Tag Archives: retail

The Future of Video Game Retailers

Video game stores have for some years faced the dilemma of how to diversify their offering to stay afloat in a market evolving to become primarily a digital one. Since the launch of the “next generation of consoles” back in 2006, digital downloadable games have been available through the marketplaces of Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo on their respective consoles. However, initially, the list of games available to download was quite limited which benefited retailers as it would not take away business from them. 

Fast forward to 2013 and the next generation of consoles were released. The release of these new consoles brought a brand new, more reliable system in place to download full video games over the internet. The ability to download full games happened on the previous generation however, numerous factors attributed to its rather low popularity as it did not have the stability and the large selection of games as it does on the console’s successor. 

GAME’s game-changing new direction

The PS4 & Xbox One were game-changers in driving interest in digital games. This meant retailers had to diversify their offerings to provide more than just consoles and video games. For example, GAME is now selling Gaming PCs and a lot more accessories for all gaming platforms. On top of this, they provide access in-store to the Belong Arenas which are equipped with all of the latest consoles and gaming PCs with room for around 6 people to game. GAME is a prime example of a company successfully diversifying its business model to become a more experienced/service-based company. This is due to the nature of the video game market and its continuous push towards the all-digital era.

The new direction GAME is taking features a better value proposition. Martyn Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer recently described  BELONG, the Group’s esports and experience-based gaming proposition as “core to our transformation strategy and we continue to expand the business through the opening of larger BELONG gaming arenas while improving our GAME Retail offer to fully capitalise on the strong growth potential in the esports market.” (Waller-Davies, 2018)

This has proven to be successful in driving footfall to their stores with the gaming arenas as proven by the positive recent trading results.

COVID’s accelerating impact on digital transformation

Clearly, a huge impact on the video game retail industry as with all retail was the dramatic impact of COVID. Not solely due to the fact stores were closed, more so due to the change in lifestyle, most people had to adapt to. Logan Plant from IGN described COVID-19 as “not an instigator for the rise of digital media, but simply an accelerator of a trend we’ve seen take shape throughout the last console generation.” (Plant, 2021). Working from home became the norm for 1+ years and subsequently, a lot of businesses had to change how they operated to take advantage of the customers/consumers being stuck at home.

The impact of COVID was a record-breaking year for digital sales of video games. Sony also revealed that nearly 63 per cent of its “full game” sales for the 2020 calendar year came via digital downloads rather than games sold on discs at retail. 

As a result of COVID’s accelerating impact, it is important to reevaluate the current proposition and business direction of video games retailers. The current moves console developers are making into the all-digital era are having a dramatic impact on the performance of bricks and mortar retailers. A significant development happened in 2020 when the latest consoles were released (PS5 & Xbox Series X). These new consoles were released with a cheaper variant; a disk tray-free model with a cheaper price tag available from launch. This highlights the increasing dominance of the digital era and the ongoing decline of physical sales.

Owen Good from Polygon described it in stark terms: “The implication is clear: Video game fans, stuck at home, with the ability to make one-click purchases for entertainment to pass time, will do so in amounts up to the price of a full game.” (Good, 2020)

As an avid Gamer myself who has been a loyal customer of GAME since I could remember my weekends used to involve regular trips to pick up a new game or the latest console at the time. Interacting and talking with knowledgeable staff members was a huge part of the experience.

Embracing an experience-centric playbook

Despite knowledgeable in-store staff that can assist and support the customer journey, the gaming industry has changed to be a primarily digital one. However, despite this reality, there’s still a significant percentage of customers purchasing physical copies of video games. Yet the online giants such as Amazon have further eroded this market, offering next day delivery on the same selection of physical video games that high street retailers offer at a discounted price. 

The same situation is happening with Gamestop, in an article covering which companies would Amazon effect, it stated Gamestop “historically has made its money by serving as the middleman, but the game publishing industry’s move toward downloads and away from discs and cartridges is increasingly making the venue less of a destination for gamers.” (Brumley, 2019).

This of course reduces the need to pop into town and purchase a game. Additionally, on top of the physical video game competitors, each of the gaming platforms also have their own store integrated into the console where you can purchase digital copies of any game on that platform. Digital games usually have a higher RRP, however, they are usually heavily discounted during sales.

