to data released by Shopify, retailers who add 3D content to their stores see a 94% conversion lift on average, it’s not surprising that more and more are expanding into the augmented reality space.

Geofencing is another approach that retailers are using to engage with customers. A location-based technology, geofencing allows retailers to create a virtual fence around a physical location (such as their store) using GPS, Wi-Fi or mobile phone data. Then, when customers pass into that area they can trigger targeted marketing such as a text, in-app notification or mobile advert.

It’s a clever way for brick-and-mortar retailers to deliver offers and deals straight into the hands of their customers, to create a personalised shopping experience by providing directions to products or reminders about regularly buys, and even to target potential customers that are shopping at a rival store.

AR and geofencing, along with more online-focused approaches and technologies such as gamification and the metaverse, are some of the main ways that retailers are seeking to create the immerse shopping experiences of the future. The challenge will be how to get the most out of these digital innovations while bringing their target audiences along for the ride.

Improving the bottom line

As well as customer-facing advancements, automation is also becoming increasingly common behind the scenes in the retail sector.

Many retailers are investing in software that more effectively manages stock levels, suppliers and orders, in order to streamline processes and reduce labour costs. Innovations like providing staff with handheld devices to take instant orders in a restaurant, to check sizes in a shoe store without having to leave the customers or to ring up purchases on the floor in a clothing store are also helping to increase efficiency and levels of customer service.

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) have long been popular overseas, but they’re starting to be seen more frequently in the UK now too. A number of leading grocers have launched trials or rolled ESLs out to their estates recently, lured by the time- and cost-saving benefits of a system where prices can be changed at the click of a button.

Case Study: Morrisons

When Morrisons decided to trial replacing in-store paper price tickets with ESLs, they contacted us to discuss their requirements and the challenge of fitting an ESL to a conventional plastic data strip.

We developed a bespoke solution that would fit their shelves and hold their ESLs securely, which were then rolled out across the trial stores.

ESLs accommodate dynamic pricing and have space for more product information than paper tickets. Some ESL systems can even help to speed up the picking and packing process for online sales as they’ll provide an illuminated route for employees to follow.

However, despite their many benefits, the response from the grocery sector hasn’t been unanimous perhaps due to the prohibitive cost of implementing such a system across estates with hundreds of stores. While it seems likely that this type of technology will eventually spread across the UK, it might take some time before every store we walk into has electronic labels on the shelves.

21st century deliveries

One of the newest – and perhaps most intriguing – retail automation trends is robot delivery systems. Co-op has been spearheading the technology’s adoption in the UK, in partnership with US-based company Starship Technologies, and now offers autonomous delivery services in Greater Manchester as well as other key cities.

The main aims of delivery robots are to reduce traffic congestion and increase access to the company’s products and services. Orders are made through an app and customers can follow the progress of their robot delivery driver in real-time through an interactive map. While the service is still very much in its infancy, it’s expanding quickly and early results appear to be positive.

Delivery drones are another automated delivery service that has been gaining significant traction over the last few years. From Boots completing the first delivery of prescription medicines to Royal Mail trialling drone deliveries in the islands of Scotland, the infrastructure is slowly falling into place to create an environment for drones as a standard delivery service.

In fact, there’s currently a project underway (and backed by the UK government) to create the world’s longest automated drone ‘superhighway’ connecting the Midlands to the south-east of England. Project Skyway has brought together leading tech companies and industry experts to establish a safe path for commercial drones and provide a framework for further drone zones in the UK.

There’s a long way to go for both delivery robots and delivery drones, but what may have once seemed like science fiction is beginning to look more like reality. And it’s not inconceivable to imagine sharing the streets with fleets of robots and the skies with delivery corridors in the future.

It’s going to be fascinating to see where automation takes the retail industry next. While some of the technologies we’ve discussed in this article have run into stumbling blocks, or we’re unlikely to see widespread adoption any time soon, the potential of the ideas is undeniable. And the impact they’re having on the industry, customers and workers is going to continue to change the face of retail for years to come.

