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Written by Andréa Williams, Head of Marketing
2021 has certainly not been without its events: another lockdown, the England football team reaching their first major final since 1966, 65 medals for team GB at the Olympics and Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond, have all captured just some of the headlines this year.
So, as we all start to wind down for Christmas, it gives us a chance to reflect on the year we’ve also had and a few of our own headlines.
January 2021: In January we welcomed Hollywood Bowl Group
Hollywood Bowl Group operates over 60 bowling alley centres across the UK, along with 3 Putt Stars mini-golf centres. At the beginning of the year, our IT Help Desk began support for Hollywood Bowl Group’s centres.
February 2021: We launched our new telephony system with help from our friends over at Claranet and Puzzel
We selected Claranet to introduce their Hosted Teams Voice platform and Puzzel Hosted Contact Centre solutions as these are key tools that have improved the efficiency of our 24x7x365 multi-lingual IT Help Desk team. We have linked the Contact Centre solution to our ITSM tool to create a single point of service for all of our customers, providing an innovative and efficient service.
March 2021: We prepared for retail stores to reopen
In the countdown to stores reopening we worked with clients to make sure they were ready to welcome back customers. In a similar way to cars that hadn’t been driven for a while, sometimes there’s certain things you have to do to make sure your tech is ready for use again. Created in collaboration with many of our customers and end users, the Return to Trade Checklist, quickly and easily talked store staff through everything to consider before opening their doors, making sure all tech bases were covered.
April 2021: We launched our Cyber Security Services
At Retail Assist, we pride ourselves on continuous innovation: the tech world never stands still and we constantly reassess the service we provide to our customers. The pandemic saw an increase in cyber-attacks as systems became more vulnerable due to the shift of focus to the crisis and remote working. We invested in Cyber Security services, to help protect customers against heightened cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities, we now offer a suite of Dark Web scanning, phishing simulation, IT security risk assessments and vulnerability scanning.
May 2021: We looked at Life After Lockdown
The 12th April marked a big day for non-essential retail. After closing its doors for many months during the national lockdown and, for some, for even longer during localised tier restrictions, the retail sector had never known such adversity. But, as bricks-and-mortar retail cautiously returned, we looked at how consumers reacted. Gathering stats and exclusive comments from retail experts, in May we explored if there was ever going to be a “return to normal” or if the face of retail as we know has changed forever. You can find the whitepaper here.
June 2021: We turned 22!
We kicked off our 21st year with a refresh to our look, now a year had passed and another lockdown out of the way, you could have argued it was meant to be a quiet year. Not for us! We looked back at 22 of Retail Assist’s achievements, read the blog here.
July 2021: We welcomed new customer, Multikino part of Vue Cinemas
In July we announced that Vue Cinemas had chosen us once again to support their growth and provide 1st line Help Desk support to its Multikino and Cinema 3D cinemas in Poland. With a rapidly expanding cinema estate and IT infrastructure, we have supported Vue International since 2009, helping drive incidents down in their UK and Polish locations.
August 2021: We managed store openings for cosmetics leader Morphe
We extended support from existing first-line Help Desk services, to carry out a full store opening for global cosmetics leader, Morphe. Part of FORMA Brands family, Morphe marked its seventh standalone UK store and very first in Wales, St David’s shopping centre. Our store systems team stepped in to provide full ownership of the technology elements in store to enable them to open on time and within budget. The team ensured that all technical equipment was built, configured, and pre-tested ahead of time, then transported and installed into the store over a few days.
September 2021: We prepared for Peak Trade
As we stepped into 2021’s Golden Quarter with a renewed sense of consumer confidence, we prepared for increased footfall. We supported our clients in getting ready for peak trade and prepared our peak trading checklist for store staff to carry out technical checks. We always ensure our customers systems are primed and ready to run smoothly.
October 2021: Drapers Digital Festival
The last 18 months have accelerated digital trends for retailers, forced consumers into new habits and have rapidly created new norms. So, at Draper’s digital festival, it was refreshing to reunite with retailers and look forward to what a post-Covid world entails and how to capitalise on the opportunities it presents. Check out our top takeaways here.
November 2021: We won IT Service Provider of the Year!
In November we won the globally recognised ‘IT Service Provider of the Year’ award at the itSMF’s annual Professional Service Management Awards! The ‘IT Service Provider of the Year’ award is awarded to a service provider that has provided outstanding support and guidance over the last year and offered business-wide benefit for the organisations with which they work.
December 2021: Ted Baker signed up for Ra-X
In December we announced that we had extended our service provision to include data exchange support for global lifestyle brand, Ted Baker. Ted Baker use the data exchange service, Ra-X, to share data, with Retail Assist also providing key 1st and 2nd line Help Desk support.
What a year! Thank you to all our colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners for your support, hard work and collaboration this year. We hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, prosperous new year.
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