In conclusion, it’s clear to see that for retail stores to drive more footfall they need to reposition themselves and expand what they offer as a business. GAME have taken this in their stride and expanded their traditional offering of physical Video Games and Consoles to offer an immersive customer experience including VR, the opportunity to play video games with your friends in the Belong arenas, purchase fully built gaming PC’s along with the necessary accessories and gaming merchandise such as POP Vinyls or plushies. It has been proven that GAME’s new direction has driven footfall and has been profitable for them too. In order to win in the future and remain relevant, it’s time for video games retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric’ playbook.

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Why consumer electronics retailers must develop a new ‘experience-centric’ playbook

The phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ has certainly proved the case with in-store electronics retailing. The category has faced some unprecedented challenges over the past two years. However reports of the demise of bricks and mortar retailing have proved greatly exaggerated. Experience-starved customers have voted with their feet and returned to stores in droves after the various lockdowns.

In the ‘considered purchase’ space – purchases made with significant financial or emotional thought – there is simply no match for the timeless ability of an in-store experience to engage all the senses and generate sales. This is particularly the case for consumer electronics – a category with such a high spend on key items and technical questions that need to be answered.

Mind the knowledge gap

We recently investigated the pandemic’s impact on ‘considered purchases’ in a research project called ‘Mind the Knowledge Gap’. Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories in a study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll. The categories studied included: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. 48% of respondents revealed they had made a considered purchase during the pandemic in the CE category. It was second only to DIY with 50%. However the research also revealed there is no time for complacency. The study showed that electronics retailers had lost out on some significant revenue due to poor advice during this period. 1 in 4 (24%) were put off making a purchase they had gone in-store to make, with 11% actually walking out of the store. This equates to £3.3bn in lost revenue for the category over the past 12 months alone. In fact of all the categories surveyed, shoppers in this category reported having some of the worst advice. This of course isn’t to say a poor experience was universal or even the norm. Indeed 60% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’ overall, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face-to-face sales. But the point is small improvements in advice can lead to big gains financially. With lost sales during the period and rising commodity and transport costs impacting the bottom line, this is an area that is relatively easy to fix.

Golden opportunity

The truth is £3.3bn could be a drop in the ocean compared to what could be achieved. 37% of shoppers in the CE category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in-store advice, indicating a golden opportunity is there to be grabbed. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel. The study also unearthed something of a blueprint for success for electronic retailers. Consumers revealed the top factors driving a considered purchase. Number one was the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents. Price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%).

Gen Z

Additionally the research highlights another area for optimism for electronic retailers. That is in the behaviour of the younger generations. 18-24 year olds – known as Gen Z – are more interested in consumer electronics than any other category. 52% revealed they would be prepared to spend more if given better advice. Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. Finally 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail. So how to respond? I think there are three key actionable take outs for consumer electronics retailers.

1) Invest in experts

Our research highlights the timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an in-store expert in CE. While we have spent so much of the past year and a half shopping online – it is clear online alone is no replacement for the experience and interaction of trained advisors. This is particularly the case in a category where more of us are prepared to spend more. They are consistently the best way to influence and convert a sale of a considered purchase item. Ensure they are on hand and fully trained to answer any question your curious customers may have. While some are struggling, the retailers with a real customer first mentality are succeeding. Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer, an influencer, someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online or on social media. Not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with. The benefits to the business can be significant.

2) Engage the senses and think price

An expert’s role is important but they can’t operate in isolation. As our study showed, the number one factor driving a considered purchase is the ability to see and touch a product. Price promotion and a great demo were also high on the list. So when it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up experience leading the customer to the checkout. After all this desire to engage all the senses has only been heightened during the long lockdowns we have all endured with so much mind numbing time spent in front of screens. So creating a real retail theatre is vital. Good lighting, a price promotion clearly on display, ensuring customers can interact with the product when they want and of course having the expert on hand to answer questions. It may seem simple but it is worth revisiting your customer experience strategy. Start with a genuine audit of your brands or retail estate to ensure all the senses are being fully engaged.