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve recently move into a new custom-built office and warehouse facility in the heart of the West Midlands.

Located on the outskirts of Evesham, our new buildings are a real investment in the future of Harrison. They give us an inspiring and collaborative space to work in, as well as room to expand as our company continues to grow and service customers around the world.

We’re looking forward to welcoming guests and clients to our new office, but in the meantime here’s a sneak-peak at what you’ve got to enjoy when you visit.

Ground floor

The ground floor is home to our hard-working product development, HR, IT, finance, purchasing and quality teams. As you can see, the new interior has a Scandinavian feel to it with lots of clean lines, natural woods, neutral colours, live plants and a calm, uncluttered design.

The ground floor is also where you’ll find our kitchen, the larger meeting rooms (including our boardroom) and a range of collaborative spaces. All of them have been fitted with the latest communication equipment to support regular meetings and close collaboration with our clients either in-person or digitally.

First floor

The first floor is where our marketing and sales teams are based. The Scandi-inspired design continues here, with floor-to-ceiling windows creating a light and airy space for our teams to enjoy.

There are ample further meeting rooms and collaboration spaces to be found, along with some pods for focused working.

There’s even a quiet little collaboration area at the top of the stairs, which probably boasts some of the best views in the office!


Behind the new office is our new warehouse, which provides plenty of room to hold our stock. There are also exciting plans underway to develop a showroom within the warehouse where we can showcase our products and services going forward. We’ll be sharing more information about those plans as they develop, so stay tuned.

We’re also pleased to say that the main power source for our new buildings are the solar panels on the roof, which will provide renewable energy alongside a back-up metered connection. Other energy-saving features such as lights that automatically switch off when rooms aren’t in use have been included inside, to help minimise the building’s impact on the environment.

And there you have it! The new Harrison HQ, where you’ll find both the Harrison Products and Harrison Retail teams hard at work delivering retail display products and services worldwide. To find out more about what we can offer you, get in touch with our teams today.

When you pop down to your local high street, you probably expect to see a mixture of clothing stores, coffee shops, homeware stores, banks, cafes and express supermarkets. But what about a garden centre?

It’s a sight that might surprise many of us, but it’s also one that’s starting to become increasingly familiar as part of the rapid growth of the garden centre industry over the last few years. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the reasons behind this growth and what the future might hold for garden centres in the UK.

Garden centres have been thriving

While the pandemic and associated lockdowns had a negative impact on the bottom line of many retailers, garden centres were quickly designated as ‘essential’ by the government and allowed to remain fully open (due to their positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing). This, combined with an influx of new customers who took up gardening during the lockdowns, helped to drive the industry to a value of approximately £3 billion in 2022

Another contributing factor to this growth is how many garden centres have expanded their product and service offerings, establishing themselves as destinations rather than simply places that sell plants. Homeware, food, outdoor living, pets and gifts are just some of the additional sectors that many have expanded into, providing customers with a retail experience that’s more reminiscent of department stores than traditional garden centres. 

Garden centres as lifestyle retailers

Embracing lifestyle retail is a smart move. With the loss of established names like BHS and Debenhams – and a staggering 83% of UK department store space shutting down for good between 2016 and 2021 – there’s a distinct gap in the market for retailers who can appeal to that lifestyle customer base. 

Garden centres have a lot of advantages when it comes to filling that gap. They’re usually located in attractive, often rural, surroundings on the outskirts of towns and cities. They often have room for ample parking and retail expansion. And they’re generally easy to access. All of which combines to create the ideal environment for department store-esque shopping.    

But what about those high street stores we mentioned earlier? What role do they play in the future of garden centres?

Garden centres on the high street

The company leading the charge is Dobbies Garden Centre, the largest garden centre retailer in the UK. Dobbies has 76 centres located throughout the UK and six of these are what they call ‘Little Dobbies’ stores. You’ll find them on high streets in major towns and cities, and they offer a unique, urban garden centre experience. 

