Tag Archives: sales

High street sales are booming, say new retail figures

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Recent figures from the Office of National Statistic suggest high street retail is booming this autumn, with retail sales up 7.4% year on year in October. With an increase of 1.9% over September, this October saw the highest rate of sales growth since April 2002. Contrary to many who predicted an economic slump after the Brexit vote, and while the UK remains in Europe, retail appears to be in a good place leading up to the most important sales periods of the year: Black Friday and the Christmas Peak.

More good news for retailers is the increasing amount spent in high street stores, with consumers spending 6.6% more in October 2016 compared with last year, and up 2.1% on September. Retailers will be hoping this upward trend continues, increasing consumer spending during the peak sales period. The average weekly spend in October was £7.7 billion, an increase of £500 million year on year, clearly showing consumer confidence in the UK economy has not diminished despite warnings. Furthermore average retail prices fell 0.7% in October year on year, demonstrating how high street competition is dampening the effect of the decreased value of Sterling. Some have intimated that spending may be spiralling out of control, creating the bubble which forced the previous recession. However the lessons learned from back then may be applied.

The ONS report has even more good news for department stores and consumer electronics brands. The report found that 43% of retail sales in October 2016 were in non-food stores, encompassing department stores and household goods. Sales volume for non-retail stores was up 2.8% year on year, highlighting the growing consumer confidence in buying household goods. These figures are perhaps inflated by the weak Sterling which has increased international spending in particular on luxury goods, making that Hermes bag a steal in comparison to the price back home in its native France.

Overall, the ONS report suggests shoppers are ready to spend this Christmas. Of course, brands should not take these figures for granted, as in a highly competitive marketplace it’s still vitally important for brands to make an impact in store and be seen. Millions have been spent by retailers on this season’s Christmas adverts; they are now reliant on the products and brands they range to entice and convert shoppers into customers.

In order to successfully achieve this, all brands should be considering their retail execution at this busy time, especially focusing on education, merchandising and promotion to ‘wow’ shoppers looking for the perfect Christmas gift for themselves or another.

 

Read more at: http://www.innovativeelectricalretailing.co.uk/index.php/high-street-sales-are-booming-say-new-retail-figures/

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A Major Opportunity

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Unlike the CE category, which for many independent retailers has seen a decline in market share of 10 per cent for the first time since measurements began, the market share in major domestic appliances is positively buoyant.

The MDA market has increased by seven per cent over the past year, boosting the independent retailer’s share to around 20 per cent. This is thought to be helped by the growing built-in market, with increasing amounts of new-builds. And let’s not forget home improvement projects, which are also fuelling sales in this category.

This growing demand is beginning to make an impact on independent retailers, with MDAs now making up around 62 per cent of sales in 2015, up from 57 per cent in 2014.

Yet, there are areas in major appliances where indies are struggling compared with the market as a whole. One of these areas is American-style fridge-freezers, where they have a share of only 12 per cent compared with their share of cooling as a whole (19 per cent). This is perhaps because of space limitations when displaying larger models, but it is not to be dismissed as a source of increased revenue and important margin. However, these appliances are not necessarily to everyone’s tastes and, with our ever-decreasing new-build house sizes, are a limited market.

Irrespective of the purchase reason, distress or upgrade, key to selling premium brands and models is the ability to sell both the benefits presented by unique features. But not every purchase need be premium. Consumers may be purchasing a range to furnish a new kitchen and mix and match from the same brand across appliances to increase average sale value. Demonstrate to your customers how you have enabled them to stick to their budget or, better still, achieved perceived savings by purchasing more products than intended with the inclusion of some premium models.

The difference between a retailer selling premium goods and one selling mid-range products is the staff – how they communicate with shoppers – and also how consumers view the retailer itself. Understand customers’ perceived needs irrespective of whether it’s a distress or a considered purchase and find the right product for them. Careful questioning should enable them to identify premium product features that will appeal, and help the customer decide what is right for them. More often than not, customers will go for a premium model if sold correctly.

Consider your sales environment and its suitability to display and promote premium models. Does your showroom allow these products displayed in a manner that does them justice and creates desire to buy? With analysts predicting the total UK market for major domestic appliances to be worth £4.4 billion for 2015/16 and estimated to grow by 1.5 per cent year-on-year through to 2020-21, there is still scope for growth and opportunity.

As a business that focuses exclusively on CE and tech brands, Gekko is able to review consumer spending habits. Those in their 30s and 40s are purchasing the bulk of MDA products, decreasing significantly among those in their 50s. The lowest demographic is those in their 20s, who account for six per cent of the market.

With the MDA market squeezed, especially in crowded categories, it’s interesting to note that the average MDA spend is £328, increasing to over £400 in cooling products. This is driven higher by closing the gap on the premium market, where a Good, Better, Best strategy is applied across a brand. In such instances, we recorded that 64 per cent of purchases were from females at the top end “Best”, 55 per cent in “Better” and 57 per cent in “Good”. Interestingly males were sitting on the fence, with a highest score of 45 per cent buying mid-range “Better” and were not necessarily the influencers when selling premium MDA products.

