Lecture to launch Faraday Centre for Retail Excellence
Her inaugural lecture takes place on Tuesday 29 May at 5.30pm at Leeds Metropolitan University's Rose Bowl and will look at how rigorous and robust consumer research can be used as a platform to create and identify opportunities for retail innovation. The lecture also includes guest speakers including Land Securities' Retail Portfolio Director, Gerald Jennings, and Nestlé's UK Head of Packaging, David Wiggins.
The UK has the third largest retail industry in the world after the USA and Japan, accounting for 8% of gross domestic product and roughly 10% of employment. In the lecture, Professor Barnes will demonstrate how her research has impacted upon products and resulted in better consumer experiences. With the aid of case studies, she will also show how designing for all five of our senses can provide businesses with a unique way of communicating to customers, something she calls 'feel appeal'.
To conclude the lecture, Professor Barnes will propose a research agenda for the whole retail supply chain which includes consideration of the growing use of technology that is changing the sector forever.
The Faraday Centre was born 14 years ago, and has been used by many global retail and consumer goods companies to enhance innovation. The centre now looks to extend a supporting arm to Yorkshire businesses within the retail supply chain, offering exclusive access to new ideas and technologies.
Industry clients can pay to be Faraday members, which enables them to access the latest industry thinking and research, or clients can commission bespoke research which is then carried out or facilitated by Professor Barnes.
Professor Barnes, who believes there are a number of opportunities, particularly around the internet shopping experience, commented: "Online shopping experiences and actual shopping experiences are totally separate at the moment but I think in the future we will see more of a hybrid model. We have smartphones now and technology that allows us to blur those two worlds."
The Faraday Centre at Leeds Metropolitan aims to use expertise from across all faculties of the university, to feed into the centre. It is also in the unique position of being able to draw on information from experts outside of the university. Professor Barnes stated: "There are so many exciting opportunities in the retail sector and every faculty and discipline has something to offer. Although we are based in the Faculty of Business and Law, we are a pan-university operation."
Having grown in up the ship building capital of England, Barrow-in-Furness, Professor Barnes's background is in mechanical engineering. Her passion for retail developed when she took a job with Procter and Gamble, before undertaking her long-held ambition to do a PhD at Cranfield University.
Whilst a lecturer at Leeds University, Professor Barnes became increasingly involved in the Faraday Centre where it was then based - eventually taking the reins in 2009. She is now the founding Director of the Centre for Retail at Leeds Metropolitan University and brought the Faraday Centre with her at the start of this year.
Professor Barnes added: "Faraday is unique in that we look at the end-to-end process - the whole retail supply chain - and we work with companies to innovate the customer experience at both the point of sale and during use. We don't just want to be a standard retail centre like everybody else. We want to offer the sector something different with real and immediate commercial impact."
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