Case Study: Little Dobbies, Cheltenham

We were asked to design, produce and install bespoke display fixtures for the latest Little Dobbies store. The fixtures needed to match the look and feel of other Little Dobbies, while staying true to the aesthetics of the main estate.

The project had a tight turnaround as the fixtures were required by the store’s opening. We rose to the challenge and produced, supplied and installed 16 fixtures including the main customer till hub and coffee unit.

Speaking at the launch of the first store in Edinburgh, CEO Graeme Jenkins described it as featuring “gardening essentials for city centre residents” and showcasing “some of the extensive ranges available at our larger stores and at”. 

With a carefully curated range of convenient houseplants, small space gardening products and home décor items on display, the stores are specifically targeting the needs of urban gardeners and acting as gateways to the full Dobbies’s range. It’s a different proposition to the larger stores, but still allows customers to make those aspirational lifestyle purchases. It also neatly addresses the growing popularity of houseplants, particularly among the younger generations, where social media sites like Instagram have proven to be a rich ground for gardening- and plant-based content. 

Garden centres as the new department stores?

The question of whether garden centres have become the new department stores (or are on their way to becoming them) is a complex one to answer. But it’s interesting to note how department stores themselves and other leading lifestyle retailers have branched out into the gardening sphere. 

The likes of House of Fraser, Selfridges and M&S all have gardening furniture, gardening tool and/or plant ranges. Next launched mini Homebase garden centres within six of their stores in the summer of 2021. And through Waitrose Garden, the John Lewis Partnership has a dedicated online garden centre to rival the traditional physical stores. It’s clear that the potential to merge homeware, food, clothing, furniture and more with gardening products is one that’s proving attractive to more than just garden centres themselves. 

Time will tell what the future holds for garden centres and whether they truly will supersede department stores in the public consciousness. But given the vibrancy of the market, it’s a future that’s looking ripe with possibilities. 

Want to find out more about our work with Dobbies?

Discover how we helped them to transform their flagship store

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain common customer types that we can all recognise.

Understanding these types and how to engage with them effectively through your POS, retail displays, in-store sales approach, online presence and more can help you to encourage sales.

Customer profile: Researchers have put in the hard work online beforehand and come equipped with the knowledge they need to make an informed purchase. They’re less likely to spend time browsing as they’ve already identified the product or products that they’re interested in.

Engaging with them: As these customers often make their purchasing decisions before visiting a store, you need to engage with them as effectively as possible during the research stage. Make sure that your online product information is accurate, your prices are competitive and you’ve provided answers to common questions (e.g. through FAQs).

Customer profile: Showroomers like to visit stores in order to try products on or test them out, but they’re also price-conscious and may opt to buy online rather than in person if it means better value for money. This customer type will often use money-saving or price comparison apps in order to track down the best deal.

Engaging with them: With this type of customer, it’s important to make the purchase about more than just price and to emphasise the benefits of buying in store. The immediacy of an in-store purchase is a key win here, as are any additional in-store promotions that you may be running, so make sure your POS displays are impactful.

Customer profile: Browsers lack any particular reason for being in your store and are just looking around. It could be that something in the window caught their eye or they’re simply killing time, so they’re browsing without really intending to make a purchase.

Engaging with them: These customers should generally be left to their own devices as they’re effectively sight-seeing in your store. Converting them into paying customers can be a tricky task, but encouraging impulse buys by having dump bins or baskets in strategic locations could help.

Customer profile: Customers on a mission know exactly what product they want to buy and want the transaction to go as quickly as possible. They’re not looking to spend any longer in your store than they need to and won’t appreciate any deviations from their mission.

Engaging with them: These customers are likely to appreciate appropriate signage, logical store layouts and clear POS materials so that they can locate their intended purchase as quickly as possible.

Customer profile: As the name suggests, indecisive shoppers aren’t exactly sure what they want to buy or are struggling to choose one product over another. They can often lack the information they need in order to make that decision and can be overwhelmed by the number of options available.

