Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ready to wear?

Untitled1Only a year ago, many people were already writing off wearable tech as a gimmick that would fade into obscurity. However, 12 months on, wearables are a growing force in the tech world that can’t be ignored.

Whether it be fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge HR and Epson Sensing, or dedicated smartwatches such as LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Pebble Steel, wearables are everywhere and every major brand is jumping on the bandwagon.

With an estimated 72 million wearable devices expected to be shipped this year, up from 30m in 2014, wearables are a category that will continue to grow and is here to stay. Although the big name in the industry, forget the Apple Watch, as it’s unlikely that third-party retailers will be able to stock it soon, if ever.

Instead, focus on the multitude of other devices that are available to third-party retailers, like Android Wear, using the world’s most popular software platform. With more mobile devices running Android than any other, compatible wearables will appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers.

The appeal of a smartwatch is now not age-dependent. Any demographic can perceive a need, with people mostly wanting a wearable to view maps/get directions (68 per cent), read notifications (61 per cent) and control smart devices in the home (55 per cent) like Google Chromecast, the smartest and easiest £30 you’ll ever spend or sell.

Wearables offer your consumers choice and compatibility that enables them to not only measure and record their fitness, but check into flights, view texts and reply without touching their phone, reducing perhaps the average 214 times we view our mobiles each day. The possibilities are not quite infinite, but they’re getting there.

Giving staff a device to use for a period will help them to understand wearables and become a brand advocate. Their knowledge will help to improve customer education in store and, with added training, sales will increase.

Ensuring that your staff have good product knowledge will help a great deal when speaking to customers who are perhaps purchasing a wearable device as a gift, which make up nearly a quarter of wearable purchases. Likewise, with most customers prioritising ease of use when choosing a wearable device, demonstrating desirable features and speaking with authority about each device will improve the customer experience and lead to sales.

In the UK, 27 per cent of smartphone users would consider price before functionality (13 per cent) when purchasing a smartwatch. So make sure staff sell the benefits, to help justify the price. This is essential if you are to make wearables a profitable part of your retail experience.

Shoppers need to also be reassured that products are easy to use and will have a positive impact on their lives and not complicate them as many gadgets do. Effective staff training not only improves unit sales, but also the value of each sale. Nearly 20 per cent of Apple Watch buyers have also purchased a third-party accessory, such as an extra wristband, with an estimated 2.79 million accessories being sold since launch. With most Android Wear watches using industry-standard 22mm bands, your customers can choose almost any band for their watch. Many other wearable brands are allowing shoppers to customise their device, creating a clear opportunity for retailers to capitalise on the third-party accessories market and increase attachment sales.

Also, think about where your displays are situated in-store. As smart devices become more connected, bring attention to how other products will work with wearable devices, such as their phone, TV, tablet or even white goods.

As more devices come to market with improved features (look at Android Wear 5.1.1) such as watch faces to increased functionality, there is plenty for consumers to get excited about.

If sold correctly, as a product that crosses the chasm of fashion, tech and lifestyle, demonstrating how wearables assist in managing our lives with efficiency and ease, there’s a clear opportunity for everybody.

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Can the In-Store Experience Complement Online Retail?


With e-commerce growing at an exponential rate, the value of bricks and mortar is often overlooked. Yet, with 95% of all retail purchases worldwide still made in-store according to Deloitte, the high street and retail outlets are not the dying breed we’re sometimes led to believe. In-store purchases are projected to grow by over £190 million by 2018, so brands should be putting emphasis on improving the in-store experience to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.

For brands to fully engage with consumers in-store they need a deeper understanding of the shopper journey as a whole. It’s about getting to grips with increasingly complex buying behaviours. With consumers using both online and in-store research to make purchasing decisions, particularly on considered ‘high ticket’ products, brands should be proactively using online data to enhance the customer experience in-store.

Getting the blend right

Researching products online whilst in-store, using smartphones and even smartwatches is becoming more common among consumers. As shoppers become increasingly more connected, 20% of shoppers measure high street prices online and purchase products via mobile devices in-store, according to research by Shopper Tribes. It’s clear that new technologies are having a significant impact on the retail experience.

To meet the ever-demanding needs of consumers, forward-thinking brands are increasingly using social media to engage with their target audience. Among 18 to 35 year olds, 14% are using Facebook to ‘check-in’ to stores and 15% use social platforms to discuss products with their peers. While social media is a popular way to engage with the younger generation, brands need to understand how to cater to every age group. For example, shoppers aged 55 and over prefer to use online research to help them make informed decisions when purchasing electronic goods in-store. In an evolving omnichannel landscape, a one size fits all approach will not work if brands seek to cater to consumers across the board.

Making it personal

While e-commerce is changing the way people shop, the average online shopping basket is broadly made up of smaller purchases. As such, when it comes to high ticket consumer and luxury brands, the high street remains the destination of choice for making a purchase. As shoppers, we will always be motivated by the ability to touch, feel and experience products before making considered purchases. Living in a digital world, the brand you desire to wear and use remains an expression of your identity and lifestyle. Having the opportunity to view products in-person rather than through a screen is a rewarding experience for shoppers.

