+44 (0)115 904 2777
+44 (0)115 904 2777
pokemon go
  • 25 Jul

Why Pokémon Go is more than just a game

If you’ve noticed rare groupings of millennials roaming the outside world in the last week or so, excitably shouting “Charizard!” seemingly at thin air, the likelihood is you’ve witnessed the latest gaming phenomenon to hit the UK: Pokémon Go. Since Pokémon Go launched, a couple of weeks ago in the US and a week ago in the UK, it already has circa 21 million daily active users in the States, knocking the popularity crown from Candy Crush, previously the most widely played game to date. Pokémon Go is free to play and accessible for anyone with a camera enabled smart phone: a demographic totalling approximately 5 billion people worldwide. Usage data released by SensorTower has revealed that the average iPhone user already spends 33 minutes and 25 seconds a day on Pokémon Go, which is greater than Facebook (22 minutes), Snapchat (18 minutes), Twitter (17 minutes and 56 seconds) and Instagram (15 minutes).What’s clear, is that Pokémon Go has made AR technology a part of an everyday experience: including smart phone use, Google Maps, and gaming. It has smashed AR critics, who thought the technology could only come to mass adoption stage unless VR headsets or Google Glass took off (the former – too expensive; the latter – now discontinued). The key with Pokémon Go and AR is its accessibility. So how does it all work? Pokémon Go integrates the real world (reflected by Google Maps) within the virtual Poke-universe, projecting it through your smartphone. Users explore the world around them with AR (augmented reality) presenting the opportunity to “catch”, “train” and “trade” Pokémon monsters. Pokestops, which provide critical in-game resources, are positioned in the real world at notable landmarks, as well as within businesses such as pubs and restaurants. And what’s this got to go with retail? The following quote is one that should make retail and hospitality businesses sit up and take notice. Pokémon Go is quite a big deal: “In the history of the internet and consumer tech, nothing has had an adoption of more than 100 million global users in six days. The last record was Candy Crush – that took one year and three months to reach the same level.” – Ambarish Mitra, CEO, Blippar. Smarter businesses have already caught onto the in-game ‘Lure’ item – which attracts Pokémon to a specific location for 30 minutes for all users of the game, costing £1.58/hour – using it to tempt potential customers through their doors. The launch of Pokémon Go in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon, saw the first and biggest “tie up” deal yet: full sponsorship by McDonalds, in its 3000 restaurants throughout the country. If its aim is to lure more customers to eat, it looks like it’s working…Using AR to lure potential customers in hospitality is also evidenced by the effect of Pokestops within Costa Coffees. Costa reported a 30% increase in footfall across its Pokémon seeking stores, resulting in a 10% sales uplift on the day of launch. As in…
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retail it services
  • 19 Jul