Engaging with them: You can help this type of shopper by providing clear and accurate information about your products, both online and in-store. Use effective POS, shelf management products and displays to make the customer journey as smooth as possible, and be on hand to answer any questions they may have.

Customer profile: Bargain hunters have one main motivation: price. They want to feel like they not only purchased a great product, but got it at a great price too. Less loyal than other customer types, they’re willing to shop around in order to track down a saving.

Engaging with them: Customers that are driven by price can be difficult to engage with unless you happen to be able to offer the cheapest deal. One tactic can be emphasising the quality of your product and therefore its longevity, which will likely save them money in the long-run. Also, make sure that any promotions you’re currently offering are clearly displayed.

Customer profile: Regular customers are loyal visitors to your store. They visit you regularly, without any specific prompting, and respond positively to your products and services.

Engaging with them: These customers are the easiest type to engage with as they’re already invested in what you have to offer. Your existing POS materials, signage and display tactics are doing their job in appealing to this customer, so continue in the same vein and look for additional opportunities to make them feel valued.

Looking for innovative display solutions?

Contact our team today to find out how we can help

Over the last several years, sustainability in retail has grown from an important talking point into an essential part of every company’s strategy. It’s a change that’s been largely driven by consumer sentiment, with more and more modern customers not only wanting to buy sustainable products, but wanting to buy them from retailers with strong environmental credentials.

The pressure is on companies to respond to this change and embrace sustainability, but in a way that’s transparent, authentic and answers consumer needs. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at sustainability in the retail space, explore why attitudes have changed and investigate the steps retailers can take to become more sustainable.

How have consumer attitudes toward sustainability changed?

While there’s always been a subset of consumers that sought sustainable alternatives and favoured companies with strong ethical reputations, these sentiments have become significantly more mainstream in the last few years.

The 2022 Deloitte survey on consumer attitudes revealed that 64% of consumers had limited their use of single-use plastic in the last 12 months (an increase of 3 percentage points on 2021).

59% of respondents had reduced the amount of new products and goods they’d bought (+ 20 pp), while 40% had chosen brands that had environmentally sustainable practices/values (+ 6 pp).

Other areas of significant growth included opting for low carbon emission and/or shared modes of transport (30%, + 11 pp) and choosing brands that had ethical practices/values (37%, + 7 pp).

What makes this shift in attitude particularly interesting is that it may not have been a conscious choice for many consumers in the beginning. As the Deloitte survey observes, the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic saw people using transport less, shopping more locally and shopping more seasonally – all activities that led to a more sustainable lifestyle by default.

This trend of real-world events shaping customer behaviour continued in 2022, with disrupted supply chains and the cost of living crisis leading consumers to search for various creative ways to spend less.

For example, 53% of respondents reported that they had repaired or fixed an item instead of replacing it with a brand new equivalent one, and 40% had bought second-hand or refurbished items.

But whatever the reasons behind the shift in the consumer mindset, it’s clear that retailers are facing growing expectations from their customers that need to be addressed. However, while it’s easy to argue that retailers simply need to champion sustainability in order to respond to these expectations, the reality of the situation is a little more complicated.

What challenges are retailers facing in terms of sustainability?

Transforming a retail business into one that’s recognised and respected for its commitment to tackling climate change isn’t easy. Sustainability is often seen as a laudable but expensive goal, where significant upfront investments can take a long time to pay off, and some retailers may feel they’re not in a position to make such commitments.

The government is also taking an increasingly firm stance on the issue, launching several schemes that aim to encourage sustainability within the sector. However, the reaction from leading brands has been mixed, with many arguing that these schemes will lead to higher costs for retailers and consumers alike.

Then there are the consumers themselves. A recent report by Savills found that while 80% of consumers described themselves as environmentally friendly, 75% also said that they wouldn’t pay a premium for green products.

This paradox of intent versus actions when it comes to sustainability is one that’s commonly reported within the retail industry and leaves retailers in an unenviable position.

