Rethinking bricks and mortar

Speaking at PSFK CONFERENCE 2013, Rachel Shechtman, founder of STORY, laid out the fundamentals of her retail concept and gave an update on recent themes. Shechtman describes STORY as a 2,000 square foot space that has the point of view of a magazine, reinvents itself entirely every four to eight weeks like a gallery, and sells products like a store. This multi media concept combines curation and editorial content with traditional brick and mortar retail.

I must say that the video is truly inspiring, especially when you look at all the empty retail spaces up and down the high street in every UK city. Local entrepreneurs could really look at this concept and partner with local colleges, bars, stores, online retailers to create branded pop-up stores that could be supported by local councils. This innovative strategy could help with creating more of a local feel to retail, add to this technology for taking payments etc and the cost of set-up could be dramatically reduced.

Local councils take a look and start to engage key stakeholders to deliver real community value.


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How to Own the Customer Experience in the Store by Engaging with Shoppers through Your Branded App

The need for retailers to develop a rich, unique mobile shopping experience through a branded mobile optimized website and rich app enabling consumers to easily and conveniently search, browse and buy anytime and anywhere was the first step in a mobile strategy.

The next major strategic initiative is enabling location-based technology in a retailer’s own branded rich mobile app so they can develop a deeper relationship with their customers by engaging with them in a relevant, more personal way. Rich apps with location-aware technology give retailers the opportunity to immerse the consumer in their own branded experience and the power to know where their consumers are in relation to physical locations, when they enter the retail store, how long they are there and what they do while inside. By understanding consumers’ in-store shopping behavior, retailers can more effectively and successfully interact with shoppers, driving sales, customer loyalty and deep analytics about consumer buying behavior. For 2012, multi-channel retailers should implement location-based marketing and analytics in their mobile strategy through their own branded rich mobile app to better understand and engage with their consumers like never before. To fully engage with customers in the store through their own branded rich apps, retailers should:

1. Create geofences around physical store locations and other points of interest.

2. Engage with the consumer when they breach a geofence to drive them to the store.

3. Encourage consumers to check-in when they enter a store.

4. Enable barcode scanning in the rich app.

5. Place QR codes to highlight featured promotions in the store and have a QR code reader in the app.

6. Send customers store announcements while they are there.

7. Engage with consumers as they leave the store.

Mobile provides brands with a revolutionary tool: location awareness. Location awareness is completely transforming the relationship between brands and consumers. For the first time ever, brands have the power to engage directly with their customers based on where they are — when at home, when mobile and especially in the store—and it’s all available through their own branded rich app.

By developing a rich mobile app with location-aware technology, marketing, analytics and commerce, brands can effectively drive consumers to the store and engage with them while there to serve them better and to gain a deeper understanding of their buying preferences and habits, uncover conversion rates for products purchased in the retail store, and influence buying decisions.

To read about the 7 steps in full, download the white paper at

Thanks to


Technology and retail

Great video on the technology possibilities in retail enjoy……….

Razorfish Connected Retail Experience Platform (codename “5D”) from Razorfish – Emerging Experiences on Vimeo.

The Optimized Mobile User Experience: Convergent Commerce Series

Mobile commerce has quickly advanced past a cut-and-paste of a retailer’s ecommerce site—it is a viable, independent channel that needs its own strategy, unique capabilities, and personality if it is going to be a valuable part in a retailer’s cross-channel commerce strategy. In the first Convergent Commerce Series Article, Cross-Channel Plan for Mobile Engagement, the growing reasons to integrate a cross-channel strategy incorporating online, mobile, brick-and-mortar and social were highlighted with a specific focus on mobile. The most effective mobile platform consists of a mobile optimized website, downloadable rich app, and in-store mobile engagement. Incorporating mobile into the overall marketing strategy is an effective means to increase consumer awareness of a retailer’s various channels. In doing so, retailers can attract more visitors, generate more sales, leverage their marketing and merchandising spend, gain insight into customer purchase decisions, and heighten customer relations.

It is important to recognize that while mobile is its own channel wherein consumers interact in a very different way than they do other mediums, it simultaneously links all commerce outlets between the customer and the retail brand. While on the go, consumers use their phones to browse products, perform research through ratings and reviews, video demonstrations and detailed product descriptions, share an item to Facebook and Twitter or email it to friends and family, and ultimately, purchase in as little as sixty seconds. In store, the mobile device and rich apps act as a store loyalty card and personal sales associate providing product details, demonstrations, consumer opinions, and special product and store offers.

