Ancient Roman retail... still sells suits

I am a digital CEO, enjoying calls and emails from around the world. London, Hong Kong, Oslo, Sydney, Hamburg, Geneva... and that's all before lunch. Customers and care, sales and suits - Apsley have been in this business for over a century. We have always adopted new technology. I'm told that when we started, we didn’t have electricity, or even sewing machines...

1889 was a long time ago, but in this digital world, we must remember to bring the best ideas of the past with us. When I travel, signs that help me find passport control or that unique family café are so helpful.

I have therefore spent time making sure that the Apsley showroom, our windows and our signage are working hard, explaining Apsley's values to anyone who cares to look. Pictures have been used by humans to share ideas and offers for millennia, from the days of cavepeople and the Egyptians. Signs explain. Signs connect.

It is no surprise then that from 3,000 BC, right through the Middle Ages, signage was the best retail marketing tool. In Rome, for example, it was a bush of ivy and vine leaves, associated with Bacchus the God of Wine, and attached to a pole to identify a tavern. 

What worked for Roman retail is good for Apsley, too. We've installed some new signs - not digitally or online, but outside our stores - to shout about our great offers, like our current buy-one-get-one-free suit offer. Two suits for £1288. That's just £649 each. And the signs are working well. New customers are walking in off the street. We meet, we explain, we sell and we connect. And in the process, I am happy to offer them a coffee or maybe a glass of wine at no charge. What Roman tavern owners would have thought of that, I don’t know!

What is clear is that street signs sell well, as they have done for over 5,000 years. Two bespoke suits for £1288? I’ll buy that!

Best wishes,

Arshad Signature

Arshad Mahmood


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