The future of retail as seen in Porto: II

Last week, our Chairman Alan Morris visited our partners Inovretail in Porto to share our ideas and discuss innovation in retail, and talk about latest retail technology news. Firstly, congratulations are in order to Inovretail, who have been invested in by Sonae IM! It’s great to see such an innovative business being invested in by Sonae, who have a mission to support and build world-class tech companies. We’re proud to have partnered with Inovretail last year to launch our Analytics module, which you can read about here. So, what’s new in retail technology? Customer Experience LabInovretail’s Customer Experience Lab was a big takeaway from the trip, which forms a critical part of any retailer’s in-store analytics. In establishing a baseline of store performance, proactive data analysis forms clear methods for increasing the store’s efficiency, and developing more opportunities to sell more stock, increasing profits. In recent years, with digital presence dominating the agenda, retailers’ website analytics have been prioritised. Web visits, heat mapping, basket analysis, and of course the crucial conversion rate – the number of visitors that make a sale – this wealth of information has informed digital team’s approaches to online retailing. But what about the store? Is your in-store environment analysed in the same way in which your website might be? In most cases the answer is no, and as such, your conversion rate will be jeopardised by a huge margin. There’s much to learn from in-store behaviour. UK retail footfall fell by 2.8% year-on-year in June 2016, marking the sharpest decline since February 2014, and the poorest monthly result for more than two years. Although this is due to post-Brexit fallout and low consumer confidence, retailers need to do all they can in stores to increase their conversion rate. The store is an asset, and must be maximised. So, how can you offset the effects of falling footfall within the store? The key is understanding how it works in order to sell more: increase basket value, and increase conversion rate. For example, customers who use a fitting room are 71% more likely to buy, according to Inovretail’s data research. Their technology, See Wall, is an innovative fitting room software that revolutionises the in-store experience. Removing the customer need to call a sales assistant, awkward and half-dressed, for another size, they simply touch a tablet inside their booth which sends an automatic message to sales assistants on the shop floor via wearable tech. Given that trying something on increases likelihood of conversion, this is a crucial aspect of store shopping that Inovretail is making more effective. In addition, through the use of technology, the fitting room can be transformed from a private space into an interactive arena to upsell to the customer. If the dress fits, why not project a shoppable selection of matching shoes, or accessories, available with just a touch? Fitting rooms apps should be used as a selling aid, as well as a customer experience enabler. As well as identifying opportunities to improve…
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Creative Class 2016
  • 11 Jul

Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016: The Event

Last week Retail Assist was named one of Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016! This means we have been recognised as one of ten Nottinghamshire companies highlighted for their growth, innovation and creativity.Nottingham Means Business hosted an unveiling event for the 10 winning businesses, on the evening of Thursday 7th July at the Nottingham Contemporary, and we wanted to give you an insight into the evening. After some initial official photography, the evening began with drinks and canapes.  Following this our Head of Project Services, Kevin Greathead, graced the stage for a question and answer session, where he told fellow Creative Class and Nottingham Means Business members about Retail Assist’s journey as a business. Here’s some of his answers and discussion that took place on the stage:What do Retail Assist do? “We’re all about supporting retailers/hospitality operators and managing IT services for them, allowing them to be innovative and push through with their business and customer growth plans. We originally started with a small office in Bingham, and now have 6 different sites over the UK.” “We play the part of the glue between the retailer/hospitality operator and technology. Retail Assist was created in 1999 because we recognised a niche in the market, where retailers needed someone to help implement their IT systems quickly and cost effectively.” Innovation “Retail and hospitality are fast paced industries. As the market moves faster, we want to help develop systems to keep this pace, and innovation is really key to us. For example, we work with a company called Shutl, who offer 90 minute delivery for online retailing. As retailing never stops, we are supporting retailers 24x7x365.” Internationalisation “We support 8,100 outlets across the globe and 1/3 of our Help Desk team speak foreign languages. We’re talking to people in their languages as we know it is key to give them the right support when they need it. Karen Millen use our Help Desk’s specialist French language support, and experienced a 55% reduction in average call resolution time as a result.” Experience “We are a real advocate of trying to work with retailers in the city. For example, we’ll have people from our Help Desk go to Pizza Hut restaurants to work with the store teams, to see how they do things. It helps educate our team to give them front line experience, whilst creating great relationships with our customers.” Following Kevin’s session on stage we heard from the other 9 members of the Creative Class, and it was inspiring to hear such positive stories of growth and innovation coming from the city. Thank you to Nottingham Means Business and the Creative Quarter for this fantastic recognition. We look forward to the year ahead as part of Nottingham’s Creative Class. Should you want to hear more of our story and how we are providing support to leading retail and hospitality businesses just get in touch on 0115 904 2777 or info@retail-assist.co.uk. The Usual Suspects… L-R Alex Broxson – Head of Marketing, Kevin Greathead –…
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retail IT solutions
  • 4 Jul

