The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Pocket Balance

Pocket Balance

It’s Wednesday so this week  it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Pocket Balance

A pocket balance – also known as a spring scale – is simply a spring fixed at on e end with a hook to which an object can be attached at the other. The object to be weighed is hung from the hook and the force that this weight exerts on the spring is proportion al to the distance that spring is extended – an established scientific principle known as Hooke’s Law. The scale markings on the spring balance identify the weight accordingly. The pocket balance was first created in 1770 by Richard Salter in the UK. From the late 18th century onwards these little scales were widely used in markets, grocers and farm shops – wherever people needed to be able to verify the weight of goods to be purchased in order to calculate the correct pricing. Portable, quick and simple to use, the pocket balance was ideal for weighing goods where pinpoint accuracy was not required, for example, sacks of potatoes or meat carcasses. The underlying principles of the spring balance were later incorporated into the spring scale weighing system widely used by retailers. In this case, the items are placed on a tray underneath the spring mechanism and the pressure exerted (expressed as weight) is shown by the position of pointer on the numbered dial.

Contribution to Retail History

The portable spring scale was the first major development in weighing scales that didn’t rely on the use of counterweights. Their portability enabled goods to be weighed anywhere, not only in shops or other fixed locations. Spring scales are still in use today because they are cheap to make and easy to use, although in the retail environment, more accurate digital scales have replaced them.

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The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Department Store

Department Store_RT

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Department Store

The earliest department stores appealed to affluent shoppers or those who aspired to own high-quality merchandise and began to surface on multiple continents in the early to mid-1800s. The department store concept remains highly relevant to shoppers, but modern operators are less discriminating and offer formats and product assortment s that appeal to a broad range of income levels. As with many retail innovations, the origins of the department store are difficult to isolate to a particular individual or retailer and the earliest versions of department stores bore little resemblance to their modern counterparts. However, what is clear is that the concept of a retail store offering multiple classifications of merchandise gained momentum in the early to mid-1800s. Charles Henry Harrod established his first retail business in London 1824. Austin’s was established as a department store in Northern Ireland in 1830 and David Jones opened a department store in Australia in 1838. Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge and William Alder Dunn opened a department store in England in 1849 and in 1851, the Buckley &Nunn department store opened in Melbourne, Australia. In 1852, Aristide Boucicaut opened the Le Bon Marché in Paris and six years later in 1958 the first R.H. Macy & Co. store opened in New York. These retailers brought a different perspective to the concept of department store, but each sought to benefit from the escalating standard of living that had resulted from the Industrial Revolution. As disposable incomes for Europeans and Americans increased, department store operators were there to provide a new type of shopping experience and to satisfy shoppers’ desire for consumer goods. The golden age of the traditional department store and its role in society began to fade in the 1960s with the advent of suburban shopping malls and discount department stores. The latter introduced a new type of value proposition to price sensitive mass market shoppers who were willing to accept reduced service levels and a more austere store experience in exchange for lower prices. The concept of the department store remains as relevant as ever, however retailers have to continue to refine product assortments and pursue ever narrower segments of the marketplace based on shopper demographics.

Contribution to Retail History

The introduction of department stores in England, France and the United States in the early to mid-1800s marked the beginning of an important chapter in the history of retailing. Department stores became iconic symbols of prosperity and were the dominant form of retailing for more than a century. The concept of the department store remains as highly relevant today as when it emerged to satisfy new found affluence spawned by the Industrial Revolution. Department stores gave rise to discount stores and also influenced the development of enclosed malls as retail developers took note of the powerful appeal that resulted from combining multiple departments of merchandise in a single destination.

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The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – Graphic Signage

In Store Graphic_1

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is Graphic Signage.

Graphic signage, as a form of store to customer communication, has existed for as long as there have been shops. There are examples of signs in shops and trading houses preserved in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum – some in paint ed form casually painted onto shutters and panelling and obviously tempo rary, ot hers permanently carved into the shop stone work. These signs suggest that Roman shopkeepers seldom used their names to identify their shop – a butcher, for example, might identify his trade by painting a sheep. This form of identity was a widespread practice in Europe until the 17th century when shopkeepers began to put their names on the shop fascia – thus began the process of brand identity and reputation. Today store communications fall into three categories: Information (way finding, price, weight, provenance, product content and so forth); Promotion (sale, special offer, and more) and Emotional and Positional. The graphics in this latter category may not be product specific, but might be images of contented cows inferring ethical farming, or others conveying images of traditional craftsmanship. But in all cases, graphics serve to promote a brand’s position and reputation. “Brand is but Trust spelt differently” and in the modern shopping context, whether it is digital on the shop screen, or in the physical shopping space, store communications in whatever form, are increasing. But they are also subject to scrutiny for accuracy and truthfulness and as such, play a critical role in demonstrating the brand’s integrity.

Contribution to Retail History

Graphic signage in stores helps to create the tonal atmosphere that reflects the store’s positioning. Used to inform or promote, their distinctive designs brought new rewards for the retailers.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Royal Exchange

Royal Exhange

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange in London was established in 1565 by Thomas Gresham to serve as a centre for financial trading, as well as, commerce. The Royal Exchange was a forerunner to the modern shopping mall as Gresham had the vision to dedicate several floors of the structure to retail uses and collect rent from tenants who occupied the space. Thomas Gresham was a wealthy businessman who set out to change the crude financial trading practices that were common in London during the 16th century. Gresham had served as a royal agent for both King Edward VI and Queen Mary and spent time at the bourse in the Belgian city of Antwerp and wanted to bring a similar concept to London. He invested a large portion of his personal wealth to construct a bourse on land provided by the city of London between Cornhill and Threadneedle Street. Queen Elizabeth I officially opened the Royal Exchange in 1571 and the timing could not have been better for several reasons. London’s population was expanding rapidly and the nation’s ascension as a global power had created newfound wealth among residents who were eager to purchase merchandise from retailers who occupied the upper floors of the Royal Exchange. In addition, the Royal Exchange brought London’s financial trading activities up to the standards of continental Europe at a pivotal moment. The completion of the facility five years prior to the Spanish sacking of Antwerp set London on a course to become the financial capital of Europe.The original structure stood for nearly 100 years before it was destroyed by fire in 1666. A rebuilt structure that opened three years later was again destroyed by fire in 1838. The third Royal Exchange building, which still stands today, was reopened in 1844. The financial firms left the Royal Exchange in 1939 and it became a purely retail establishment.

Contribution to Retail History

The Royal Exchange is considered by many to be the world’s first shopping mall. Founder Thomas Gresham established the principle of combining multiple shopkeepers under a single roof to offer a broad range of merchandise categories to create a compelling retail destination.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

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