Future of Retail?

Is this the future of retail. Some really interesting ideas….


Spar to include Amazon Lockers in selected stores

Spar has announced it is to include Amazon Lockers in a number of stores, allowing customers to retrieve Amazon parcels at a local Spar store. The Lockers are currently located in nine Spar stores with further Lockers planned to be added in the future.

The initiative lets Amazon customers choose their Locker option and location when ordering online. They then receive a secure pick-up code via email which they use to open the Locker and retrieve their parcel.

The nine Blakemore Retail Spar stores offering Amazon Lockers are: Fosse Road, Bocking Lane, Upton, Birmingham University, Bannerbrook, Broomhill, Grantham, Burbage and St. Albans.

Spar UK retail development controller Barry Wallis said: “This is a highly innovative move from Spar UK, showing our commitment to launching the latest technologies that provide the best possible convenience to shoppers.

“Online sales are growing with more than half of the UK population now shopping online. In recent months, we have introduced mobile phone charging units, free WiFi and mobile marketing apps instore for our customers. This is the next step in making our stores even more service-friendly.”


Selfridges create noise with “No Noise” campaign

The high street is a real battleground, companies are disappearing and others are looking at ways to differentiate themselves due to the continued growth of the internet. Enter an idea from Selfridges (see the video below) which is using some of their retail space in a different  way and is in many respects engaging their already loyal customer base. It might be worth taking a few minutes to have a look at the video and to think carefully how other retailers can engage with their customers.

The rise of digital and mobile: What we’ve learned from Holiday ’12

There’s no arguing with the stats. Digital retail, and more specifically mobile technologies, have never been more impactful in the retail landscape − a fact very apparent as you review stats from the 2012 holiday season. Ahead of the first session of Shop.org’s First Look track at Retail’s BIG Show today, Executive Director Vicki Cantrell shared a few thoughts about these stats and the future of omnichannel retailing.

Cantrell’s biggest takeaway? “Companies today don’t need to choose between their website and their physical stores. They need both.” Watch the video for more.



This work maybe a few months old, however what is being done by the guys over at Razorfish is fantastic. Check out the ideas below they could provide some really ideas that could differentiate your business.

Big data: a retailer’s guide to likes, tweets, reviews, customer data, and basically everything else (infographic)

When it comes to retailers, big data is perhaps a little too big.

Half of retailers can’t aggregate all their data in one place to make detailed reports and conclusions. 45 percent don’t use available data to personalize marketing communications, and another 42 can’t link data together at the individual customer level.

That is perhaps understandable, because 90 percent of the data that’s ever been created has been created in the last two years, and it’s growing fast.

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/19/big-data-a-retailers-guide-to-likes-tweets-reviews-customer-data-and-basically-everything-else-infographic/#DoJMDx85f3svhhPH.99

Thanks to http://www.venturebeat.com

Shifts in Retail Demand New Analytics

Our benchmark research into retail analytics says that only 34 percent of retail companies are satisfied with the process they currently use to create analytics. That’s a 10 percent lower satisfaction score than we found for all industries combined. The dissatisfaction is being driven by underperforming technology that cannot keep up with the dramatic changes that are occurring in the retail industry. Retail analytics lag those in the broader business world, with 71 percent still using spreadsheets as their primary analysis tool. This is significantly higher than other industries and shows the immaturity in the field of retail analytics.

While in the past retailers did not need to be on the cutting edge of analytics, dramatic changes occurring in retail are driving a new analytics imperative:

Manufacturers are forming direct relationships with consumers through communities and e-commerce. These relationships can extend into the store and influence buyers at the point of purchase.  This “pull-through” strategy increases the power and brand equity of the supplier while decreasing the position strength of the retailer. This dynamic is evidenced by JC Penney, which positions itself as a storefront for an entire portfolio of supplier brands. Whereas before the retailer owned the relationship with the consumer, the relationship is now shared between the retailer and its suppliers.

What this means for retail analytics: Our benchmark research shows retail has lagged behind other businesses with respect to analytics. Given the new co-opitition environment with suppliers, retailers must use analytics to compete. Their decreasing brand equity means that they need analytics not just for brand strategy and planning, but also in tactical areas such as merchandising and promotional management. At the same time, retailers are working with ever-increasing amounts of data that is often shared throughout the supply chain to build business cases and to enrich customer experience, and that data is ripe for analysis in service to business goals.