RA Summer Event 2016

Last week, we celebrated our Annual Summer Event with our customers; retailers and hospitality brands that we’re proud to support with our IT services and solutions. Many thanks to those who joined us for drinks and bowling at All Star Lanes on Brick Lane! We had a great evening, and hope that you did too. Of course, a Retail Assist event wouldn’t be complete without some fun, so our bowling competition provided great entertainment, plus some top-class cocktails thanks to our dedicated mixologist! We’re pleased to announce that Pizza Hut were the overall winners of the bowling event. Congratulations! To see the whole album, head over to our Facebook page.We love hosting our annual Summer Drinks, and we’re already excited for our next client events! We have long-standing relationships with our customers, spanning up to 15 years. At Retail Assist, our customers are at the heart of what we do. The difference that we offer as a business, is that we can provide you with the whole retail and hospitality IT package. Not only can we manage the full implementation process of retail IT solutions, but we will also support your business with our Managed Services. All of this, 24×7×365, across the globe with multilingual support.…
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Retail Concession Expansion
  • 27 Jun

Global growth & retail concession expansion with Ra-X

When you operate retail stores overseas, be it solus, concession or franchise, translating your sales data to your central base is a critical process. Many retailers suffer the consequences of manual processing, and the inability to have a 100% accurate, complete view of all sales. In today’s global 24 x 7 trading environment, making key business decisions based on less than 100% of your real-time sales data is inexcusable. Ra-X, our data exchange solution, is allowing retailers to break new markets overseas with low risk, and develop concession and franchise presence, thanks to its reliability, dependability, and resilience. Here’s how our solution enabled Cath Kidston to expand their international presence, launching new stores in Asia last year.View the video on your YouTube channel here. Currently, Ra-X supports over 3,300 stores in 66 countries, and trades with more than 70 different partners. Internationally they include Alshaya, El Cortes Ingles, Bloomingdales, Karstadt, Galleries Lafayette and more. In the UK, our Ra-X customers trade within John Lewis, House of Fraser, Harrods, Selfridges, Debenhams and more. If you’re considering global growth, engaging more franchise/concession partners, retail concession expansion, opening new stores, or maximising the efficiency of your current global operations, Ra-X is for you. Our customers using Ra-X include White Stuff, Oasis, Karen Millen, Debenhams, Warehouse, Reiss, Paperchase, Mint Velvet, Jacques Vert, Coast and more. Here’s some of the key benefits they state of using Ra-X to trade efficiently:Working with international trading partners and developing better relationships: Ra-X gives you a competitive advantage due to the ease with which it operates. Removes barriers to entry: outside of the UK, retail sales are highest in China, expecting to lead sales into 2018. Are you trading in these areas? If not, Ra-X allows you make profitable decisions when it’s critical. Global growth without the associated price tag: our SaaS model – fixed cost, no capital outlay, no increase in IT headcount and no hardware/software costs – makes Ra-X the most cost-effective way to quickly gain trading information to make globally minded business decisions.Don’t wait to implement your global growth plans, drive retail concession expansion, and improve the performance of your current international trading strategy. If you require further information about how Ra-X can help, email info@retail-assist.co.uk or call +44 (0)115 904 2777.…
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Karen Millen Merret
  • 20 Jun

What does omnichannel mean to you?