As does the fact that there’s clear scepticism from consumers around brand sustainability claims, which can too quickly lead to accusations of ‘greenwashing’ (where retailers make unsubstantiated and potentially false claims to portray themselves as environmentally friendly).

Savills found that 70% of consumers expected brands to do more about sustainability, but only around 30% believed that retailers would hold true to their sustainability promises.

Meanwhile, nearly half of Deloitte respondents said they didn’t know what information to trust when it came to a business’s sustainability claims (25%) or that nothing could influence how much they’d trust a business’s commitment to sustainability (21%).

So with these challenges in mind, what can retailers do to overcome them?

How can retailers champion sustainability?

With sustainability becoming such a critical issue in the industry, retailers big and small are launching forward-thinking initiatives, implementing impressive changes and committing to ambitious targets in order to reduce their impact on the planet.  

Aldi will soon give customers the chance to recycle their used own label coffee pods at collection points, while Sainsbury’s recently launched cardboard laundry detergent packaging. The Perfume Shop has rolled out a new and improved perfume bottle recycling scheme across its stores nationwide, and Tesco has installed EV charging points at 600 stores over the last three years.

Add in the fact that the UK’s biggest supermarkets recently signed up to an ‘unprecedented’ collaboration in order to combat climate change, and it’s clear how seriously the retail industry is taking the sustainability challenge.

Of course, not every change needs to be a huge, headline-grabbing one. There are plenty of smaller steps that retailers of all sizes can take to embrace sustainability in a way that works for them:

  • Track their current carbon emissions to identify hotspots
  • Explore ways to make their supply chain more efficient
  • Consider energy-efficient approaches, equipment and energy tariffs
  • Switch to local suppliers
  • Look into sustainable packaging alternatives (and reduce or remove packaging entirely)
  • Offer a recycling or takeback scheme related to their products

Whatever actions retailers choose to take, communicating about their achievements is a key part of responding to the growing consumer interest in sustainability. The statistics we quoted earlier show that brands can often face an uphill battle in this regard – particularly with sectors such as fast fashion regularly facing accusations of greenwashing – but authenticity and transparency can go a long way.

Setting achievable goals and having the evidence to back up any claims that are made are other important factors to consider as they can add a further level of credibility. Retailers will often team up with an organisation like B-Corp, which measures and evaluates the environmental and/or social impact of a company’s activities, in order to obtain official recognition of their progress against their targets.

Being transparent, setting realistic goals, making statements that can be substantiated and partnering with an evaluator are all ways that retailers can help to overcome the doubts consumers may have around the authenticity of sustainability claims in retail.

How are we improving the sustainability of our business?


Here at Harrison, we’re proud to say that we’ve partnered with CarbonQuota to measure, reduce and certify our carbon emissions. We were recently certified as a carbon reduced operation, which is a great reflection of the steps we’ve taken to reduce the carbon footprint of our organisation.

We’ve also undertaken a series of assessments from EvoVadis as part of our commitment to continually improving our business practices and corporate social responsibility management. This led to us being awarded a Gold EcoVadis Sustainability Rating in 2022.


In terms of products, our sustainable range continues to expand. We’re increasing our use of alternative materials like cardboard, wood and organic fibres in our display products, and both our Ecovision and EcoPlastic ranges are due to welcome new additions in the near future.

We’re also developing a new closed-loop plastic takeback scheme for data strips and look forward to sharing more information about that service in the coming months.

Speak to a member of our team to find out more about what sustainable products and services we have on offer.

Achieving greater sustainability in the retail sector is going to take time. But with rising demand from consumers and growing commitment from retailers, there’s been a distinctive shift in attitudes within the last couple of years.

Positive changes can now be seen at both individual company levels and across the wider industry, and long may this trend continue.

It hasn’t been the easiest start to the year for the UK retail industry, with headlines dominated by store closures, grocery shortages and price rises, and the industry feeling the effects of a variety of ongoing world events.