E-commerce is driving a convergence of offline and online retail consumer behavior, forcing change to a historically inert retail analytics culture. As we’ve all heard by now, online retailers such as Amazon threaten the business models of showroom retailers. Some old-line companies are dealing with the change by taking an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach. Traditional brick-and-mortar company Walgreens, for instance, acquired Drugstore.com and put kiosks in its stores to let customers order out-of-stock items immediately at the same price. However, online retailers, instead of looking to move into a brick-and-mortar environment, are driving their business model back into the data center and forward onto mobile devices. Amazon, for instance, offers Amazon Web Services and Kindle tablet.

What this means for retail analytics: There has historically been a wall between the .com area of a company and the rest of the organization. Companies did mystery shopping to do price checks in physical trade areas and bots to do the same thing over the Internet. Now companies such as Sears are investing heavily to gain full digital transparency into the supply chain so that they can change pricing on the fly – that is, it may choose to undercut a competitor on a specific SKU, then when its system finds a lack of inventory among competitors for the item, it can automatically increase its price and its margin. Eventually the entire industry, including midtier retailers, will have to focus on how analytics can improve their business.

Retailers are moving the focus of their strategy away from customer acquisition and toward customer retention. We see this change of focus both on the brick-and-mortar side, where loyalty card programs are becoming ubiquitous, and online via key technology enablers such as Google, whose I/O 2012 conference focused on the shift from online customer acquisition to online customer retention.

What this means for retail analytics: As data proliferates, businesses gain the ability to look more closely at how individuals contribute to a company’s revenue and profit. Traditional RFM and attribution approaches are becoming more precise as we move away from aggregate models and begin to look at particular consumer behavior. Analytics can help pinpoint changes in behavior that matter, and more importantly, indicate what organizations can do to retain desired customers or expand share-of-wallet. In addition, software to improve the customer experience within the context of a site visit is becoming more important. This sort of analytics, which might be called a type of online ethnography, is a powerful tool for improving the customer experience and increasing the stickiness of a retailer’s site.

In sum, our research on retail analytics shows that outdated technological and analytical approaches still dominate the retail industry. At the same time, changes in the industry are forcing companies to rethink their strategies, and many companies are addressing these challenges by leveraging analytics to attract and retain the most valued customers. For large firms, the stakes are extremely high, and the decisions around how to implement this strategy can determine not just profitability but potentially their future existence. Retail organizations need to consider investments into new approaches for getting access to analytics. For example, analytics provided via cloud computing and software as a service are becoming more pervasive help ensure they meet the capabilities and needs of business roles. Such approaches are a step function above the excel based environments that many retailers are living in today.

thanks to http://tonycosentino.ventanaresearch.com/2012/10/12/shifts-in-retail-demand-new-analytics/


Instagram and Pinterest: 6 Ways to Tackle Social Through Mobile

The last couple of years have been pivotal for brands’ social media capabilities. Social media has grown beyond the 140-character, text-only limit and has blossomed into media-rich social communities. There is a burgeoning opportunity for brands to take advantage of social media in new ways to garner more brand interest, loyalty and participation.

About four years ago, Twitter was dominating the media waves with thousands of experts and bloggers sharing advice on how brands and companies could harness this new social technology. Now, media-rich platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are the social media darlings, and Facebook continues to release innovative new capabilities for companies hoping to connect with their social customers. Some brands are making promising headway into social and mobile integration, and soon, they’ll be paving the way for many other brands. For companies contemplating dipping a foot in—or diving in completely—there are a number of practices to start now.

1. Incorporate merchandise photos on an Instagram brand page.

Instagram is a popular new photo sharing mobile app, where users can upload or take photos, edit them using preloaded photo themes and share with the community and their friends. Brands with photogenic merchandise should get on Instagram now. Companies should upload in-store photos of products or events, product shots, magazine spots and any other brand-worthy photos to Instagram, and tag them with key words and location to drive traffic to local stores. Puma (11,000+ followers) is doing a great job of sharing not only product shots, but lifestyle shots, with a friendly mobile fan base.

2. Add “lookbooks” to Pinterest.

Officially launched in 2010 as an invite-only beta trial, Pinterest has become the fastest growing and third most popular social network, behind only Facebook and Twitter. This virtual pin board allows users to upload photos from the web, add a description, organize by topic (or pin board) and share with their followers. Because every pin is credited back to the online source, many brands have experienced increases in site visits and sales from Pinterest traffic. A PriceGrabber.com study showed that 21 percent of Pinterest users had made a purchase directly from Pinterest.com. Companies could easily create boards that serve as lookbooks for their merchandise. One of my favorite brands to follow on Pinterest is Michael Kors, and his board, “Style Tips” is a good example of a brand sharing a product-inspired lookbook. A recommendation for Mr. Kors would be to link the photo back to the e-commerce product page or include the link in the description.