3) Joined up brand experience

While the thirst for the physical store experience endures, it is not about going back to 2019. The genie is now completely out of the bottle for ecommerce with even the most hardened luddites now comfortable with online search and discovery. The smart strategy is now ensuring the experience is joined up and that we better understand the drivers of the online/offline experience. In our research a conclusive 85% of shoppers said they are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. Belying any remaining stereotypes, the older age groups were more likely to go online first. 89% of 55-64 would research online first. Interestingly, 69% said a well synchronised online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase. Brands need to therefore ensure they have consistency across the full spectrum of online touchpoints, including search, social and display advertising and in-store. How does the experience feel to a customer and how is this then prompting a likely sale? Reports of the demise of in-store retail have thankfully proved premature. But while we have emerged blinking into the sunlight and luckily still standing after this period, the world we now observe is changed. Indeed survival going forward is never guaranteed and really never was in the fast paced consumer electronics category. To succeed we need to develop a new ‘experience-centric playbook’ utilising the best that a joined up in-store experience can offer; the right experts on hand to complement an experience that engages all the senses. One that is seamless and joined up with the online world of discovery that led us to the store. As we look forward to a better year, there’s all to play for. Let’s go for it.

To read the full article please visit PCR

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

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Press Coverage – PCR – Shoppers reveal top factors motivating a ‘considered purchase

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with 1 in 4 (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance. Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, MD says: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

He continues: “To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

Article originally published by PCR

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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Shoppers Reveal Top Factors Motivating A ‘Considered Purchase’: Engage The Senses, Think Price And Expert Advice

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with 1 in 4 (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance. Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, MD says: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

He continues: “To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

What would be the most important factors to you in making a ‘considered purchase’ in store?

  • Ability to see and touch a product: 58%
  • Price promotion: 56%
  • Great advice: 37%
  • Effective product demonstration: 28%
  • Social distancing followed: 25%
  • A stylish store: 15%

Article originally published by Business Mondays

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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Shoppers Reveal Top Factors Motivating A ‘Considered Purchase’ – Can You Guess Them?

As retailers gear up for the peak of Christmas shopping, shoppers have revealed the top factors that would make them contemplate a considered purchase at retail. 

According to the survey of 2,000 respondents carried out by OnePoll on behalf of field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko, the top factor driving a considered purchase is the ‘ability to see and touch a product’, according to 58% of respondents.

Top factors for shoppers

Despite being the most favoured strategy during the seasonal discounting period, price promotion was second, rated important by 56% of respondents. 

This was followed by ‘great advice’ rated important by 37% of respondents and then an effective product demonstration (28%). Meanwhile Covid concerns were lower down the list with one in four (25%) saying social distancing was now an important factor.

Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. 

The purpose was to find out what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The survey shows there were key differences in age. Price promotion is actually the top factor for every age group until the +54 year olds when it starts diminishing in importance.

gekko Formula for retail success

Interestingly social distancing is a larger factor for 18-24 year olds with 37% rating this as important. This could be to do with vaccine hesitancy or less still being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile the survey also reveals a majority of shoppers think most retailers haven’t adapted well to the pandemic in terms of the customer experience. 

The categories seen to have most adapted best to the pandemic are consumer electronics, 54%, followed by home improvement, 51%. 

These were the only categories a majority of consumers thought had adapted well or excellently. Worst performers were baby and child with just 29% of shoppers thinking they’d adapted well. 

Gaming was rated by just 31% of shoppers as having adapted well. 

In response Gekko is urging retailers to embrace an ‘experience-centric playbook’ to make up for lost time during the pandemic, engaging all the senses to bring back the theatre of retail.

Daniel Todaro, Gekko MD, said: “When it comes to physical retail and considered purchases, it is vital to engage all the senses and create a joined up marketing experience that is going to lead the customer to the checkout till. 

“Our research shows just how vital the ability to see, touch and engage with a product in a positive environment is a critical factor in considered purchase decisions. 

“This desire may well have come about or been heightened by the long lockdowns we have all experienced, increasing our desire to shop in person. The decline in online sales share back to 27% is indicative of this. 

“Price promotion is of course important but needs to be within the context of a wider customer engagement strategy. As the research shows, the role and approach of a knowledgeable sales advisor is also crucial.”

“To make the most of the opportunity, try to ensure the environment and setting complements the overall experience with, for example, good lighting, ambience and clearly visible price promotions. 

“Stand back, encourage play, and keep the conversation flowing using open questions. Learn through specific questions and examples about the customers’ needs and lifestyle changes. 

“This is the way physical retailers can ensure they can continue to win customers and offer a superb customer experience.”

What would be the most important factors to you in making a ‘considered purchase’ in store?