But with a series of spring bank holidays just around the corner, along with Easter weekend and the coronation of King Charles III, are there reasons to feel more optimistic about the future of retail over the next few months? A recent survey commissioned by marketing agency Gekko and carried out by YouGov certainly seems to suggest so.

Bank holiday shopping is on the rise

Out of over 2,000 respondents, 13% (equivalent to approx. 9 million of the total UK population) reported that they were definitely planning to head to brick-and-mortar shops during the upcoming bank holiday weekends.

This percentage increased to 18% (approx. 12.4 million) for 18-34 year olds, giving retailers a great opportunity to increase sales and engage with a generation that could become valuable loyal customers in the future.

Another positive finding was that 19% of consumers said they were likely to spend more on a bank holiday weekend than an ordinary weekend (13 million people). While this should be balanced against the promotions and discounts that retailers often run over holiday weekends in order to generate greater sales, it still suggests there’s a welcome willingness from consumers to treat themselves this spring.

In fact, shopping came in as the fourth most popular bank holiday activity (21%) after going for a walk (45%), visiting family and friends (41%) and going out for a meal (25%). With traditional bank holiday activities also often including DIY and home improvements, it’s not surprising to see that DIY stores/garden centres ranked as the most popular shopping destination at 22%, followed by fashion stores (21%), homeware/furnishing stores (16%) and department stores (14%).

Consumers want a retail experience

Of course, having consumers willing to visit our high streets is only half the battle. Retailers also have their part to play in enticing shoppers into their stores, generating sales and creating the experience that modern consumers are seeking.

According to the survey, 60% of respondents said that a pleasant retail environment was an important part of a great retail experience, with a marked difference between women and men (67% and 53%). In addition, 59% wanted to see promotions and 42% wanted to be able to speak with knowledgeable shop staff.

These findings suggest that consumers are looking for more than simply straightforward monetary transactions, and that effective displays, eye-catching POS, thoughtful store designs and knowledgeable staff are all essential parts of the modern retail experience.

The future of shopping is social

The survey also found that the social and leisure aspects of shopping are becoming increasingly important for shoppers in general and for younger shoppers in particular.

45% of people reported combining shopping with a meal out (rising to 53% among 35-44 year olds) and 30% meeting with a friend for coffee/drinks while out shopping (rising to 40% among 25-34 year olds). The results were similar when consumers were asked about shopping for the home: 55% indicated they preferred shopping with friends and family in comparison to 39% who shopped on their own.

Those aged 18-24 were also the most likely to look for leisure options while out shopping (26% compared to 5% for the over 55s).

All of which combines to present a trend towards shopping as a leisure activity, where consumers can relax, socialise and have fun while purchasing the products they want. This will require retailers to think creatively, to engage with their customers and develop offerings that put the shopper at the heart of the experience.

The potential opportunity appears to be huge – and we’re perfectly positioned to help retailers make the most of it. Our talented Harrison Retail team is adept at transforming retail spaces, helping to create attention-grabbing window displays, and developing bespoke products for a multitude of POS and display purposes.

You can find out more about our services online and also how we’ve helped other leading brands to achieve their retail ambitions.

Looking for ways to maximise the impact of your retail space this spring?

Contact our retail team today!

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we’ve been working with CarbonQuota to measure, reduce and certify our carbon emissions. We’re thrilled to share that this hard work continues to pay off and we’re now a certified carbon reduced operation!

About CarbonQuota

CarbonQuota was originally launched to help increase the sustainability of production processes in the packaging and print sector. The organisation went on to develop one of the world’s largest independent databases of carbon emissions for the sector and the most granular carbon calculation engine.

We’ve appointed CarbonQuota to independently calculate the footprint of our operations and help us to achieve the international target for all organisations: reducing the footprint of our business (by 95%) and supply chain (by 50%) by 2030. It’s an ambitious aim and a complex undertaking, but we recognise the importance of minimising our environmental impact and we’re proud to say we’re already making positive progress.

Carbon Reduced

Our latest CarbonQuota report shows that the CO2e[1] emissions associated with our direct operations have reduced year-on-year, and we’ve therefore been certified as a carbon reduced operation by CarbonQuota[2].

