Thank you, and goodbye

It is with a heavy heart that I have to share that this Essential Retail newsletter will be the last one for the foreseeable future.

Due to the extraordinary times we are all living through, and the resulting impact on the retail industry, we have taken the decision to put Essential Retail on ice for now.

This hiatus is very sad for me, personally, as it coincides with saying goodbye to such an exciting and resilient industry that I have so enjoyed working with over my five-and-a-half years at Essential Retail.

Before Covid-19 even put its stamp on 2020, the industry was already being challenged by a variety of factors – increasing business rates, online competition, changing consumer habits, uptake of D2C and scrappy start-ups. And the ‘death of the high street’ myth was one of our more frequently discussed buzzwords on our Retail Ramble podcast (that, and, of course, ‘omnichannel’).

But this incredible industry, which has endured so much change in recent years, is resilient. And while we’ve said sad goodbyes to many brands over the years (we’re still devastated about Woolies to be completely honest), many brands have managed to survive and thrive in challenging times. Over the last few months it has been so inspiring to watch this industry step up – many retailers have had to throw caution to the wind and launch technology solutions in weeks, and a few others have had to completely adapt their business models to see them through this uncertain period in history.

While we will undoubtedly see more brands disappear and the devastating impact of more job losses as we make our way through the coming months, I have faith that – once we get out of this dystopian nightmare – we will still be shopping both in beautifully-designed stores on our high streets and seamlessly from our mobile devices for many, many years to come. Because retail is determined and agile, and as long as we stay true to the wants, needs and desires of the customer, the industry will survive this.

As editor, I have been lucky to test an array of fascinating new technologies, watch digital transformation projects develop at varying speeds and degrees of success, and travel around the world to hear captivating speakers and witness new technologies first-hand.

I would like to say a couple of thank you’s, without these people Essential Retail would never have created its engaged community and become one of the leading online magazines in the retail technology industry. Firstly, my team at ER Towers: Eleanor Dallaway and Becca Harper, the most talented editorial and publishing director duo you could ever come across. I look forward to watching the rest of your titles continue to grow. James Coker, who joined us the day before lockdown and helped our Covid-19 coverage reach an astronomical readership – I just wish we had more time to work together. And to the wider sales and marketing team for all your outstanding efforts.

A huge thank you to the entire team at RetailEXPO, especially Mr RBTE himself, Matt Bradley. We were so sad to hear that your show will not be running in 2021 due to Covid-19. Essential Retail started in the same offices and we have many fond memories of working closely together on your exhibitions over the years. 

And I can’t forget our wider freelance network (Ben, Kat, Glynn, Luke F, Luke B) – thank you for all your hard work and dedication. 

To the retailers, vendors, analysts and PRs who have contributed to Essential Retail and those I have worked closely with over the years – there are far too many of you to name, but you know who you are, thank you, and we will grab a drink as soon as it is safe to do so.

And last, but by no means least, our readers, listeners, watchers – our magnificent audience – thank you for your continued support. Thank you for your continued interest in this very fascinating area of retail and for allowing my team and I to create features, podcasts and videos for you. It may be a terribly difficult time for retail and many other industries, but we will get through this.

All that is left to say, is, please stay safe during these crazy and confusing times.

And do stay in touch – you can find me on LinkedIn and @cl_baldwin on Twitter.

Thank you,

Caroline

Editor, Essential Retail