Retail Assist is continually approached to support retail brands’ omnichannel aspirations and operations, but what is omnichannel? Omnichannel is a real-time, channel-agnostic visibility of inventory across the supply chain using a central stock pool, complemented by a single view of the consumer as they simultaneously shop across various channels, with the ability to fulfil demand anytime, anywhere. As supply chain software specialists, we understand that the term “omnichannel” means many different things to retailers, and so tailor our solution, Merret, accordingly. We have 21 “omniscenarios” that we can currently offer as standard. Whilst one brand may see omnichannel trading as the ability to perform operations such as ship-from-store to maximise the financial potential of stock inventory, another may view omni-ability differently in terms of what they can offer the customer: online orders returned in-store, for example. This is why we scope out our customers’ exact business requirements when they need support to implement omni. Retail Assist’s end-to-end supply chain solution, Merret, has been developed to deliver the following omnijourneys, to fit our customers’ business needs:As you can see, there are two main ordering options (online – encompassing mobile, tablet, desktop ordering; and in-store), two fulfilment options (from the warehouse; or from stores), and two delivery options (direct to the customer – home delivery; or to a collection point – for example a store). Having the ability to fulfil orders regardless of channel, due to a single view of stock, is one of the biggest benefits of Merret cited by our customers. Latest statistics from our Merret customer, Oasis, reveal that since fulfilling orders through Ship-from-Store, 20-30% incremental web sales have been achieved. Making in-store inventory available to online customers is critical to support increased demand with more opportunities to sell stock at full price – Merret’s central stock pool facilitates this, as in quadrant 1 and 2. Click and Collect also presents great opportunities to drive sales, as New Look reports: a quarter of its Click and Collect customers make additional purchases when collecting in-store. During seasonal periods, these average an extra £27 per transaction. Merret drives all of the processes you can see in the infographic, which when written out take the product through the following “omnijourneys” from point of order/sale to point of delivery:Order on Web, Fulfilled from DC, Delivered to Home Address Order on Web, Fulfilled from Single Store, Delivered to Home Address (Ship from Store) Order on Web, Fulfilled from Multi Stores, Delivered to Home Address (Ship from Store) Order on Web, Fulfilled from DC for Customer Collection (Click and Collect) Order on Web, Fulfilled from Collection Store for Customer Collection (Click and Collect) Order on Web, Fulfilled from other Stores for Customer Collection (Ship from Store & Click and Collect) Ordered in Store, Fulfilled from DC, Delivered to Home Address Ordered in Store, Fulfilled from Store, Delivered to Home Address Ordered in Store, Fulfilled from other Stores, Delivered to Home Address (Ship from Store) Ordered in Store, Fulfilled in Store…
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international help desk support
  • 13 Jun

SITS 16 takeaways: Service Desk and IT Support Show

Last week we attended SITS 16, the Service Desk and IT Support Show for industry professionals, at Kensington Olympia. It was a great opportunity to meet up with familiar faces, chat to partners and network with new ones.With nearly half of IT Professionals looking to upgrade their current Service Desk solution in the next 24 months, today’s blog brings you the latest industry insights from the show. As this year’s winners of Best Managed Service Desk at the Service Desk Institute’s annual IT Service & Support Awards, it was great to catch up with their Directors and Research team at the Service Desk Institute‘s stand. We enjoyed speaking about the latest developments in our Help Desk team and to our technology – especially App Academy. App Academy is an online e-learning platform used by our customers to learn best practice by way of our applications to increase operational efficiency. As noted in the SDI’s latest benchmarking report, self-service usage has increased to 81%, and so is a valuable tool for our Help Desk customers to increase their knowledge and self-deliver simple fixes. As a forward thinking business, invested in the quality of our service delivery, we would highly recommend entering the SDI Awards. The awards process really helped us to identify our key areas for development, part of our continuous improvement process that is embedded in our team’s DNA. As well as complementing our improvement, the Awards have played a key part in our Help Desk culture, providing the team with a huge boost. The Award is a well-deserved recognition for their work in supporting the leading UK retail and hospitality businesses worldwide. Here are some of our key takeaways from the Expo:Customer SatisfactionDid you know that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without ever interacting with a human? This notable statistic is research from Gartner, shared by Hannah Price from TOPdesk UK in her seminar on customer satisfaction metrics. With interaction on the decline, it’s more important than ever to engage your customer in the most relevant way possible, and customer feedback is one of the most important assets any business can tap into. That’s why we’re committed to sharing the results of our Help Desk customers’ feedback, in order to show where we’re improving based on their experiences. In summer, we’re holding a Help Desk Advisory Board with one of our most high profile hospitality customers, a leading UK coffee chain, in order to truly understand how they use the service, and how we can develop together to support their business objectives. Top 3 takeaways for a successful customer satisfaction survey? 1) Time it right – avoid busy periods, as these solicit a poor response rate 2) Talk the same language – avoid jargon and make questions easy to answer 3) Spread the good news – communicate the survey results to encourage a proactive culture and inspire confidence in the serviceInnovation, innovation, innovationThe message from many industry experts and service…
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Gen Z
  • 6 Jun

