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retail technology blog
  • 12 Jun

How to target Gen Z?

Who are Gen Z? The demographic after Millennials, Gen Z are born between the mid-1990s to early 2000s, meaning that the current cohort range from teens to young adults in their early twenties.There have been a number of labels attached: digital natives, glued to their devices, social over physical, and lacking in brand loyalty… It’s easy to paint a somewhat undesirable picture of the newest generation to come into spending power, but don’t underestimate their influence. The youth of today definitely flexed their political muscle in the recent General Election, in what the Guardian has dubbed a “youthquake” of increased turnout. They have a strong voice, and want to use it. And their worth? A cool £16.5bn, as reported by Mintel last year. By 2020, Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers. (And you thought you’d only just figured out Millennials). So, how to tap into this market and capture their attention? Getting the message across The average Gen Z-er has the attention span of about eight seconds. They have grown up at a time when they’re presented with media and messaging from all angles, and have therefore adapted to quickly scanning and devouring large amounts of information. This means that video messaging is more and more convenient to serve their needs. Nearly all of Gen Z use YouTube, and half of them can’t live without it. In a time when email subscription is being challenged by new data laws, and unsubscribing has reached a record level, brands are consistently fighting for success in this channels. Most (90%) consumers have taken themselves off retailer mailing lists in the last year, and 24% of those surveyed said they had unsubscribed from a retailer because the messages they received were irrelevant – and 15% said retailers never sent them relevant offers or updates. Gen Z is also pushing transparency and honesty over the perfectly preened post. 77% of teens today prefer ads that show real people in real life situations, and expect brands to depict people like them — who look like them and share their beliefs — in their creative messaging.The battle for newness This point relates to your product as much as the content and communications. If you’re checking your phone relentlessly throughout the day, you’re expecting to see something different. That’s why Gen Z demand more new content than any other demographic. ASOS, for example, is one of our customers that is continually refreshing their “New In” pages, with hundreds of new styles added every single week. As well as product and content newness, new technology is also on the agenda. More than half of Generation Z are either already using or interested in voice ordering; more than two-thirds are interested in social media purchasing; and 75% would sign up to subscription fashion services. To sum up, the title of this blog is the key: ensure that the targeting is correct, and the rest should follow. Thinking of targeting Gen Z, but want to ensure…
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retail IT solutions
  • 20 Feb

What’s the benefit of upselling?

Upselling in retail is not a new thing: it’s been around for years as an in-store technique employed by sales assistants to boost sales and increase basket value. As footfall continues to represent a challenge for retailers, they must increase average basket size (upselling) and conversion rate, otherwise shops become an unviable asset. However, with the advent of omnichannel retailing came new ways to upsell – that perhaps aren’t as direct as face to face selling – but are now a standard part of any purchase, whether in store or online. We spoke about this on BBC Radio Nottingham last Friday, in a short interview that you can listen again to here. Interview starts at 2:54:40.Click and collectThe benefits to retailers of click and collect are not only improving footfall to stores, but the ability to make even more sales when the customer comes to collect their parcel. Thanks to technological advances in customer profiling, the store assistant could pre-identify the product purchased by the customer, and upsell by recommending complementary items. For example, if they know that the customer has bought a dress, why not recommend matching shoes upon collection, or accessories to “complete the look”? New Look reported that over the festive period, 25% of its click and collect customers made extra purchases in store, increasing the basket value by an average of £27. (There’s a reason most click and collect desks are the back of a store, requiring the customer to walk past all items in the store first before picking up their parcel…) The retailer benefits through increased basket value, and the customer receives a personalised experience that’s likely to impress them. Check out other click and collect benefits in our infographic.Online deliveryUpselling online is a standard function, unlike in a store where it’s motivated by a sales assistant (who may or may not have the confidence to try). This might come in the form of “complete the look” options and additional suggestions that complement the current basket, like ASOS.Another key example of customers being upsold to online comes in the form of delivery options. For example, if the threshold for free delivery is £30, and the customer’s current basket value stands at £25, they could be persuaded with a pop-up to spend just £5 more in order to receive free delivery. As long as retailers remain transparent about their delivery costs, it’s the consumer choice to buy more in order to benefit from incentives such as free delivery, or even discounts such as 10% off. Conclusion? Customers of today have a strong discount mentality, and therefore retailers must build their profit margin in. Upselling is one of the most popular techniques for retailers to achieve larger baskets and more full-price sales.…
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maximise stock availability
  • 2 May

