Close this search box.

Ryman’s Michael Errington on loyalty in a price-conscious era, omnichannel success and roadmap for the festive frenzy

InternetRetailing sits down with Ryman‘s retail operations director, Michael Errington, to discuss how the retailer is navigating customers through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis via its new loyalty scheme, preparations for the golden quarter and the power of marketing during tricky times.

Embracing a ‘customer-centric’ omnichannel approach

Ryman, which currently has over 200 stores across the UK and trades online, reported it had returned to profitability earlier this year following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its key customer groups and store locations.

At the time, the owner of the stationery retailer, former Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis said: “There is no doubt that the resilience and creativity of retail has been significantly tested over the last three years.

“I am, therefore, pleased with how our brands and colleagues have responded to the challenges of the pandemic which was closely followed by other significant negative economic and political factors in 2022.”

Meanwhile, Errington credits the pandemic for “accelerating the shift to online retail”, offering the company an opportunity to further develop its online channels.

Stay informed:

Our editor carefully curates a daily newsletter filled with up-to-date news, analysis and research, click here to subscribe to the FREE newsletter sent straight to your inbox and why not follow us on LinkedIn to receive the latest updates on our research and analysis?

“We are starting to see our customers return to our stores as time progresses, because as the pandemic demonstrated to us all, in some instances almost nothing beats being able to see, touch and hear about a product”, he tells InternetRetailing.

“Online continues to play a bigger part in our business than pre-pandemic.”

As a result, Errington recognises that catering to customer preferences, whether that is in-store or online, is key.

He says: “Ryman has always had a customer-centric focus, and that’s why having an ever-developing omnichannel model is important for us. It allows us to continue serving our customers in the ways that best suit them.”

Loyalty redefined: Unveiling Ryman Rewards

Errington continues to use Ryman’s new rewards scheme as an example of bringing its channels “closer together to further enhance its customer experience”.

Earlier this month, the company launched its new loyalty scheme, Ryman Rewards, in a bid to navigate customers through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. The new programme offers users exclusive pricing across hundreds of its products in-store and online.

“Customer service is at the heart of Ryman, as it has been for the 130 years it’s been on the high street serving customers,” he adds.

“With the current cost-of-living crisis, now is the perfect time to launch Ryman Rewards to ensure we continue serving our customers with even better deals during this tricky time by rewarding them with points every time they shop with us and through reduced pricing on a diverse range of everyday items.”

He notes: “We reward our customers with a point for every pound they spend with us and even award bonus points when they sign up and make their first purchase.

“We endeavour to maximise our customers’ experience when they shop with us and with Ryman Rewards, we do just that by providing our customers with personalised offers tailor-made to their tastes.”

Errington also revealed the company is looking to expand the programme to offer exclusive product deals for just Reward members, building on the group’s infrastructure and offering even more value outside of the categories the group is known for.

“We’re happy to share that we’ve had a very positive response from our customers with thousands of sign-ups so far, we’re certain that our customers have welcomed this initiative which makes their shopping basket that little bit cheaper during these tricky times,” he adds.

Preparation for the golden quarter

The festive season, often referred to as the golden quarter is a bustling period for retailers, which Errington confirms is no different for Ryman.

However, like many retailers, he reveals the Top50 retailer is “laser-focused” on developing and expanding its product ranges in time for Christmas.

“We have to make sure that we’ve got the best products at the right price at the right time for our customers,” he reveals.

Marketing amid a price-conscious era

According to the retail operations director, marketing takes on a heightened significance in the run-up to Christmas, especially this year, as the UK faces a cost-of-living crisis.

Marketing is an integral part of Ryman – as it should be for any company.”

He notes: “It is the only way we can communicate with our existing and potential customers to tell them about our brand and new products and initiatives.

As the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continues to intensify, he underlines that modern customers are inherently price-savvy, demands transparent communication and requires authenticity, calling on other retailers to “be honest and authentic” in their communications and not be afraid to modernise the tone across its channels.

Click to download:

Ryman features as a Top50 retailer in the 2023 RXUK Top500 report. Download the report today for the latest ranking of the best retailers in the UK as well as a strategic overview of the UK ecommerce market alongside a raft of case studies from the likes of Dunelm, Toolstation, Yours Clothing, The Works, Very and Swarovski.

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on