Gen Z vs Gen X vs Gen Y: Shopping Habits Survey

For the purpose of this blog and infographic, Gen Z refers to those aged 14-21, Gen Y 22-35 and Gen X 36-55.  Generation Z. Born post-1995, in the age group 14-21, they’ve proved a difficult bunch to define; previously upcoming ‘influencers’ within the retail and hospitality market but now with new-found buying power and a disruptive influence that makes them the most lucrative market to target. They’re switched on, price conscious, and hyper connected to their surroundings – including social media and technology. They want it now, they won’t wait, and have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips ready to influence their buying decisions. After researching Gen Y and Gen X shopping habits last year, Retail Assist’s latest survey has revealed some critical information regarding Gen Z shopping habits, and debunked some common myths that might surprise you… Here are our top 5 takeaways from the survey:The high street is not dead for Gen Z, with 58% of respondents choosing this as their favourite method of shopping. Click and collect is not popular with Gen Z: 61% have never used it. Nearly three quarters of Gen Z don’t have their favourite retailer’s app installed on their smartphone. 73% of Gen Z would made a purchase due to a social media recommendation. When shopping, 84% of Gen Z make it a social activity, i.e. a part of their day out, lunch/coffee/cinema.Please feel free to share the following full infographic of our findings.Analysis So, of the Gen Z-ers surveyed, what surprised us here? High St reigns supreme. Thought Gen Z was all about the online experience, clicks over bricks, and ecomm dominance? Think again. 58% of those we surveyed prefer to shop on the High Street, the highest percentage of any generation, compared to 40% of Gen Y and 48% of Gen X. Analysing the practical reasons behind this: not many 16y/os have online spending power – unable to transact online without a debit card, most shop with cash. With a lack of patience and a desire to acquire fast fashion “now”, the high street is also the best place to do so with no waiting for deliveries and the ability to take the product literally straight off the shelf. ‘Appy shoppers? Not for Gen Z. Although Gen Z admit being glued to their smartphones, 74% of them do not have their favourite retailer’s app installed. There are subtleties to be considered with Gen Z: just because they browse for products on their smartphones and devices, this doesn’t mean they desire an app to complete a purchase. The reason? Many of this age range don’t have big enough data contracts on their phones to support multiple app downloads. Instead, they prefer to use their devices to browse social media in order to discover more about product ranges.   What was concretized? Social media addiction. Gen Z idols are YouTube stars, vloggers, and Insta-famous fashionistas. They live in constant “FOMO”, fear of missing out, especially when something new is…
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Project Management Services
  • 31 May

Project Management Services: How can we help you?