Roundtable Discussion II: Personalisation and getting the message right

Here’s the second instalment of our Roundtable discussion, featuring our team’s insights and opinions on personalisation in retail. If you want to know exactly what personalisation is, check out our blog post. In the last Roundtable video, we discussed that striking the correct balance with customers in-store can be a tricky task for retailers, given that a face-to-face personalised experience is fairly new to consumers. In this video, we discuss how personalising online still requires sophistication regarding targeted marketing. What are the opportunities afforded by big data? Do attitudes to sharing information differ between generations (Gen X/ Gen Y/ Gen Z)? And what about the different profiles you might use online (work/domestic)? These topics and more are covered in our short discussion.   You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel here.…
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personalisation
  • 11 Apr

Retail Assist Roundtable Discussion: Personalisation

When does “Up Close and Personal” become “Too Close and Freaky” during the retail customer experience? In the first of our Roundtable Discussions, we dig deeper into the personalisation concept, how far consumers are comfortable with sharing their information, and what retailers must be careful to consider. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel here, and look out for our next instalment soon. …
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personalisation
  • 14 Mar

Getting Personalisation Right

This week we wanted to share some interesting content we have seen on Twitter that caught our attention, from some of our favourite retail experts. “When Does Up Close and Personal Become Too Close and Freaky?” is a discussion point we have been interested in recently. Retailers can focus so much on trying to grab your attention and create a personalised customer experience, that they completely miss the point and instead annoy you. Whether it be with targeted ads on your Facebook page, to greeting you by your name in the store. How much personalisation is too much? We have noticed this topic crop up a number of times lately, for example, in a recent Retail Week discussion on store associates:  The Retail Week debates are often hosted by Katie Barker, Creative Lead at Retail Week. In the #storeassociate discussion, we can see the conflicting opinions of the personalised retail experience. Although @ManhAssocUK states an important point that 49% of consumers would interact more with store associates if the experience was personalised, Katie Barker and Georgia Leybourne show their concern of the difficulty of keeping a personalised experience ‘cool’ and not ‘creepy’. Miya Knights, Head of Global Technology Practice at Planet Retail, caught our eye with this Tweet where she seems to have experienced a bombardment of retailer ‘spam’ through email, suggesting that there is such thing as a step too far: too much direct Marketing, too much spam, too much “big data”.  We are eager to see how the concept of personalisation in retail (in-store and online) will evolve through technology such as cognitive computing. Yet we’re staying wary of how retailers could jeopardise the relationship with their customers by trying too hard to engage with them on a personal level. We will be releasing a video roundtable discussion, “When Does Up Close and Personal Become Too Close and Freaky” very soon. Make sure to keep an eye out for it on our Retail Technology Blog. In the meantime, drop your comments in the below box or tweet us, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Featured Tweets:Miya Knights, Head of Global Technology Practice at Planet Retail Katie Barker, Creative Lead at Retail Week @ManhAssocUK Georgia Leybourne, International Marketing Director at Manhattan Associates   …
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retail technology blog
  • 7 Mar