Mid-range appliances can be the norm, but upselling to premium products should be the aim. With the right store staff, trained to sell in the right way, and the correct environment that reflects a premium proposition, high-end products are within easy reach for many of your sales.

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It’s Black Friday – I’m in love

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With nearly seven out of 10 retailers (68.9 per cent) expecting Black Friday to become more popular over the coming years in the UK and Ireland, it is likely to remain an important retail event for the foreseeable future.

Cast your mind back to the Armageddon-like scenes of 2014 where people literally fought to secure a bargain and, in some cases, bargains they didn’t want or need.

From a brand perspective, retailer or product, how can you tame Black Friday to continue driving excitement while maintaining a positive customer experience?

The fact is that Black Friday is good for all retailers, irrespective of whether you take part or not. Statistics have shown that UK retail footfall year on year for Black Friday 2014 had an increase of 9.8 per cent overall. When broken down into locations, the high street saw a 7.2 per cent rise, shopping centres an 11.3 per cent rise and retail parks a 14.4 per cent rise. This demonstrates an increase in opportunities to sell not only deals, but also stock items.

Advertise your offers in advance and consider a “by invitation only” VIP Black Friday event for your customer database.

Looking online, use social media and your website to pull customers in-store. Local advertising and banners can help your store stand out from the rest, creating an event to enhance the customer experience and drive excitement.

It’s obvious that you need to make sure you have sufficient stock, perhaps also implement a ticketing system, as people who really want an offer won’t mind waiting if it means they get it without the risk of a scuffle. Also, consider your non-bargain-hunters who may just want to shop – the hordes will only discourage your average shopper.

Place bulk-stack deals near the doors, avoiding obvious security risks, and encourage a flow through your store.

Keep the store busy with offers located in prime positions, supported by staff on hand to carry the item to the till or at least make customers aware of the offer to help shift those boxes. Link sales to other items – while a big-screen TV may be appealing, it still needs an HDMI cable and you’re more likely to make that connection sale if it’s also on offer. Better to attach than not.

Your online sales shouldn’t be excluded – 30 per cent of survey respondents plan to buy online during Black Friday 2015, up from the eight per cent who purchased online in 2014.

Still, consider delivery charges, which can negate any profit made for both you and your customer. One key thing to consider is whether your website can keep up with the pressure of increased traffic. In 2014, 12 per cent of shoppers experienced technical issues when purchasing goods online during the rush. If you are planning to run important deals online, preparing your site to handle large numbers of users will prevent lost sales and angry customers.

Big-box retailers and grocers alike court the publicity and will create PR hubs that achieve those sensationalist, headline-grabbing TV images. It’s therefore important to note that if you put on a Black Friday promotion, it isn’t necessarily going to turn into a bloodbath. However, the increase in footfall and sales is evident but, just in case, do make sure you can still sell on the stock after the event.

Finally, how can your brands help support your promotion or even your event? In crowded categories, Black Friday is an opportunity for many brands to gain distribution and market share through selling end-of-line products. For electrical products, GfK measured a value growth rate year on year of 24 per cent and, not surprisingly, 59 per cent week on week. When broken down by category, Black Friday 2014 average sales increased significantly compared with the week before, with mobile sales up 129 per cent, more notably TV was up 103 per cent and audio up 157 per cent.

This clearly identifies the opportunity for electrical retailers with careful selection of products and brands within your core lines. Working in partnership to leverage sales could work to create a more intelligent and rewarding Black Friday experience for retailers, brands and most importantly consumers.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1NYWNuI

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Staff key to a successful peak period

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With last year’s Black Friday generating a 10 per cent increase in footfall compared to previous years, research from Gekko highlights the need to recruit and train in-store brand ambassadors to maximise in-store opportunities for the 2015 peak festive period.

A staggering 50 per cent of shoppers said that there is often not enough staff on the shop floor to help them when making a purchase decision. There is also concern over the manner of in-store staff, with over half (52%) of shoppers complaining that they are too pushy about making a sale.

Despite the growth of online sales, nearly three quarters (74.2%) of shoppers benefit from the touch, feel and physical comparison of products when making purchase decisions. A quarter (26.35%) of shoppers buy in-store when they are purchasing items they need to think about and choose carefully and over half (56.8%) head in-store for advice when making a considered purchase.

Sarah Mandeville, recruitment manager at Gekko believes that staff hold the key to converting sales during the peak-time rush:

“Whether they are full-time or temporary over the peak period, retail staff must demonstrate passion for the product and the ability to make a positive impression on shoppers. In-store is a vital touch-point for consumers, and retailers need to ensure that their staff are trained to maximise every opportunity. In a competitive landscape, which is heightened during peak, a retailer will only get one chance with the consumer.”