3. Allow customers to create and share Pinterest boards as a part of a community action.

Earlier this year, The Paper Source, an arts and crafts store, encouraged their customers to create a board inspired by a craft project using pins from Paper-Source.com as a part of a competition. The chosen winner of the most creative board would receive a large discount on all supplies needed to complete the project. It would be awesome to see a company run an in-store mobile contest where customers could create Pinterest boards on their phones or tablets by scanning product QR codes and adding them to the boards.

4. Incorporate social sharing functions in your product pages to encourage customers to share products with friends on social networks.

For example, Free People has implemented a unique version of this strategy—it has begun uploading Instagram photos from fans and customers on its product pages. What an incentive for customers to post Free People product photos! Free People also allows customers to create wardrobe wish lists directly on their site, which they can share on Facebook with friends.

5. Incorporate these social sharing functions into your mobile app.

Social sharing happens anywhere there is opportunity and inspiration, so social sharing capabilities in mobile apps is a must. Nordstrom has incorporated social sharing buttons into its mobile product pages so customers can interact with Nordstrom and fellow shoppers and friends on a more personal level. Nordstrom commented in a recent article, “We know our customers love shopping with their iPad and we hope this is a first step toward creating a more convenient and compelling way to interact with Nordstrom on this device.”

6. Encourage social participation in the store.

The physical store is no longer strictly physical. Customers can use mobile devices to scan product barcodes or QR codes, they can share store photos on Instagram, check in on Fourquare or Yelp, and many other virtual activities. If you’re a brand who has it, flaunt it. If you are active in all of the above areas (or plan to be), tell your customers! Sephora does this well. The beauty products retailer has an incredible “nail bar” where polish is on display, as well as tutorials and photo examples of trendy manicures. All around the nail bar are signs that encourage shoppers to share their latest manicure/pedicure creation on Sephora’s “Nailspotting” Pinterest board. Shoppers can take pictures of their nails, send to Sephora and the retailer will post your creation for all to see.

Caitlin New is a Senior Account Manger at Ketner Group, a PR and marketing communications agency headquartered in Austin, TX.

Thanks to the mobileretailblog

What’s happening in retail & with brands – trends for week ending 5th October 2012

Company Results

Abel & Cole have reported a 32% increase in sales to £46.5m for the year to August 2012. EBITDA increased to £4.6m from £2.9m for the same period. (Source: Retail Week) – Arnold Clarke have reported a 1% decrease in sales to £2.25bn for the year 2011. Pre-tax profit increased to £51.7m from £50.5m for the same period. (Source: BBC) – Bargain Booze have reported a 3.9% increase in sales to £395.3m for the year to 30 April 2012. Pre-tax profit decreased by 7.7% to £11.5m for the same period. (Source: The Grocer) – Dunelm have reported a 13.8% increase in total sales to £151.8m for the 13 weeks to 29 September 2012. Like-for-like sales increased by 3% for the same period. – Findel have reported a 7.9% increase in Group sales for the 26 weeks to 28 September 2012. – Halfords have reported a 6.2% increase in Group sales for the 26 weeks to 28 September 2012. Retail sales and like-for-like sales increased by 4.3% and 4.6% respectively for the same period.

John Lewis have reported a 26.5% increase in sales (including VAT) for the week to 29 September 2012. Fashion, Electricals & Home Technology and Home sales increased by 36%, 31.8% and 13% respectively. Sales at johnlewis.com increased by 48.4%. – New Look have reported a 30% increase in like-for-like EBITDA to £61.1m for the year to August 2012. (Source: The Telegraph) – Sainsbury’s have reported a 4.3% increase in total sales for the 16 weeks to 29 September 2012. Like-for-like sales increased by 1.9% for the same period. – Ted Baker have reported a 15.4% increase in Group sales to £118.6m for the 28 weeks to 11 August 2012. UK and European retail sales increased by 7.9% to £74.7m, ecommerce sales by 82.4% to £6.2m and profit before tax and exceptional costs increased by 10.4% to £9.4m for the same period. – Tesco have reported a 1.4% increase in Group sales (including VAT) to £36bn for the 26 weeks to 25 August 2012. Group pre-tax profit decreased by 11.6% to £1.7bn while UK sales increased by 2.2% to £23.9bn for the same period. – Waitrose have reported a 6.9% increase in sales (including petrol) for the week to 29 September 2012.

Higher sales were reported in many non-fashion categories helped by the weak comparisons. Gifting and leisure were the best performing categories, while beauty and luxury also performed strongly.