Sound Thinking for Customer Experience

Recently, we have been watching some insightful TED Talks – the international ideas exchange – and thinking about how general methodologies and thinking patterns can be applied to the retail experience. We’ve blogged before about the importance of atmospherics in-store, with some great insights from our business partners Inovretail. You can read it here. The environment of the store has a serious impact on your customers, and when at its optimum, retailers can experience more sales and a better store conversion rate.So, how can I increase dwell time in store, increasing the store’s conversion rate? Listen up, and raise sound in your consciousness. In his first TED Talk, Julian Treasure explained that sound affects people in four ways:Physiological – it affects hormone secretions, heart rate, and our brainwaves. Psychological – it changes our moods and our emotions. Cognitive – it changes how clearly and comfortably we think, and how productive we are when making decisions. Behavioural – it changes where we go and what we do. You move away from unpleasant sound, and gravitate towards pleasant sound.All of these factors are in play in a shopping environment. Most retail sound is inappropriately deployed and for the most part hostile, and these soundscapes can decrease sales by 28%, according to Treasure. Are you encouraging your customers to make comfortable decisions about purchasing products, by creating the best environment to do it in? Dwell time increases when shoppers are calmer, less stressed, not overwhelmed or fatigued: remember, we experience with five senses and all must be considered in the retail customer experience. You can watch the full TED Talk below:…
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retail technology blog
  • 29 Feb

Amazon launches own-label fashion: what’s to fear?

Last week it was announced that Amazon had launched its own-brand fashion labels in the US, marking the retailers’ first march into the fashion marketplace. The brands available on Amazon’s US site feature up to 1800 new products, such as men’s suits and dress shoes, women’s casual and contemporary clothing, accessories, and children’s clothing.The news has provoked some raised eyebrows in the retail community. Will the ecommerce giant threaten the retail brands we know and love? There’s been some commentary that Amazon’s accomplished fulfilment model, slick delivery operations, and high levels of customer satisfaction are a combination that will pose a threat to the fashion marketplace. In addition, the products are retailing at a low cost point; when combined with the “Amazon effect”, it could be a deadly success. Amazon’s consumer electronics portfolio (Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV) really works. So, is diversifying into own-brand fashion any different? Short answer: quite different. There are key variances to mark between US and UK retailing, and perhaps a few downfalls with Amazon Fashion that we have considered.The “brands” that have launched in the US are Franklin & Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James & Erin, Lark & Ro, North Eleven, Scout + Ro and Society New York…Are those brand names at all memorable? To us, they’re a bit of a blur, and frankly (excuse the pun) vanilla. One thing has been proven in fashion retailing that’s very prevalent in the UK consumer mind-set: the brand must have a strong position, an original message, and offer a seamless customer experience across channels. Will this really work on Amazon, when the design of the ecommerce platform is no different from searching for novelty gifts? This leads on to the next flop.Do you want to order clothes on the same site you might order your lawn mower, Go Pro, or dog shampoo?You might buy a coat from Amazon, but would you buy a coat made by Amazon? Consumers enjoy the experience of buying branded clothing as a rather special, luxury feeling: “treating yourself”. If your new occasion-wear arrived in the same box as some batteries, would you enjoy the same levels of customer satisfaction? In addition, KeyBanc notes that only 15% of Amazon’s active customers currently buy clothing and accessories on the site. Amazon might be looking to own-label fashion to fuel its expansion plans, but is the demand really there? Despite this, Amazon has fast become the marketplace giant from which you can buy anything. It also has a vast amount of customer profile and purchase history data to draw on, which could be used to make fast-fashion wins. Why should fashion be exempt from its offering? What’s your view? Post your opinions in the comment box below:…
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discount december
  • 7 Dec

A discounted December?