  • Ability to see and touch a product: 58%
  • Price promotion: 56%
  • Great advice: 37%
  • Effective product demonstration: 28%
  • Social distancing followed: 25%
  • A stylish store: 15%

Article originally published by MediaShotz

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

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The £15bn Question – Are You Still Investing In Instore Expertise?

With the Golden Quarter in full swing and the risk of another lockdown receding, it feels like physical retailers can finally focus on the future and doing what they do best. Namely serving the varied interests and needs of our nation of shoppers. While the terminals are processing payments, amidst the buzz of a seasonal discounting season, it may feel like we are back to 2019 normality. However, there is no escaping the pain that has occurred. 

According to research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) retailers lost some £22bn in lost in store revenue in 2020. Meanwhile the now (finally admitted to not be) temporary inflation spike, wage rises and supply chain challenges are further going to erode the potential for the sort of returns needed to get UK retailers fully back on track. Indeed the economic growth that has been so impressive this year will fall away to more palatable levels in 2023.

The financial cost of poor advice

Against this backdrop, there is new evidence some retailers are losing sight of one of the most crucial ways of keeping sales where they need them. Research we unveiled last week found that retailers missed out on billions in instore revenue in the past year due to poor in person advice in the ‘considered purchase’ space. These are purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought. 

The study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll, looked at what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’. It revealed 1 in 10 shoppers said they had walked out of a shop due to poor advice relating to a product they were definitely going to buy. This equates to some £15bn in revenue overall over the past year. The experiences do vary across categories and age groups. The 1 in 10 figure was broadly consistent across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. 

Customer service first approach

Now this is not to say that all retailers are doing it wrong. Those with a real customer service first mentality are doing it amazingly well. Overall 59.8% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face to face sales. But the point is in a world where profits are likely to be squeezed – these numbers matter. Slight improvements can make dramatic differences. Even if just 1 of the 10 shoppers in every 100 who are walking out dissatisfied could be persuaded to stay, this would mean £1.5bn pounds worth of sales would be saved. 

To put that into context that is more than Rishi Sunak has just announced in the Budget to encourage foreign investment into UK businesses and attract overseas talent!

Thirst for interaction

Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer or an influencer. Someone who will talk about you positively following their experience and tell others in person, online or on social media and is not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with.

Indeed the £15bn could be a drop in the ocean of additional revenues that could be accrued with better advice. 37% of shoppers in the consumer electronics category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in store advice, indicating a golden opportunity for retailers. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel. There is a clearly identified thirst for the interaction and expertise that has so been missed in the pandemic. 

‘Gen Said’ 

A common cause for concern among retailers is on the younger generations turning away from bricks and mortar. However there was encouraging news in the survey for this audience segment. Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers  (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail. 

This is good news for the future of bricks and mortar retail, but it doesn’t mean retailers don’t need to adapt. Our survey also shows that a joined up and seamless experience online and offline is also now expected. Older generations are also more likely to research online first. Brands already know the need to embrace experts and adapt to survive in a changing market, it’s now about making the investment to do so. 

There is no going back to a sort of idealised 2019 experience. We are all changed from the experiences we have gone through. Retailers need a modern, experience-centric playbook and at the heart of this needs to be the timeless appeal of the instore expert. When we look at the missing billions and the pressures on the bottom line, they have never been more needed.

By Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko Field Marketing 

Article originally published by Retail Sector

Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

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How Retailers Can Capitalise On Black Friday and Beyond

With Black Friday upon us, it is vital retailers now maximise the huge sales opportunities that exist. With money to spend, from savings accumulated over lockdown and no holidays, customers are getting ready to go for a bumper spending period up to Christmas.

After all, UK consumers are estimated to have saved around £200bn over the various lockdowns, while 54% of those savers are ready to spend it on Black Friday and Christmas according to a recent survey by Future plc. Furthermore, over 70% of customers suggest that they would have the same amount or more money to spend on Black Friday in 2021 as in 2020 (PPA). Combine this with store doors wide open, we look set for increased customer footfall and sales figures.

However it is important to strike a note of caution, as there are some warnings of issues that could dampen the mood this year. Further Pandemic related problems could arise of course, a fresh wave has broken out across Europe, along with truck driver shortages and global supply chain disruptions that may delay goods arriving to the UK over the next few weeks.