Ultimately, the benefits of shopping in-store can outweigh the convenience of purchasing items online. However, for consumers to realise the unique selling points of the in-store retail experience, integrating an omnichannel approach is key. If consumers are researching products online, branding in-store should be streamlined to improve sales and product recall to enhance the customer journey. By using ATL advertising across digital platforms, including social media, brands can drive shoppers in store, leading to improved conversion rates and profitability long term.

Retail outlets and the high street can offer a sensory experience for shoppers that the virtual world struggles to compete with. It’s about building and enhancing this emotional connection with customers to make the in-store experience memorable and rewarding.


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How brands can convert sales during the Rugby World Cup


This autumn will see the most significant sporting festival to take place in the UK since the 2012 Olympics – the Rugby World Cup, the third largest international sporting event in the calendar. Taking place in England, the home of rugby, the tournament is a golden opportunity for affiliated brands to reach a global audience.

With worldwide partners such as Land Rover and Heineken, these brands will appeal to consumers irrespective of their knowledge or passion for rugby. However, there is also the chance to attract new fans, even if it is just for the duration of the tournament. It’s an opportunity for brands to tap into the feel -good factor that such events can stimulate.

It happened for some nations and brands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, just as it did at the Winter Olympics – the one and only time in four years people outside of the curling fraternity schedule viewing time to watch and get excited by the sport!

From the brands’ perspective, in addition to the global exposure, it’s an opportunity to extend their marketing campaigns beyond the stadiums and ATL initiatives that they do all year round. On-pack offers, promotional advertising and experiential campaigns all have the capability to get brands in front of a greater consumer audience, taking the tournament and its associated buzz away from Twickenham and sharing it regionally on the high street and in-store.

During the 2012 London Olympics, Samsung created an engaging campaign that extended experiences outside of Elizabeth Park. The leading electronics brand created pop-up ‘Samsung Studios’ focusing on demonstrating the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note. Located in some of the UK’s major shopping centres and Heathrow T1, visitors could play with Samsung’s Olympic Games app and enter competitions. No products were sold at the studios, but having entered into an experience, just over a third (35 per cent) of respondents said they were much more likely to consider Samsung.

Dove Men+Care has been involved with rugby for a number of years, implementing experiential campaigns and demonstrating that even the most macho of men do moisturise and aren’t shy of looking after themselves. In the run-up to the tournament, Dove Men+Care is creating a 360 campaign that connects TV, social and ends with consumers being able to win sold-out world cup tickets in-store.

Beyond this engagement and to drive sales, brands need to be conscious of how their carefully devised messaging is translated at the point of purchase and communicated to store staff and shoppers alike. If sales staff are unaware of Toshiba’s (an  RWC world-wide partner) latest product range, or how to sell their products and what the latest promotions are, then that is a lost opportunity. Similarly if shoppers are left non-the-wiser about the latest offers then there is a diminishing of the wider marketing efforts.

To perfect their in-store execution, merchandising and product demonstrations from trained brand ambassadors need to be linked-up at the point of purchase to complete the omni-channel experience.

Brands need to extend the consumer journey from TV and online to in-store for products that are impulse purchases as part of a weekly shop and for more considered purchases throughout the lengthy six weeks of the tournament (17 September to 31 October). Both, through association, create spontaneous awareness for tournament sponsors with everyone watching, rugby fan or not. Let’s also not forget the B2B opportunities affiliated to some of these brands which can realise an even greater return on sales and brand equity.

The Rugby World Cup is an opportunity for brands to reach consumers, mindful not to create any brand apathy, beyond sponsorship deals. It’s a chance for brands to influence people at all omni-channel touch points globally with physical and experiential campaigns as important as online engagement to create excitement and crucially drive sales.


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Will Rugby World Cup sponsorship reap the benefits for brands?

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As the dust settles on the Fifa scandals, meaning sponsors can keep a low profile for now, the attention now turns to the Rugby World Cup which is being held in the UK. Yes that’s correct, here at home, not that many have noticed.

It’s interesting to hear that Heineken is to push 50% of its marketing budget into Rugby World Cup sponsorship in an effort to ‘maintain its recent sales momentum and continue its association with ‘world class events’.

With the tournament starting on 17 September to the 31 October, will supporters – whether die hard or casual – be captivated for a full six weeks? More importantly, will sponsors reap the benefits before viewer apathy possibly settles in?

Statistics have shown that 20.6 million Brits tuned into the Football World Cup final in 2014, compared to just six million for the previous Rugby World Cup final in 2011. So with a longer period to keep a global audience engaged and fewer viewers, the challenge for sponsors is how do you engage with consumers to reap the rewards of sponsorship? That’s a lot of beer over and above that would have been sold to balance the 50% investment.

To keep consumers interested throughout, brands need to involve consumers in the sport, not just the tournament itself. Dedicated fans will stay interest regardless, but to keep non-fans interested there needs to be a connection to the actual sport. Using an omni-channel experience to guide consumers between online and in store is the best way for brands to create this engagement.