The verdict’s out on Black Friday, as this year’s sales figures are in. But did the event meet our predictions and expectations? It looks like our Black Friday research (featured here on Notts TV at 1:37) was correct. Online vs High St Online spend was up 36% year on year, smashing previous records by topping £1.1 billion sales on Black Friday. Online sales across the four day weekend, including Cyber Monday, amounted to a whopping £3.3 billion. It was a different story on the high street, however, as footfall fell 4.5%, a slump blamed not only on the “damp squib” that was Black Friday, but also due to the strong online offer provided by many retailers. In this sense, Black Friday definitely failed to provide high street fashion stores with the required boost in November, with sales down 4.9% year on year, following on from a similar October slump. So, why did consumers choose to purchase online, opting for shopping via ecommerce rather than bricks and mortar? Perhaps the mayhem that gripped the nation’s headlines last year acted as a deterrent to those hoping to shop in-store.Something that definitely stood out from last year is the drawn out nature of the discount period. It was a well organised, pre-Christmas shopping event rather than one manic day of unprecedented demand and unfulfilled expectations. Discount mentality Is there much that retailers can do in the battle to protect margins, in the face of the current consumer demand for discounting? 60% of shoppers time their purchases around sales (Conlumino 2014), a mentality that is harming retailers’ sell through of full price stock. If December is anything to go by so far, we’re still seeing extended discounts under different names: Cyber Monday Hangover, Manic Monday, Festive Frenzy… It’s interesting that the connotations of discounting still concentrate on the “flash” sale, despite deals being stretched out to prevent demand concentrating on days like Black Friday. Something retailers need to consider is the amount of returns they’re getting, and the need to process these with great efficiency. What’s the use of having an item “out of stock” on your website, or in-store for that matter, when said item is being returned, and could be being sold at full price? This is a cyclical process that needs to tighten up. Now more than ever, it’s critical for retailers to have 100% visibility of all stock, across all channels. We can help – just visit our dedicated Merret page to learn more about omnichannel supply chain efficiency, or get in touch with us here.    …
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Black Friday 2015
  • 16 Nov

Vlog: Is the Black Friday model a sustainable approach to UK retailing?

In a shock turn of Black Friday events, retail giant Asda announced it’d be pulling out of this year’s proceedings. Arguably, as the Walmart-owned brand that first introduced the annual US tradition to the UK in 2013, Asda’s decision to refrain is a bold one. But, as our Head of Marketing explains in today’s vlog, is crippling annual Black Friday demand a sustainable model for UK retailers? Will others persevere with fulfilling customer expectations for mega discounting? Or will more retailers shy away from Black Friday?…
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  • 21 Sep

The changing face of out of town retail

The increasing importance of the store in the omnichannel retail world has taken centre stage in the past few weeks. Recent research has revealed that 73% of EU retailers expect the store to become more strategically important by 2020, a statistic that includes every type of store: flagship, city centre, market town, shopping centre, and out of town retail parks. “Out of town” doesn’t mean “out of mind” for big retailers. With the dawn of omnichannel retailing came a crucial need for retailers to re-evaluate the role of the store in the overall customer experience, with each store needing to play its part in emanating the brand. Over the years, out of town retail parks had received a bad image – “big box” units, “retail sheds”, nothing compared to their jazzy city centre counterparts, or websites, for that matter. Now, market leading retailers are giving more careful consideration to architecture and design, and use of internal space, to create a bold, attractive and interesting place to shop and spend leisure time. Next recently featured in Retail Week for its Longwater Retail Park store in Norwich; a prime example of a store re-writing the usual rules of edge-of-town retail architecture with a clever and intricate use of space that belies the vast blueprint. The store is also fitted out with a Costa Coffee, a good example of current retailer-hospitality collaborations which provide complimentary offers for the overall benefit of the customer experience.Digging a bit deeper, and considering the technology that underpins the store, what’s interesting to analyse are the subtle, but crucial, differences between city stores and retail parks. How does the space work, how is in-store tech used, how does the store operate in the supply chain? (i.e. is it a critical ship-from-store unit?; is click-and-collect a big operation?) Consumers have different demands of stores in different locations, meaning stores require different attributes in order to maintain a high retail conversion rate. A city centre store might be more inundated with click-and-collect orders in the week, for the working demographic that would rather pick up their order on their lunch break. Alternatively, a retail park might see more activity like this at a weekend, when trips out are planned to enjoy a leisurely shopping experience visiting different brands. The use of in-store tech (such as tablets to browse the web and make orders) might also command a different use in different locations – in busier stores where staff might not be as readily available, customers might prefer the convenience of ordering in-store themselves. These nuances are considerations that retailers must bear in mind when differentiating the store experience. As much as we have blogged about making the store a crucial channel in the customer journey, further consideration should be given to different types of store and what makes them successful. If you’re considering a transformation of your out of town retail store portfolio, or any part of your store estate, our project-focussed retail IT support can help. We are…
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