In total, our carbon footprint decreased by 26 tonnes of CO2e between 2021 and 2022[3]. One key area of improvement was with our electricity emissions, where changing our heating and lighting habits helped us to significantly reduce our output. The intensity of our CO2e emissions per million pounds of turnover saw a reduction of 17% during the same period[4], while there were also reductions per building footprint (m²) and per full-time employee.

CarbonQuota’s findings highlight how the efforts we’ve made to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our energy consumption are helping us to move towards our carbon reduction targets. We’re continuing to seek new ways to reduce our carbon footprint – such as our upcoming plans to bring our head office and warehouse together into one efficient, central location – and look forward to seeing the changes we’re making reflected in the data in the coming years.

Our Green Initiatives

We’re also continuing to champion sustainability across our business by changing our working practices, embracing innovation and pursuing sustainable solutions.

For example, we’re increasing the use of alternative materials in our product ranges, with display products made from cardboard, wood and organic fibres such as rice husk, corn starch and bamboo currently under development.

Our Ecovision and EcoPlastic ranges are also expanding to include a wider selection of sustainable products, while our famous Ecovision cardboard corr-a-clips continue to set the standard for recyclable display unit fixtures.

It’s great to see that our efforts to support sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint are beginning to show such positive results. Now that we’ve been named a carbon reduced operation, we’re eager to maintain this status and continue on our journey towards net zero.

For more information on the results of our operational carbon footprint assessment, please contact or view our certificate online.

[1] Carbon dioxide equivalent, the standard international measurement of carbon footprint.

[2] The CO2e emissions associated with our direct operations have reduced year-on-year (certified: CarbonQuota 2023).

[3] Our absolute operational CO2e emissions have reduced by 26 tonnes of CO2e from our baseline year (certified: CarbonQuota 2023).

[4] The intensity of CO2e emissions per million pounds of turnover associated with our direct operations have reduced by 17% between 2021 & 2022 (certified: CarbonQuota 2023).

1,830 exhibitors from 55 nations across 5 continents. More than 81,000 trade visitors from 141 countries*. EuroShop 2023 was a resounding success for everyone involved – including the Harrison team!

If you weren’t able to join us in Düsseldorf, here’s a quick recap of our EuroShop 2023 experience…

A Hard-Working Team

Our team spent a busy week meeting and greeting fellow exhibitors and stand visitors alike. As well as promoting our products and services, they made some great connections with retailers big and small, and expertly showcased Harrison’s offerings to a global audience.

Great work everyone!

An Eye-Catching Stand

Our stand provided the perfect backdrop for the team. Comprised of a central collaborative space, bold colours and displays for various products and services, the stand caught the eye of visitors and played an essential role in the EuroShop experience.

Industry-Leading New Services

We launched two essential new services on the stand in the fields of sustainability and procurement.

Closed-Loop Plastic Takeback Scheme

Through this scheme, we can recycle and repurpose your used price ticket strips into new products.

This enables you to not only reduce your plastic waste, but also support your sustainability goals.

Retaileze: The Simple Procurement Portal

Our bespoke online portals help to simplify and streamline the purchasing process for POS and display solutions.

These portals can be tailored to your individual needs, such as integrating your existing purchasing systems and processes, to create the ultimate procurement solution.

Exciting New Products

We also expanded our Ecovision range with a number of new sustainable products.

Sustainable Products

Made from alternative materials such as waste coffee grounds, organic fibres and wood, our new display products are leading the way when it comes to sustainability.

Sign holders, display blocks and ‘next customer’ bars are just some of the newcomers to the range to enjoy.

EuroShop 2023 may be over and the next one may not be taking place until 2026, but we’re still on hand to provide a wealth of POS and display innovations in the meantime, and to help you transform your retail space.

Head on over to Harrison Products and Harrison Retail to discover more about our products and services, or get in touch with our team today.

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Contact our retail team today

* Data sourced from EuroShop.