Bluewater is the fifth largest shopping centre in the UK, attracting millions of visitors every year. With the abundance of businesses, the competition for customer attention is high. This leads to shops re-designing their shop fronts and interiors to keep up with modern trends and stay appealing to customers. Recently during one of my visits to Bluewater, I noticed an advert: ‘Clark’s – The Modern Workshop, opening March 2024’. This intrigued me as I was curious to know what additional features the ‘modern workshop’ Clarks was going to offer.

Clarks was founded in 1825 by two brothers, Cyrus and James Clark, in England. The first shoes Clarks began selling were slippers made out of the remains of sheepskin rugs to produce slippers. This innovative idea paved the way for the beginning of Clark’s journey into British footwear. Clarks made their breakthrough when in 1940, one of the directors of the company – John Bostock – developed a new foot measuring system for children, ensuring that shoes fitted correctly. Additionally, 1950s was also a highlight for Clarks when Nathan Clark designed the ‘desert boot’, inspired by boots from the bazaars in Cairo worn by British army officers.

On the 14th of March, Clark’s workshop opened. I paid a visit to the newly opened Clark store on its first day of opening and was astonished by the new contemporary refurbishment the store had...and the absence of till points! It was more customer-friendly, providing more seating areas for customers and more foot – measuring gauges, so more people can get their shoe size at once. Additionally, Clark’s have also introduced a new payment system into their shops. Instead of customers having to queue tediously at the till, they can directly pay at an iPad which the staff carry around with them. This iPad links to the terminal, making payments easier and faster. Also, through this new approach staff can also check stock directly from their iPad, and if the shoes you would like are not currently in the store, they can order it to your house rather than you having to wait weeks until the new stock of your favourite shoes arrive.

I was kindly allowed to interview one of the salespeople at the store - she explained to me how in the new store more customers can be attended too simultaneously due to the new modernised methods being introduced to Clarks. Charlotte (sales team member at Bluewater) told me that, ‘payment wise it is so much easier for me and customers as well.’

Hopefully when you next pay a visit to Bluewater, Clarks will be the first shop you go to.