Omni Talk podcast: Store management as an agile product.

Gabrielle Reason
Gabrielle Reason 09/18/2020·30 minutes

Our Co-Founder and CEO Julian was invited by Chris Walton and Anne Mezzenga from Omni Talk to be interviewed for their Spotlight Series, which highlights the people, companies, and technologies shaping the future of the retail industry.

The chat ranges from where the initial lightbulb moment for Quorso came from, through to a discussion of how Quorso facilitates and promotes conversation and action based on tested data, rather than opinion and bluff.

It’s a fascinating discussion of how the pandemic has elevated some of Quorso’s core functionality to a whole new level of utility for retailers who are relying on agility, leadership, and accountability to see them through the uncertainty of the crisis.

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1:19 – Julian explains the experiences and thinking that led to the initial inception of Quorso.

"I kept working with really smart companies that had gleaming headquarters full of smart people doing amazing things, and they'd been collecting more and more and data for the last decade.

They felt they had all the answers in their brains in these gleaming headquarters, but when you went out and walked around and looked in the stores they were running the same way that they had been for 20 years.

So there was just a fundamental mismatch between clever ideas in the center and the day to day operations of the business.

The question I had was: how do you actually get 1,000 stores to do the right thing at 11 o'clock Monday morning, using that data?"

Julian Mills

3:05 – The need for Quorso was realised to Julian when he was working on a car rental project.

5:25 – The pandemic sped up retail transformation. Quorso speaks to the issues that it’s forced and has been a great ally to retailers through the crisis.

"I think the pandemic has made three things happen. The first is that demand is much more lumpy, and so people have to respond much more quickly to what's going on. The second is that when demand is down it puts pressure on costs, so you need to run stores in a leaner way. The third one is an increasing awareness of the human cost, and the human stress on store colleagues of showing up for work every day and doing your job.

It's that kind of agility, efficiency, and a kind of human dimension which I think Quorso really speaks to. And what makes people excited about what we do."

Julian Mills

6:20 – Chris thinks there’s a fourth element to add – that it enables retailers to manage their stores and ensure high-quality execution without the need to be there in person.

7:11 – Julian explains how Quorso tells their managers the next best actions they should take, and measures their impact to let them understand exactly how their actions are impacting the wider business.

9:42 – Julian describes what an average day for a manager using Quorso might look like.

14:11 – Julian compares Quorso to other collaboration tools out there. Most others foster discussion but it goes round in circles without any definitive action or task completion to come out of them. Quorso ensures action and improvement happens, growing your KPIs en masse and nudging your ever closer to your goals.

14:44 – Chris points out the importance of grounding these daily actions in empirical data – the alternative is that the loudest most charismatic opinion gets followed, even when it makes no sense.

15:15 – Julian explains how Quorso’s data shows that it guarantees improvement, rather than just leaving it up to chance.

"When we start working with companies we typically find that only 55% of managers' actions actually drive improvement. So 45% of the time they actually destroy value. That's only just better than 50:50.

By the time they've been working with us for a couple of months, 80% drive value.

So there is this problem: a lot of organizations are running on false information"

Julian Mills

16:24 – Julian discusses the two big changes he’s seeing in retail because of Covid: business focus, and area management.

17:40 – Julian describes how Quorso consolidates multiple data inputs.

19:39 – Discussion of how Quorso delivers the three ingredients of job satisfaction: autonomy, complexity, and attachment.

21:51 – Julian explains the process of someone getting their data set up on Quorso, which can take anywhere from 3 hours to 3 weeks. This is dependent on how the data is set up.


If you can use Airbnb, you can use Quorso.

Julian Mills

23:00 – 98% of people pick up how to use Quorso in two weeks. Those who take longer are in organizations that aren’t prepared to adopt a scientific mindset and way of operating.

24:17 – Julian plays the Omni Talk game: how millennial are you? Hint: not very!

29:20 – Chris explains his key takeaway is about thinking of store management as a product.

"I think the fundamental takeaway for me is almost thinking of store management as a product - how do we manage a store similar to how we manage a piece of software?

Like the product side of it all coming together day to day, and using data to drive our decision making to make it work better for those that are using it and experiencing it on an ongoing basis."

Chris Walton