Our Project Management Services are a valued part of Retail Assist’s business model. This blog is dedicated to explaining real life scenarios in which we could help support the success of your business change projects, whilst taking the pressure off your internal teams to deliver. 1 – Growing your store estate in the UK or internationally? As with last week’s blog post on “Going Global”, more brands are approaching us with international requirements to trade overseas, including opening stores outside of the UK. As part of our Project Management Services, our dedicated Store Systems and Store Development specialists and Project Managers can deliver store openings, store closures and store refit programmes. All opening activities are scoped, coordinated and carried out, from hardware and software roll-outs, to providing communications infrastructure in-store through our trusted partners.Our team have spent many years working in retail and hospitality operations and in-store IT, which means they have the experience necessary to ensure stores open on time and on budget. Comprehensive project planning ensures minimal disruption by working around key trading periods, to ensure no downtime and no lost sales. We provide managed support of retail & hospitality technology infrastructure for new systems roll-out, with installation of retail systems by industry experts for the smoothest transition.Over the last year alone, we have managed store opening and relocations for major brands such as Oasis, Warehouse, Karen Millen, and Mint Velvet across the UK and in international locations as diverse as France, Sweden, Denmark and the USA! Oasis’ new flagship on Tottenham Court Road (worked on by our Store Development team) has been very well received by consumers, press and the industry alike.2 – Planning to invest in new systems, but don’t know where to start? New POS? New tablets? New supply chain? Bringing in an expert is often the most efficient way to make well-reasoned business critical decisions, and our independent consultancy services are designed with this in mind. Our expert project specialists craft bespoke RFIs around your business requirements, carrying out a detailed analysis of the systems marketplace to deliver you the best results. Leaving you to focus on your daily retail business practices, Retail Assist will carry out:Creation and management of a requirements document sent out to potential suppliers. Evaluation of supplier responses; cost comparison, and management of supplier demonstrations. Presentation of shortlisted results and recommendations.With 17 years’ experience of evaluating, implementing and supporting a wide range of EPOS solutions, Retail Assist was recently selected to independently manage the selection process for a leading British lifestyle retailer’s new EPOS requirement. Commenting on the project, the IT Director said: “Throughout my career in retail, I have worked with Retail Assist on many key change management programmes of this nature. We needed a partner to independently manage the selection of a new EPOS solution; a trusted partner who could understand our business requirements and translate them into a thorough RFP process that would ensure we found the right solution based upon the…
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international retail
  • 24 May

How to overcome the challenges of international retailing?

In an omnichannel retail world, brands are experiencing a demand to break local borders, interacting with and selling to customers around the world, anytime, anywhere. When you open stores overseas, be it solus, a concession or franchise operation, you might face challenges translating sales data back to your central database in real time, and in a 100% accurate manner. We can help you to break new markets with low risk, at low cost: Ra-X, Retail Assist Exchange, is our global data exchange solution developed for international retailing. Ra-X is a 24×7 monitored solution, ensuring that your sales data comprises the entirety of your estate.Case Study A few years ago our customer, Cath Kidston, wanted to open shop in Asia, still one of their biggest markets. If Cath Kidston makes a sale in one of their Japanese concession stores, Ra-X translates the sale, product and price data, and exchanges the information automatically, back into the standard format. This all happens in the cloud, meaning there’s no costly hardware required to set Ra-X up, and no need for maintenance of in-house systems. The sales information from Cath Kidston’s partners is then fed back in a standardised format, meaning data for global sales is 100% accurate – a critical requirement for profitable global retailing. Ra-X is allowing retailers to break new markets overseas, and develop concession and franchise presence, thanks to its reliability, dependability, and resilience. Want to know more about our solutions? Check out the following webpage: http://www.retail-assist.co.uk/our-solutions/ , or email your query to info@retail-assist.co.uk    What else to consider when expanding internationally? Retailers need to understand how much consumers are willing to pay for each product, in order to stay competitive in local markets. Our zonal pricing model removes manual processes, effortlessly dealing with different currencies. Multi price zones are auto maintained and synced using a zonal conversion factor. Understanding where consumers are buying and how much they are willing to spend is equally important. For instance, online retail sales are highest in the UK, China, Finland, Norway, South Korea, and Denmark; and are estimated to lead sales into 2018. [Source: eMarketer] International partners should also be a consideration when thinking about concession and franchise expansion. We work with over 60 partners, including Alshaya, El Cortes Ingles, Karstadt, Bloomingdales and more.   Check out our weekly blogs for more retail, hospitality and technology insights. Or contact us here if you’d like to speak about any of the solutions we provide above.…
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