To manage the peak-period, here are five important action points for retailers to get the most out of their staff:

1. Allow time for training – Speed is often important when training temporary staff in the run-up to Christmas. However, staff will be more motivated and likely to convert more sales if they are immersed in the role. Take time to build your team’s knowledge and understanding of the brand, company background and product range. In an omnichannel environment, where shoppers can obtain product information using their smartphone, your brand ambassadors must know more than just the product they are selling.

2. Ongoing support – Training shouldn’t just be delivered at the beginning of the peak-period. Once the staff are in place, ongoing revision, recaps and coaching should be continued to keep the team sharp on sales messaging and promotions.

3. Create a team environment – staff may not all work on the same days or in the same locations. Using group chat or social tools such as Facebook or Google Hangouts can help to communicate simultaneously and build communities. To lead the team environment, allocate a mentor as a point of contact to motivate and be contacted at any time.

4. Don’t just motivate with money – Monetary incentives can be short-lived. To motivate the team, it’s worth creating friendly competition with leader boards and prizes. This can be a fun way to build a positive attitude among the workforce.

5. Treat everyone the same – To make employees feel part of the team, employers need to treat temporary staff as though they are full-time employees. Putting effort into training and making temporary staff feel part of a larger team can be a motivating factor for staff in itself.

Read more at: http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-news/research-shows-retailers-could-suffer-over-peak-period-with-lack-of-in-store-staff/2622

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Who Can Save Our Faltering High Streets? Why Not the Mega-Brands?

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The plight of the UK High Street is well-documented. With countless retailers closing and sales figures dwindling year on year, the High Street question is one that many are keen to answer before a great British institution disappears before our eyes. HMV and Jessops were given last-minute reprieves when faced with the gallows, but as we move forward it’s inevitable that more big names will fall upon the hardest of times, with fewer being granted a second chance.
 
There have been a number of solutions mooted as means for saving the High Street. A government minister has also suggested consolidating retail spaces within towns by converting empty units into affordable housing. What’s clear is that initiatives are sorely needed to truly bring life back to dead commercial business districts, so here’s an idea:  Why not ask major brands to sponsor the High Street? Many may feel that it’s perhaps about time corporations demonstrated a bit of social responsibility and gave back to the communities from which they profit so ostensibly.
 
With the point of purchase increasingly becoming ‘any place, any time,’ the emphasis shifts to experience – the need for brands to curate spaces dependent not entirely on sales, but immersive, engaging environments. Environments that consumers can spend time in without any obligation, experience the brand and perhaps become a long-term advocate tied-in on an emotional level.
 
With this in mind, why shouldn’t the biggest brands think bigger? Under the term umbrella branding, the P&Gs, GSKs and Unilevers of the world have all made moves in recent times to bring their masterbrands to the fore and develop a relationship with consumers for the first time in their histories. So why not think beyond single retail units and engage their wider portfolio to create a real immersive experience that also gives back to the community at the same time? Cellular carriers have done this to great effect, as have some CE brands. Of course, I can’t fail to mention Apple, the most profitable retailer by square footage, which Microsoft is presently trying to emulate in the US.
 
Take Unilever, a global masterbrand that has made a concerted effort to place social responsibility at the heart of its operations. Notably, its ‘Sustainable Living Plan’ sits front and centre within the organisation’s modern-day mission and is deemed a ‘strategic response to the challenges our world faces.’ Furthermore, it has partnered with D&AD to create a brand new award, the White Pencil, for the best example of design and creativity that has social good at its core and sets purpose above profit.
 
Unilever has a vast portfolio of brands, including Marmite, Walls, Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Persil to name just a few. According to the figures, it holds over 400 brands worldwide with over two billion consumers using them daily. So why couldn’t they utilize these brands and take over empty retail units? It would both promote the shared ideals and values of the Unilever proposition, but also deliver a unique experience that our towns desperately need.
 
Furthermore, in addition to retail units allocated to various brands within the portfolio, retail space could also be offered to small businesses and students, in order to showcase and sell their products and talents. The current environment makes it challenging for entrepreneurs to start up and an investment from a brand would provide both a valuable platform for budding business owners and also a little bit of hope, too. Plus, such an investment would be a very small price to pay for the opportunity to create a High-Street-wide brand experience.
 
Lastly, much debate has centred upon local communities becoming increasingly homogenized and such a move would go a long way to sparking some life back into our towns. The High Street is so much more than the point of purchase and it’s vital not just to our economy, but also to our society. What better way to engage a community than by injecting some belief, inspiration and positive energy into a struggling economy?
 
Although the burden of responsibility appears to be a hot potato at times, the seeds of social consciences are still sprouting and emerging. It requires bold thinking, indeed, but, in light of tax scandals and ethical controversies, it offers an opportunity for such brands to truly put their money where their mouths are, give back and perhaps change the shape of the High Street for new generations.

Read the full article at http://www.brandingmagazine.com/2013/09/20/mega-brands/

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