Fashion had its best week this year with elevated growth reported by the vast majority of stores. Weak comparisons aside, seasonal ranges continued to sell well with formalwear and footwear the best performing categories.

Homewares registered a marginal fall in trade undoing last week’s gains. Mixed trading patterns occurred with textiles and lighting outperforming, while furniture and accessories struggled.

The recent good run across non-store channels continued with the vast majority of stores recording double-digit growth.


Clothing, Footwear & Accessories

Asos have appointed Brian McBride as their new Chairman, replacing Lord Waheed Alli at the beginning of November 2012. (Source: The Telegraph) – Jacques Vert have appointed Sarah Morris as their Group Trading Director, effective 08 October 2012. (Source: Drapers Online) – Celebrities and fashionistas are getting all strung up this season with the latest pair of killer heels from renowned footwear designer Jimmy Choo. As part of the Cruise 13 collection, Jimmy Choo introduces the Taste sandal worn by Azealia Banks, Elizabeth Banks, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kristin Stewart.

Joe Brown have appointed Michael Bates as their new Managing Director and have appointed former Managing Director, Simon Brown, as their Brand Director. (Source: Retail Week) – Matalan have announced that they are to create 5,000 temporary jobs across their stores in the run up to Christmas. (Source: Retail Gazette) – It is reported that Mint Velvet have opened their 12th standalone store in Reigate, Surrey. (Source: Retail Bulletin) – Clothes Show Live has teamed up with legendary brand UCLA to sponsor ‘The Varsity Project: Emerging Designer Award in association with Clothes Show Live‘. The award is aimed specifically at emerging student designers to give the iconic American style varsity jacket their own unique stamp.

Ted Baker have opened their first store in Beijing, China. (Source: Express)

Electrical & Entertainment

Amazon have announced that they are to recruit 10,000 temporary staff over the Christmas period to support high demand at their fulfilment centres in the UK. (Source: The Telegraph) – Dixons Retail Plc have appointed Jaan Ivar Semlitsh as their new Managing Director for Northern Europe.

Food & Drink

Aldi have announced plans to invest £181m to open 40 new stores and create 4,500 jobs in the UK by the end of 2013. (Source: Financial Times) – It is reported that Morrisons have appointed Gordon Mowat to the newly created role of Managing Director at their M Local business. (Source: Retail Week) – Sainsbury’s have announced that they are to relax their rules on the cosmetic appearance on fresh produce following one of the worst growing seasons British farmers have experienced for decades. (Source: Retail Week)


Argos have launched a new gifting service for businesses, allowing them to select from 15,000 products to give to their employees and customers for instant redemption. (Source: Retail Bulletin) – Jeff Fagan has joined Go Outdoors as their new Retail Director, effective 01 October 2012. (Source: Retail Week) – Harvey Nichols have announced that they are to open their first Christmas pop-up store in Westfield Merry Hill, West Midlands, effective 06 October 2012. (Source: Retail Bulletin)

– It is reported that Mothercare have appointed Philippe Dayraud as their Global Product & Sourcing Director. (Source: Retail Week) – Optical Express have announced that they are to close 40 stores of their subsidiary business while buying-back the remaining 40 as part of the administration process. (Source: Retail Week) – It is reported that Poundland have opened their new 200,000 square foot distribution centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, creating 250 new jobs. (Source: The Grocer) – Sports Direct have acquired 20 stores of JJB Sports from administrator KPMG for £23.7m, saving 550 jobs. (Source: Reuters) – Wiggle have appointed Peter Williams, Dilys Maltby and John Crosby to their newly created advisory board. (Source: Retail Week)

Courtesy of ‘The Thinker

Will Big Data Kill All But the Biggest Retailers?

Increasingly, the largest retailers in markets across the country are employing sophisticated personalized marketing and thereby becoming the primary shopping destination for a growing number of consumers. Meanwhile, other retailers in those markets, once vigorous competitors for those loyalties, are being relegated to the role of convenience stores.

In this war for customers, the ammunition is data — and lots of it. It began with transaction data and shopper data, which remain central. Now, however, they are being augmented by demographic data, in-store video monitoring, mobile-based location data from inside and outside the store, real-time social media feeds, third-party data appends, weather, and more. Retail has entered the era of Big Data.

Virtually every retailer recognizes the advantages that come with better customer intelligence. A McKinsey study released in May 2011 stated that, by using Big Data to the fullest, retailers stood to increase their operating margins by up to 60% — this, in an industry where net profit margins are often less than 2%. The biggest retailers are investing accordingly. dunnhumby, the analytics consultancy partnered with Kroger in the US market, employs upwards of 120 data analysts focused on Kroger alone.