It is the second year in a row where such implications have been highlighted. It is becoming clear that consumers are hearing that call, a recent Ebay survey showed that 41% of shoppers will have aimed to have got their Christmas shopping done before December even begins, as opposed to just 25% last year. Therefore acting now to make the most of the opportunity on Black Friday is critical.

The traditional view of Black Friday is perhaps long queues outside shops and big price drops for retailers. While that has certainly changed during the pandemic, we must not dismiss the benefit of Black Friday’s appeal and hype to lure customers in store/online. Black Friday just needs to be treated a little differently.

Black Friday shouldn’t be simply about heavy discounting – consumers want to be satisfied with the shopping experience (online and instore) and the products they are buying. Last year we were denied physical sale shopping, and with Christmas shopping earlier than ever, retailers should be prepared to come armed with the right product information.

Training is vital for Christmas staff, as is continual reviews of ecommerce sites – to ensure a quality experience not just one based on price point. Price drops on their own will not sustain footfall – but quality, personalised experiences in store and online will.

Retailers should take note of the growth of Singles Day, the way the shopping experience has become a form of entertainment, where social media, ecommerce sites all build up excitement along with key social media influences via live streaming. In the UK, it can be tempting to slash prices on Black Friday or even in the lead up to it and let the price do the talking. But without clever marketing online or in store, relevant and engaging social media and ultimately a smooth online/in store experience – where staff know their products and stock the experience will not be as thrilling.

Customers like a bargain, it may get them over the door, but at a time when every customer matters, it’s important to build brand loyalty and get a repeat visit in the run up to Christmas. Retailers must be aware that while discounts are the foundation of Black Friday, it’s the excitement, marketing, brand experience and ultimately the store or online journey that will sway a customer from perusing to purchase. Once the customer is through the door, or on a retailer website – conversion becomes experience based.

As retailers ramp up their marketing efforts as we approach the peak of spending for the year, consumers are certainly going to have plenty of choice as to where to spend their budgets. Retailers will have to do all they can to make sure they stand out from the crowd. Engaging marketing, whether it be store representatives, training or merchandising activities, can ensure that the consumer knows who you are and why they should be choosing your products. Once that is achieved then loyalty and success will follow.

By Hannah Snoeck, Client Services Director, Gekko

Article originally published by BDaily

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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IFA Bis Nachher!

IFA Berlin has been a feature in my calendar for many years, and since 2015 I have been reviewing the event for ERT.
Unfortunately the 2021 incarnation didn’t happen as many brands were pulling out and therefore made the event unviable, but I’m confident that the show will be back with a bang next year!
To quote the organisation itself “IFA in Berlin presents the latest products and innovations in the heart of Europe’s most important regional market. Only IFA offers such a comprehensive overview of the international market and attracts the attention of visitors from more than 130 countries each year”. Looking back to 2019, LG showcased its Roll, the OLED TV that rolled neatly into its own cabinet to disappear from view. Here in 2021, it is now available to buy at a princely price of just over £100,000, which is of course out of the reach of most people. However, an important consideration is, would it have ever been conceived if it wasn’t intended to be a showstopper at IFA? Whatever the reasons LG chose to create this stunning piece of kit, the brand has paved the way for others to now copy the concept and intrinsically bring the average price down to make it the de facto TV form factor for many.
So proof in point that IFA is the innovation hot spot that drives brands to go deeper and further in understanding what consumers may need before they even realise it, creating categories and technology which will in time become commonplace to all.

Smart Everywhere


In 2015 the buzz was the smart home and there were many who huddled around brand displays at IFA gasping at what was possible with connected devices. Each year the innovation developed and today it’s almost nonsensical to consider that any home doesn’t have or want smart devices – from TVs and voice-activated speakers, to security and entertainment solutions – in their possession.
Taking a whistle-stop-tour of the years and it’s a similar story of innovation, but a progressive journey for the Berlin showcase to evolve into something fresh, never boring or the same. Those exhibitors never failed to deliver a great experience and their immense pride in showcasing their new technology was clearly evident.
Surprise and delight did many brands from all categories, and in 2016 it was LG which outdid everybody with its walk-through 4K display tunnel. This took the visitor on a truly immersive journey of LG technology with a beautifully executed experience that became the undisputed talking point of the event that year.


