Monthly Archives: January 2016

Social Science

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Youth is overrated, disposable income should be the focus. While we may be able to believe that the economy is on the up, life for many since 2009 has been tough.

The CE market took a dip and has been only truly in recovery since 2014. More than half of TVs sold are smart (57 per cent). And the market in 2016 looks set to decline further thanks to the use of streaming devices, the breadth of product on offer and platforms from which to stream content.

Innovations such as Freeview Play are therefore essential to assist in reinvigorating the TV industry to a broader and, more importantly, younger audience to increase not only a retailer’s average basket value (ABV), but also the opportunity to attract the younger audience that they desire.

First-time buyers shouldn’t be forgotten either as an opportunity to offer IoT packages that assist in furnishing their homes at a price point that benefits both. With 59 per cent of UK consumers stating they would benefit from having an IoT device in their home, the opportunity is clear for retailers and brands to sell the lifestyle benefits of their products.

Brand experience is not exclusive to older generations – a brand speaks uniquely to every individual and brands can, through arrogance and ignorance, be completely dismissed by a generation making way for new brands perceived by a younger audience as a bit more ‘edgy’ and innovative.

While social media usage in relation to shopping habits is still at a low level within the CE/tech sector, it is on the increase and becoming an increasingly important medium to generate interest in a brand and driving sales among a younger audience in retail.

A recent study on shopper ‘tribes’ revealed 13.3 per cent use social media to tell friends about products and brands that they have bought – a 15 per cent increase on 2014 – and 10.2 per cent share photos of tech and CE products with friends via text or social media, in particular Instagram, before they buy in order to garner opinions. Amazingly, this is a significant 66 per cent increase on the previous year’s study (2014) and demonstrates the increasing importance in merchandising and showcasing your products to optimum effect, so that they appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Interestingly, almost one-in-10 people (9.6 per cent) use social media to tell friends about the gifts they have just bought. More importantly, such posts are a useful barometer and retailers should consider how people share such posts, especially if the product was bought or available from their store, within a store’s social media platforms.

Social Science fact






Social media is increasingly becoming more prevalent in shaping the decision-making process of considered items, those items we choose to save for and invest in. It is especially relevant with tech and CE purchasing and more so among a younger demographic who seek out new trends and brands.

So, in addition to managing social media, it’s also important to keep those window displays and your signage sharp, avoiding clutter, in order to encourage passers-by to want to come in and browse rather than have to venture in due to a distress purchases.

Visual impact is as important as the service you offer. Avoid handwritten signs and too many offers or price-downs. Keep it clean and seasonal to appeal to shoppers of all ages and in particular those on a budget, such as younger people.

In addition to national TV and print advertising campaigns, look around your region at which brands you stock that are advertising on outdoor media sites, such as bus stops, billboards, etc. There may be one opposite or round the corner from your store that appeals to a certain demographic. So link your display space to drive brand recall and increase the opportunity to invite those valuable browsers in-store and convert them into customers.

Premium pricing and messaging may only serve to deter a younger age group, so retailers should offer products and use messaging – in-store, on their website and on social media – that appeals to all pockets, ages and tastes.


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Marc Bolland’s departure from M&S leaves behind an omnichannel legacy

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Marc Bolland’s announcement yesterday has certainly generated some negative press towards the departing CEO of a UK institution that remains one of the country’s biggest and diverse retailers. With many offering “sage” advice to the perceived problems which contributed to a dip in the share price following a full day’s trading, let’s not forget that where other big retailers have spectacularly failed over the last six years, Mr Bolland and the M&S team haven’t done so bad.

Whilst GM (General Merchandise) sales may be down 5.8% in the last quarter and across the year, Mr Bolland did what he set out to achieve six years ago; to a save the retailer which had no digital strategy.

This included three core objectives: food, infrastructure and online presence for the retailer. Each and every objective has been completed and exceeded with M&S food up 3.7% despite not being a grocer in the traditional sense or having an online home delivery food service which helps to bolster trading.

The infrastructure has avoided any embarrassing PR disasters, unlike many competitors, by maintaining adequate stock of core lines and delivery timescales, but more importantly it’s the M&S online presence, managed by Bolland appointee Laura Wade-Grey, that the exiting CEO should be proud of and praised for.

The omnichannel experience is exemplified with click and collect accounting for an impressive 62% of online orders, revealed by Bolland himself on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, a statistic which is far higher than many rivals. It accounted for only 17.7% of the industry’s orders in 2014 and is forecasted to rise by 20% in 2015, far below what M&S has managed to actually achieve in 2015.

M&S has successfully created an omnichannel experience which has embraced a digital platform as not merely an add on, but a standalone experience which lends itself neatly to the M&S customer profile, predicted to be an older customer, to convert them into a satisfied online shopper.

This was perhaps facilitated by avoiding the same levy to customers as main rival John Lewis implemented in 2015, adding a £2 click-and-collect charge on purchases costing less than £30, with Tesco recently following the same course. Many users have complained about the change, and let’s also not ignore that there were a few issues surrounding stability and data protection.

However it can’t be ignored that as an e-commerce site which is easy to navigate and use across any device, M&S has created a true omnichannel experience. Offering a consistent brand identity for consumers and a digital platform which works, sales were up 20.9% over the festive period and served to drive footfall into traditional retail, no doubt to the benefit of other retailers and UK plc.


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