Not every retailer, however, has the resources to keep up with sophisticated use of data. As large retailers convert secondary, lower-value shoppers into loyal, high-value shoppers, the growth in revenue is coming at the expense of competing retailers — all too often, independent and mid-market retailers. This part of the retail sector, representing an estimated third of total supermarkets, has long provided rich diversity in communities across the United States. But it is fast becoming cannon fodder.

Within the industry, the term used for this new form of advantage is shopper marketing, loosely defined as using strategic insights into shopper behavior to influence individual customers on their paths to purchase — and it is an advantage being bankrolled by consumer goods manufacturers’ marketing funds. A recently released study [pdf] by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) estimates annual industry spending on shopper marketing at over $50 billion, and growing.

The growth in shopper marketing budgets comes as manufacturers are reducing the spending on traditional trade promotion that has historically powered independent retail marketing. Past retail battles were fought with mass promotions that caused widespread collateral damage, often at expense to the retailer’s own margins. Today’s data sophistication enables surgical strikes aimed at specific shoppers and specific product purchases. A customer-intelligent retailer can mine its data searching for shoppers who have purchasing “gaps of opportunity,” such as the regular shopper who is not purchasing paper products, and targeting such customers with specific promotions to encourage them to add those items to their baskets next time they’re in the store.

A 2012 study by Kantar Retail shows manufacturer spending on trade promotion, measured as a percentage of gross sales, at the lowest level since 1999. But even this does not tell the whole story; it is the changing mix of manufacturer marketing expenditures that shows what is occurring. Trade promotion accounted for 44% of total marketing expenditures by manufacturers in 2011, lower than any other year in the past decade. This decrease is driven by a corresponding increase in shopper marketing expenditures.

As shopper marketing budgets have exploded, the perception has taken hold within the industry that a disproportionately large share of that funding is directed to the very largest retailers. That’s not surprising when you consider what Matthew Boyle of CNN Money reported recently. He noted that the partnership of Kroger and and dunnhumby “is generating millions in revenue by selling Kroger’s shopper data to consumer goods giants … 60 clients in all, 40% of which are Fortune 500 firms.” It is widely understood that Kroger is realizing over $100 million annually in incremental revenue from these efforts.

The Kantar Retail report goes on to say:

Manufacturers anticipate that changes in the next three years will revolve around continued trade integration with Shopper Marketing to maximize value in the face of continued margin demands. Manufacturers, in particular, expect to allocate trade funds more strategically in the future, as they shift to a “pay for performance” approach and more closely measure program and retailer performance.


The same report calls out that the future success model will involve deeper and more extensive collaboration between the retailer and brand, with focus on clear objectives and performance accountability. What needs to be recognized is that this manufacturer business model skews heavily to the capabilities of the largest retailers. It’s simply much easier for the brands to execute by deploying entire teams of people against a Safeway or Target or Walmart. It is much harder to interact with hundreds or thousands of independent retailers. Manufacturers’ past model of reaching independent retailers via wholesalers, who aggregated smaller merchants for marketing purposes, worked well in an age of mass promotion but not in an age of shopper-specific marketing. Wholesalers do not have shopper data, and do not have sophisticated technologies or expertise in mining the data. Meanwhile, they have a challenging record of promotion compliance, and in many cases lack the requisite scale for deep collaboration with brands.

Personalized marketing is proving to be a powerful tool, driving increased basket size, increased shopping visits, and increased retention over time. And if you’re one of the largest retailers, you get all these benefits paid for by CPG shopper marketing funds. But for everyone but those very large retailers, the present state of affairs is unsatisfactory. Independent retailers are keenly aware of the competitive threat and desperately want to engage, but they have not had the tools or scale to do so. The brand manufacturers are frustrated by increasing dependence on the very largest retailers even as they cave in to their inability to effectively and efficiently collaborate with a significant portion of the retail industry.

It would seem that the brand manufacturers’ traditional business model for marketing interaction with the independent retail sector is ripe for disruption. Growing consumer expectation for relevant marketing, the potential for gain if customer intelligence could be brought to the independent sector, and desire to mitigate the growing power of the largest retailers all provide powerful incentive to brand manufacturers. Independent retailers are savvy operators and are eager to join the fray if given the opportunity. Conversely, maintaining the status quo means the largest retailers continue to leverage personalized marketing to outpace smaller retailers, threatening the very diversity of the retail industry.