There's gold in the corners

  • Opinion
  • November 4, 2015
  • Philip Ebbitt-Manson
There's gold in the corners

Hotfoot's Juanita Neville-te Rito: This week we have a guest blog from one of my favourite people, Philip Ebbitt-Manson.  Currently the General Manager of BedsRUs, Philip is as mad as a cut snake (that’s a good thing), an incredible thinker, accomplished retailer, terrible skier (just ask about his last skiing mishap) and is very tall.  He has penned this blog out of sheer frustration.

Having been dragged along to sign up for the gym by my wife, I was given a consult by a fitness specialist. 

“And how tall is sir?”

 “I’m six foot five.”

“Oh, you don’t look that tall.”

“That’s because I am perfectly proportioned.”

 “You are enrolling at a gym sir.”

“Good point.”

The rest of the day was followed by a fitness spend up, to prepare for a snowboarding trip that we decided to go on 45 minutes after signing up for the gym. My wife had a blast in Kathmandu, Torpedo 7, and other specialist stores buying up jackets pant, boots and gloves. 

But at every turn I was frustrated. I am a large-framed, 50-something man, 115 kg, six foot five inches tall, with size 13 feet. Boy, did we get it wrong. 

We were so wrong. Wrong time. Wrong sport. Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

For the uninitiated, snowboards are selected for riders based on their weight and shoe size. “So you need a blah blah blah wide board, for your weight, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t have your boot size anyway.”

Here is the real point. My old marketing manager boss had a saying: “there’s gold in the corners”. He was referring to the niche and smaller markets that often get over looked.

As a gangly teenager – at that stage a mere 6 foot 3 inches - my parents went to some expense to have a long single bed made for me. When I moved out of home, they advertised it in The Herald and the phone did not stop ringing. The demand was such they could have sold that 7 foot long single bed 20 times over. It’s that experience that motivates me to persevere with my search because I know there will be a market for my snowboard gear if I break my leg, arm or back on my first outing. (Post blog note – that sort of occurred).

Retailers, listen up at this point.  

Those of us able-bodied people who dwell in the 5th percentile of height, weight, or anything else you can imagine, are used to being ignored. We don’t get special car parks, toilets or changing rooms, and evidently we don’t deserve the choice the mass market average, middle of the bell curve customers deserve.

But retail businesses are awash with information on customers and their behaviour, which should mean there is no need for those of us at the tails of the bell curve to miss out. Retailers run out of the size 13 shoes and the tall fit snow pants in an XXL, because it’s an afterthought, bought once and not to be reordered, and because they sold it all. Which means they got it right, right?


Better integration of customer data and lost sales data would allow retailers to manage the stocking and supply chain logistics that support a great customer experience for a larger retail market. We need better integration of data throughout the retail sales chain.

The 5th percentile is a market worth having. No matter if its height, weight or head size, we are hundreds of thousands of customers strong.

Sales data will only ever tell what happened. It’s your lost sales and customer data will tell what could have happened, and will help you find the gold in the corners.

This post was originally published on Hotfoot's blog, Retail Geek.  

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Gun retail will change after the Christchurch shooting

  • Opinion
  • March 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gun retail will change after the Christchurch shooting

In the wake of an appalling attack, public sentiment around guns sales has changed. NZ Retail and The Register editor and associate publisher Sarah Dunn considers how gun retailers can work with the community in this new environment.

Read more
Sponsored content

Protect against porch pirates: The Courier Box

Necessity is the mother of innovation, and this is certainly the case for The Courier Box designer and developer Joanna Steel.


How did that happen: Customisable Products

  • News
  • March 14, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
How did that happen: Customisable Products

According to the Forbes 2018 trend report consumers are increasingly searching for personalization of products, services, and experiences. From wallets, phone cases, apparel, pet accessories, plates, bedding, and even number plates, if it can be purchased, it can be monogrammed, personalized, and used as a display of our individualism.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Here we go again

  • Opinion
  • March 14, 2019
  • Satish Ranchhod
Here we go again

After losing some steam over 2018, another year of moderate growth in retail spending is on the cards for 2019.

Read more

Kathmandu security breach may have captured customer data

  • News
  • March 14, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Kathmandu security breach may have captured customer data

Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu is investigating a suspected customer data breach on its trading websites.

Read more

Briscoe Group notches another record annual result

  • News
  • March 14, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Briscoe Group notches another record annual result

Briscoe Group has reported a record full year profit after a surge of sales going into the Chirstmas shopping season.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit