Foyles prepares for future after 'inspiring' bookshop workshops

Booksellers have praised the Foyles bookshop workshops as “inspiring” as the company said it was preparing to sit down with architects and plan the new store.

People from across the publishing industry gathered on Friday (15th February) for a second bookshop workshop in partnership with The Bookseller at Foyles’ present flagship store in London’s Charing Cross Road to talk about how Foyles could create a bookshop for the future when it moves to its new premises in the former Central St Martins campus.

Foyles’ head of marketing Miriam Robinson described the workshops as “inspiring” and said she was looking forward to compiling a detailed list of all the suggestions for the new store based on the ideas generated from across the two days.

She said: “I thought it went incredibly well, it was amazing to sustain that kind of energy over two days with two completely separate groups of people. There was a lot of great ideas around membership, loyalty, customer-empowerment and discovery. We will now sit down with the architects and go through the ideas and eventually put a list up on the Foyles website for others to look at.”

Booksellers Association president and Jaffe & Neale bookshop owner Patrick Neale said he had taken many ideas which he hoped to apply to his own business in Chipping Norton. He said: “I thought it was really inspiring. I believe the future is mixed format and everybody there did too. There was a lot of blue sky thinking and the message around loyalty and ‘stickiness’—getting customers to stick with you—is really important.

"We were talking about having something so inspiring in the shop that customers wanted to take a photo of it and that really stuck in my head. I thought: ‘that is what I am going to aim for’ . . . I think the big thing for Foyles is that the first 30 feet of the shop is giving the customers the best experience they can have.”

Simon Key, co-owner of the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, added: “I have a full notebook of ideas that I have to go through and work out which might work for us. The Twitter feed of sales on the wall I thought was a brilliant idea. I am pleased there was a big thing about loyalty.

"It is so important, and loyalty is about so much more than a membership card. There has been a lot for me to think about.”