We're retail experts

ABA is an independent strategic insight agency. Founded by Alison Bainbridge in 1994, we now have 100+ ABAers at offices in St Albans, Leeds and London – running projects worldwide.

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Helping brands grow

We specialise in 8 crucial areas for retail brands - creating bespoke solutions that, often blending quantitative, qualitative and consultative approaches, set out immediate actions.

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At the heart of the story

Our promise encapsulates ABA’s ability to take a 360° view on business issues, get to the nub and develop compelling narratives that inspire change.

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Awards & Recognition

We are proud to have consistently triumphed in industry awards including MRS Best Agency and Aura Agency of the Year.

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Giving Something Back

Our charity shop, ’Raindrops on Roses’, shows we truly know retail – YTD sales running at +20% and, thus far, £100k going to local cancer charities.

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We partner customer-centred brands

ABA is privileged to have lasting, mutually-rewarding partnerships with some of the most ambitious UK and global brands in the retail sector.

Enhancing the John Lewis experience

Seeking to improve its already strong customer experience position, John Lewis appointed ABA in 2008. We’ve been a trusted partner ever since – measuring customers’ likelihood to recommend the brand, however they interact with it, and identifying how best to enhance scores.

"ABA is our strategic partner for understanding the experience of our customers across our multiple sales & service channels. We can rely on ABA for their consistent quality and independent opinion in our drive for a seamless customer experience." - Chris Bates, Head of Customer Marketing

Sparking M&S customer closeness

M&S' Womenswear attracts a broad church and it recognises the danger of trying to be 'all things to all' and ending up never the thing for anyone. ABA united senior stakeholders and shoppers to develop understanding that ensures M&S better satisfies customer needs.

"We set ABA the challenge of bringing the 16 most senior M&S Womenswear managers face-to-face with customers. By the session’s end many pledged to keep personally in contact with their ‘customer buddy’ – ensuring knowledge is current and providing a sounding board for new ideas." - Kirsty Garrett – Head of Insight

Helping Superdry boost brand love

Superdry wanted to overhaul its Brand Track programme to identify a clearer correlation between scores and commercial performance – identifying changes that would build more meaningful customer bonds across the globe.

"ABA has successfully delivered the granular, actionable insight we need from our Brand Track programme. The team has invested in understanding our brand and international business. Results are generating the right strategic dialogue and decision-making at the highest level." - Jon Wragg, Marketing Director

Guiding O2’s iPhone 6S launch

The eagerly anticipated 2015 iPhone launch saw one of the fiercest retail battles ever. Desiring deep customer understanding so as to compete successfully in a highly contested market, O2’s Research Team appointed ABA to ensure they emerged with a great proposition.

“ABA has been our strategic partner on this high-profile project, collaborating with and influencing 27 senior stakeholders. We can be confident their team has a deep understanding of our business, plus the ability to produce fresh insights and clear recommendations.” - Jessica Salmon, Head of Research

Enriching the Camelot experience

Seeking to strengthen its digital player relationship, Camelot invited ABA to help it create a continual dialogue with customers – compatible with its major new online and mobile platform, which is transforming the way players interact with National Lottery games across all devices (particularly mobile).

‘ABA has helped us build an online player experience programme to be proud of. The team has shown considerable commitment, investing heavily in collaboration across the business. Real-time insight has transformed decision-making, convincing stakeholders on ways to build affinity.’ Nick Bonney, Head of Insight –- Camelot

Growing category love at ASDA​

For ASDA, a department can be as big as many retailers in £ turnover – so categories need careful management. Success depends on understanding customer needs/behaviours, competitors, and category trends. Packaged world food is just one of many categories we've reviewed over the last 5 years.

“ABA understands how to unpick category opportunities within the context of the parent brand. The team always reveal key opportunities, and help identify the required actions that will step-change improvements in performance.” - Liz Lamb, Senior Director, Insight & Pricing

Unifying rigour and flair

In developing tailor-made solutions to client briefs, we adopt a 5-stage approach – ensuring we deliver against our values of partnership, discovery and action, and making certain the research builds upon rather than repeats existing learnings.

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Our retail vision

We’re Loving

Regular updates on the retail developments we think will turn heads and win sales.

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We’re Predicting

Periodic thought-leader observations and interpretation on the shape of modern retail.

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​Our people are bright, dedicated and human

Our clients need us to deliver top-quality research tailored exactly to their needs. We hire the very best and then support development throughout their career. We’ve found that ‘the best’ isn't just about talent, it's about great attitude – and being adaptable, collaborative, easy to get on with and far-sighted are all must-have characteristics for ABAers.