Voice Of The Future


Moving on to IFA 2017, I reported that the ‘vibe’ was one of progress, a move forward, improving what is already available, innovating through integration to bring the smart home closer to normality and Artificial Intelligence (AI) truly recognised by consumers as no longer being the domain of fantasy but reality, with compatibility across more products. This became rapidly more realistic over the following two years.
In 2018, Google’s Assistant was all over Berlin as more and more brands were building voice activation into their products. Assistant-enabled products were popping up across a host of categories. From laundry with Hoover Candy, cooking with Electrolux, to smart watches from TicWatch, thermostats from Netatmo, and doorbells from Ring, the tech also extended to TVs from Toshiba, Hisense, LG and Panasonic. The dominance of voice assistants was most definitely the story that year.
Building on this in 2019 was the prevalence of voice control and AI-controlled products. Almost every brand and category has either one or both of the two leading voice assistants becoming inbuilt and connected, increasing the smart home ecosystem across almost every device, MDA and wearable.
What voice has done to bring AI and smart technology into consumers’ lives is quite possibly one of the most disruptive technologies to have been created, changing how we interact with our technology, its interface and what it can do for us from a social and macro perspective. This was evident in the exhibition at IFA 2020 – which was an extremely smaller, intimate and socially-distanced affair. The event organisers had done a superb job at keeping the CE industries key event open, albeit just to trade visitors and not the general public. The effects of the pandemic were recognised and obvious as a driver of investment in R&D. The key shout-outs last year set a trend for brands seeking to be the first choice for consumers to integrate with their smart home.


See You In 2022!


If you consider that in the five years that I’ve been writing about IFA, excluding 2021, the average attendance per year is 245,000 with an estimated 150,000 coming from trade to visit the almost 1,800 exhibitors. It’s an awesome show on a scale that makes it on par, if not better, than its transatlantic rival.
The need for IFA to return in 2022 in its original format is essential for the industry, however I fear the savings made over two years may encourage many brands to scale back attendance and investment. This approach will inevitably mean a new format and potentially a hybrid event on a smaller scale. The impact of this approach may not only hold back creativity and innovation, but also the ability for start-ups and consumers to be inspired to carry the wave of technological innovation.
Whatever becomes the format for 2022, creating a space like IFA to bring innovation together and measure the reaction of your peers and consumers is key in the evolution of categories – existing and new. What the pandemic achieved for brands was an opportunity to reset, rethink and enhance their proposition to meet the needs of people’s changing lifestyles, which as a result have become ‘normal’. The use of home technology has been impacted immensely, with adapted living spaces supporting various changes in lifestyle. And IFA is crucial to this development.
I hope to see you and maybe several hundred thousand more in Berlin, 2-6 September 2022 at the most inspiring global tech event imaginable!

Article published by ERT

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Mind The Knowledge Gap – New Consumer Research from Gekko

A new consumer survey reveals that retailers miss out on £15bn per year due to poor advice in-store.

1 in 10 shoppers have cancelled a planned considered purchase due to poor instore advice – Gen Z most likely to seek out experts – Gekko urging retailers and brands to implement new ‘experience-centric playbook’


Brands across some of the top retail categories potentially missed out on close to £15bn in instore revenue in the past year, due to poor in-person advice. The finding comes from new research commissioned by field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko. The study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll, looked at what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought.

The research revealed 1 in 10 shoppers said they had walked out of a shop due to poor advice relating to a considered purchase they were definitely going to make. This equates to some £15bn in revenue overall over the past year.*

Physical retailing brings benefits

The experiences vary across categories and age groups. Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. Overall 59.8% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face-to-face sales.

However, £15bn could be a drop in the ocean of additional revenues that could be accrued with better advice. 37% of shoppers in the consumer electronics category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in-store advice, indicating a golden opportunity for retailers. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel.

According to the survey, 50% of Brits made a ‘considered purchase’ in DIY during the pandemic, more than in any other category. However, only 1 in 5 (21%) rated the advice they had as ‘excellent’ in making the purchase. This was compared to 32% for baby and child, 31% for gaming, and 24% for consumer electronics. Meanwhile, 1 in 4 DIY shoppers (25%) were so disappointed by the advice they were put off making an expensive purchase altogether, with 11% pulling the plug on the purchase and walking out of the store.

Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in-store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in-store across all categories – crucial for the development of experiential retail.

Joined up retailing appeals

Meanwhile, a conclusive 85% of shoppers are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. 84% of Gen Z, 45-54, and 55-64 categories were even higher at 89% and 90% respectively. Interestingly, 69% said a well synchronized online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase.

The timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an in-store expert.

According to Daniel Todaro, Managing Director of Gekko: “Our research highlights the timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an in-store expert. While we have spent so much of the past year and a half shopping online – it is clear online alone is no replacement for the experience and interaction of trained advisors. They are consistently the best way to influence and convert a sale of a considered purchase item.

While there is overall satisfaction, our survey clearly shows more can be done and retailers have potentially missed out of billions. Now, this is not to say that all retailers are doing it wrong. Those with a real customer service first mentality are doing it amazingly well. Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer, an influencer, someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online, or on social media and is not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with.”

Bright future with Gen Z

He continued: “Belying the stereotypes, it is also clear the generations who most welcome expert advice are the younger ones – indeed as our research indicates the right advice can lead to younger customers willingly spending more. This is good news for the future of bricks and mortar retail, but it doesn’t mean retailers don’t need to adapt. Our survey also shows that a joined-up and seamless experience online and offline is also now expected with older generations also more likely to research. Brands already know the need to embrace experts and adapt to survive in a changing market, it’s now about making the investment to do so and implement the new experience-centric playbook.”

To find out more about our survey research please visit our website.

About the research
The nationally representative survey of 2,000 consumers was carried out by One Poll in a research project in October. The categories being researched were: Consumer electronics/appliances/technology, Homeware/ home furnishings, Baby & child, Gaming, Home improvement (DIY & Garden), Clothing & apparel/accessories.  

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Know How Now

Now more than ever, enhancing the customer experience is critical to create theatre and ultimately close sales. In order to take the consumer through the varied steps of the journey from demo to sale, you need to equip your staff to be the best they can be – and it all starts with training. A key element of the formula for success in store is the engagement of shoppers with retail sales advisors. Are they proactive, helpful, skilful, knowledgeable, and capable of providing a personalised experience? This is something the online experience can’t replicate and physical retailers need to capitalise upon. Much is down to individuals,
their training and management the retailer provides, but when it comes to talking about a brand and its products it is vital they are informed and motivated… and most importantly advocates.

The Pandemic’s Impact

The training of advocates is often down to brand-led initiatives, and while in the past these experiences were provided in person, the pandemic has forced new innovative methods like virtual training, with face-to-face communication not being possible. For example, this could include, developing or incorporating digital learning and engagement solutions from third parties or even those brands you sell. Working with your brands enables you to talk directly with their training teams to develop your Retail Sales Advisors, allowing them to choose when and how they learn, with tactics ranging from gamification to potential
incentives at no cost to you driving uptake. These digital solutions mean that brands are able to boost their reach, through training many more staff members and therefore having a wider impact. While visiting face-to-face enables greater engagement and brand advocacy – a hybrid model is still a fantastic way of doing business with retailers to help develop categories and brandshare. In some respects, a bit like peoples* changed working arrangement, it’s taken a major event to force through a sensible and more efficient way of doing business.

Introducing ‘Tech-sperts’

While digital methods are helping to train more in-store experts at scale, the digital world can also be utilised to provide direct expert assistance to those making a considered purchase. Curry’s is one brand trying a new approach during the pandemic with the Shoplive service to assist sales. A pop-up appears asking if you need buying advice, but rather than the experience being a frustrating one with a generic chatbot, shoppers can then start a one- way video call with one of Curry’s experts. ShopLive now has over 800 ‘tech-sperts’, aiding customers through their essential tech purchases. Each new expert goes through two days of specialist training to ensure they can help customers with every tech query. While a face-to face conversation with a live product demo will always be the best way of answering any customers’ needs, this certainly can aid the sales process for those who would still rather not venture out, or can’t for
any reason.

A Blended Approach

Despite the atypical nature of the past year, we have seen retail set up in response to the adversity. Namely a dynamic approach with some needed changes and digital transformation taking place that in the long run will only be a good thing for the industry. A lot of the confident retailers have really begun to find their voice and discover a new way to navigate these new uncertain, but exciting waters. Be creative. Be brave and try new ways to educate your teams to better meet the customer life cycle. The future of training and the manner in which we deliver this as a blended approach may be changing, however the need to continue evolving the knowledge base in both technical and soft skills is essential to meet the ever-changing needs of the CE industry and the customers you serve – who are ultimately the pulse of your business.

By Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko Group

Article published by ERT

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

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