There are many important features and functionalities that need to be enabled on a mobile optimized website and rich app in order to provide a convergent commerce platform that enhances the customer shopping experience both in and out of the store. These include:

Rich Product Images and Detailed Product Descriptions: A key feature of an optimized mobile web site and rich app is the ability to view rich and large product images from anywhere at anytime. Consumers can visually see what they are about to purchase in a mobile optimized format, and multiple images per product allow for an interactive user experience from all angles. The product information should be detailed and include variants such as color and size and the price range, if necessary, can include was price, now price, and MSRP.

Product Search: The goal of a product search is to get the consumer to where they are going in as few steps as possible, and so the search function needs to be designed to move the consumer from the homepage to checkout in as little as six clicks. The product search results, whether accessed by searching for product name, category, brand, or item number, should be easy to navigate and have breadcrumbs in place so the customer can easily see the path to return to a previous page or result. Once the customer finds what they are looking for, they should be able to buy it directly from their mobile device or search for Find a Store so they can buy it locally.

Find a Store: Enabled through a geo/zip store locator implementation, Find a Store converges the mobile and in-store channels by enabling consumers to quickly and conveniently access a retailer’s products and information across channels. The store locator makes finding a retail store or merchant vendor quick, simple and convenient. For the retailer, it eliminates customer abandonment based on direction hassles, calling frustrations and time-intensive, unnecessary steps. A one-touch store locator enables a seamless transition from mobile to in-store shopping, further converging retail platforms. In addition, it is through the Find a Store implementation that retailers can enable weekly circular promotions and deals directly to consumers’ smartphones, which broadens their distribution and entices customers to visit the store. The weekly ads, only redeemable in-store, show users local product-specific discounts at stores near them.

Mobile In-Store Marketing: When a customer walks into a retail store with the retailer’s branded rich app installed on their smartphone, they can open the app and click to “check-in” to the store. If the retailer has set up a campaign to be triggered by a check-in at that particular store, a rich message will appear that may be a store announcement, a specific offer, or simply a welcome message. While in the store, retailers can push notifications to consumers based on in-store events or announcements. Upon leaving, retailers can send customers a notification within the branded app that could include an invitation to an exit survey, a loyalty promotion, or even a simple “thank you” for visiting the store.

In-Store Product Research: Barcode scanning via a smartphone’s camera is an integral part of the cross-channel retail strategy and is one of the driving forces between the mobile and in-store channels. The retailer’s rich app implementation of barcode scanning empowers customers to access additional information about specific products, such as complete product descriptions, additional product images, ratings and reviews, add to wish list and registry, and even see a product video demonstration or receive an instant coupon for a special product offer. Additionally, the customer can view up-to-date availability and can order directly and immediately from their mobile device if the store is out of the size or color the consumer wishes to purchase.

QR Code Scan: A customer’s ability to scan QR codes within the retailer’s branded app and have them link to any number of offers or responses unlocks countless possibilities for making a retail store mobile-aware. Scanning QR codes cannot only generate insights into product preferences, but can also create an opportunity to serve relevant promotions. QR codes can be used in catalogs, in-store signage and even advertisements, all to drive product and promotion awareness within the retailer’s branded rich app.

To determine which mobile platforms— web site, app or both—will bring the most ROI for a retailer’s investment, brands should look at their customer base and commerce outlets. It is through the mobile web that consumers will initially interact with a retailer from a mobile device. Mobile web allows customers to benefit from a fast, easy-to-use interface for browsing, searching and buying while on the go. The retailer can then engage and transform the customer from occasional visitor to loyal customer by having them download the app for faster, more frequent and higher value experiences, whether they’re in the store or on the move. In doing so, the retailer can drive incremental sales, increase customer loyalty and learn more about consumers’ buying behavior to serve them better in the future.

Article from mobile retail blog

3 the phone network, debuts it’s version on the future of shopping

Below is a really interesting video on how 3 sees part of the future of retail shopping with the launch of “3LiveShop”. The video highlights the use of some great interactive technology and it is really good to see the significant investment in ideas from the telecoms player.

All organisations are looking at how they can improve how they interact online with their customers as websites can be seen as so last century, there are some great ideas within the video about how businesses can improve the experience. Well done to 3 and hopefully we will see some other types of retail creativity from others in the marketplace.