As part of its online strategy for the tournament, Coca-Cola is running an on-pack giveaway where consumers can enter a code online to potentially win a Coca-Cola branded, World Cup Gilbert Rugby ball. As with many past sporting events sponsored by the brand, Coca-Cola is encouraging consumers to enjoy their products whilst watching the tournament, but also to get involved and play the game itself.

By creating this engagement, the brand is ensuring continued consumer interest in the sport, and as a result the larger tournament.

Many other sponsors are yet to reveal their online strategies for the tournament, or how they will create this important engagement with fans. With just over a month until the opening ceremony, brands need to start building the hype. Only time will tell if the sponsors can reap the benefits by keeping fans engaged throughout.

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Sunday Trading – The 7 Day Shopper

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The rise and fall of the UK high street is well-documented and never far from the news agenda. With retailers scrutinising sales figures and competition being fierce, extending opening hours across Sunday could be a vital first step to rejuvenating the high street and beyond this, the UK economy.

Unlike any nation in Western Europe, the UK is unique in that we like to shop, whilst other nations shop out of necessity, we in the UK like to make our retail therapy more of a sociable brand experience. For a long time now people in the UK have used Sundays as they do Saturdays – to carry out one of their favourite hobbies and pastimes, shopping.

George Osbourne’s recent announcement to shake up Sunday trading laws comes as no surprise. In our current consumer climate, purchases are firmly becoming ‘any place, any time’ and Sunday is no longer an exception to this. Combining the rise of consumer appetite with the reality that people lead extremely busy lifestyles means people want to have the choice to shop for more than six hours.

We are witnessing a shift in the way consumers are buying their goods. There is a lot to be said about people moving online, however a recent article from Forbes reported a 95 per cent of retail purchases worldwide are still being made in-store. This alone should be enough to make the retail industry step up and cater to shopper demand.

As well as ensuring they are adapting to customers developing shopping habits, for retailers, the change in Sunday trading laws is an open door of opportunity. Although we should consider those individuals who want to keep Sunday as a sacred day, looking at this from a commercial point of view – this is all about maintaining a strong, healthy economy in our 24/7 lifestyle, the balance is for retailers to make it work respectfully for everyone’s benefit and lifestyle choices.

Currently in some communities or high streets, stores choose not to open due to the high cost of staffing and overheads costing retailers money instead of making a profit. The laws give retailers the ability to create thousands of jobs through the same trading hours offered the rest of the week, having the option to bring staff in and pay them for longer than 6 hours of work and generate millions of pounds in extra income.

Not only will the changes mean more money in people’s pockets, they will help to boost the UK economy and in a sense help reinvigorate communities and the high street.

The shake up of trading laws is not surprising as sticking to traditional, some say outdated laws, links back to a consumer world that ultimately no longer is reflective of the UK’s lifestyle and desire to shop whenever and wherever they like.


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SDAs: Are they really worth it?

tefal fry sda

Small appliances attract footfall in-store, encourage impulse purchases and can help make your store look more attractive to customers, says Daniel Todaro, managing director of field marketing agency Gekko

The short answer to that question is yes, and they will always be worth ranging for two good reasons.

Firstly, they attract customers into your store, which is valuable to increase traffic and change perceptions. You don’t want to be perceived as only ranging high-ticket, one-off purchases.

The second is that we are becoming a little more adept in the kitchen, partly driven by celebrity chefs, Great British Bake-Off and MasterChef.

The growing SDA market creates an opportunity for many consumers to replace their old, outdated items and do so guilt-free as the initial outlay is considerably less than some other gadgets and the long-term gain and use are easily justified.

According to researcher GfK, the UK SDA market grew nine per cent in 2014 to surpass £779 million. The research also highlights the growing demand for liquidisers, which grew by 144 per cent with an average price tag rising from £36 to £42, and also a 95 per cent increase in the juicer market.

Our interest in healthy eating is demonstrated by the 48 per cent increase in 2013 of low-fat/no-oil deep fryers. However, do be wary of fads, as low-fat/no-oil SDAs dropped in value by £2m in 2014, losing popularity by becoming mainstream products. I suspect the same will happen to juicers as the market becomes saturated.

The SDA category, which also includes hot beverage makers, kettles, toasters, food preparation, sandwich toasters, health grills and deep fryers, is a staple category that offers consumers convenience and choice at various price points. The UK is one of the most diverse markets for SDAs in the world, with more than 700 new SDA products introduced into the market in 2014 alone, offering retailers an opportunity to refresh seasonal ranges with limited risk.

Although electrical retailers will always thrive on the MDA staples, diversifying your product range to include SDA will make your store more attractive to a broader spectrum of shoppers. Many small appliances are stylish, well designed, and will make your store look better.

With the in-store customer journey becoming increasingly more important in retail, correctly merchandising your store, coupled with training your staff to communicate the benefits of your products, will transform interested shoppers into customers, and will ultimately improve sales.

Gekko suggests that sales staff quickly identify the individual customer’s motivation to buy, whether it is driven by value, style with colour coordinated bundled solutions, or practical features aimed at making life easier.

Remember value is in the eye of the spender, the role of sales staff is to demonstrate that value in each and every conversation.

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