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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Sentinel retail signage from Signwaves

Signwaves have been designing and manufacturing double-sided free-standing forecourt signs for over 30 years and set the industry benchmark for design, safety and performance. No Signwaves product comes to market without rigorous testing.

In poster display format, the Sentinel® is available in four stock sizes, A1, 30” x 40”, A0 and 40” x 60”. The largest in the range, for 40” x 60” posters, stands nearly 2m tall and makes for an imposing presence in front of a store. Magnetic edged polycarbonate poster cover sheets are permanently fixed on the top edge with tamper-proof fixings, ensuring poster loss due to bad weather or vandalism is virtually eliminated. Stylish silver borders on the poster cover sheets come as standard but for a more branded forecourt sign, choose a printed poster cover sheet, custom coloured frame or printed back panel for permanent messaging when posters are not in use. You will see Signwaves Sentinel ® forecourt signs working hard for retailers such as large supermarkets, petrol station forecourts and outside car dealerships.

The Sentinel ® Banner option in two standard sizes, 30” x 40” and 40” x 60”, is worth considering if more permanent messaging is required whilst still retaining the ability to update easily. Lower cost than Sentinel Poster it displays a bungee tensioned double-sided flexible PVC printed banner instead of shorter life paper posters. Spare banners with different seasonal messages can be rolled up and stored when not in use. Museums, public buildings and tourist attractions in particular find Sentinel Banner ideally suits their needs when a pavement sign just isn’t big enough.

With recyclability of products at the forefront of our minds, the Sentinel offers a recyclable steel frame, poster cover sheets and black water fillable base.

Both the Sentinel ® and Sentinel ® Banner boast a black water fillable polyethylene base made from recycled materials. With a full base, the 40” x 60” sign weighs a humongous 150kg, offering you peace of mind that your sign will stay standing upright once out in the field!

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: CAEM retail shelving systems


CAEM has over 60 years in the development of flexible, durable and evolutionary retail shelving systems. Not only do we have four standard modular shelving and back of house solutions (with customisations for numerous industries) we also have an in-house engineering and development team that can develop individual items and solutions to your needs.

CAEM are the only manufacturer that can provide shelving to you in over 30 colours to match your brand and merchanising requirements. CAEM also stocks a huge range of complementary accessories to keep your store looking and performing at its best, including: packaging free solutions and even lighting in the form of our Ardente LED systems that are simple to configure and help to both enhance your retail space and highlight specific products.

For shopfitters and retail customers we keep many of our popular systems and accessories in stock in the UK for fast dispatch. You can rely on us to have the components you need, on site when you need them, to the quality you require. We also provide a range of services for our larger customers including: storage, renovation and recycling. This ensures that stock is always there when they need it and ready for dispatch, in their colours, to their specifications.

We manufacture in the UK and pride ourselves on the robustness and flexibility of our solutions. We work closely with our shopfitting customers, so if you are you a retailer in need of an experienced shopfitter we can put you in touch with the right people to make your dream a reality. With thousands of retailers and shopfitters across the world trusting CAEM for their shelving and racking needs, our ranges keep growing and evolving to the needs of these customers. If it doesn’t exist then we can probably make it and add it to one of our ranges.

If you are a shopfitter or retailer then visit our website or get in touch directly for ideas, and solutions to fit your needs and create the perfect retail environment for the end consumer.

Visit the CAEM website.

Switching to LED lights can manage moods and budgets

By Mark Sait (pictured), CEO, SaveMoneyCutCarbon

Studies into the way traditional lighting affects our mood and wellbeing have been ongoing for many years. 

However, breakthroughs in research appear to suggest that emotional intensity could be greater affected by light and colour than previously thought. 

Studies undertaken across the US and elsewhere have found that low lighting doesn’t always have a negative effect on our spirits – and that intense, bright light may do just as much to increase negative emotion as positive feelings.

However, the general consensus is, according to studies carried out in North America, that warmer light encourages warmer feeling. 

This, according to a series of tests, occurs regardless of existing temperature in a room, meaning that the effects could be purely psychological.  In any case, it is extraordinary to think that something as fluid as light balance could have such a huge effect on the way we operate.  

With this data, people may be able to start making more informed choices as to the lighting they choose for their homes and businesses. LED lighting, for example, is not only environmentally-friendly, delivering dramatic energy savings, but possesses none of the light intensity of less efficient systems.

Many of us perhaps don’t understand how much of a difference light can make to our daily lives. These studies show that not only is intense light a massive drain on resources, it may also be impacting the way we work and how easily we unwind.  Therefore, switching to LED isn’t just environmentally sound, it is a cost-saving measure – and, it seems, one which could help to stabilise mood intensity.”

At SaveMoneyCutCarbon we help organisations and homes alike to use water and energy in more sustainable ways, reducing their bills and improving their carbon footprint  

The company’s mission is to help everyday people cut carbon emissions, but without causing detriment to their daily routines – we call it “sustainability without compromise”. We see moving from traditional lighting to LED to be one such switch people can make without detrimental compromise.

I’m keen to propose that LEDs get an unfair rap as far as light intensity is concerned.  Not only does this study data confirm that we can be negatively affected by light strength, it may give weight as to why so many people are restrained in their pursuit of energy-efficient LEDs.

There continues to be misinformation circulating regarding the difference between older energy savings fluorescent bulbs, cheap poor quality version one LED and the quality LED products. Many people believe that switching to LED lighting means having to put up with sharp, piercing light. However, providing you make informed choices, you’ll never be subjected to this kind of intensity.  LEDs are gentle both on the environment and on the user if you know what to buy.

The idea that less light could create negative feeling is unsubstantiated, however, studies continue to suggest that lowering light intensity could turn down your emotions, too.  The same may apply to making the switch to LED technology.  It’s worth noting that the effect of lighting is already well-observed across public buildings and healthcare systems. 

For example, in hospital environments, gentle LEDs may be installed to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in patients awaiting treatment. The same will apply to boosting productivity in office or work spaces, as well as in classrooms.

The human body is amazingly complex, and this study on light effects is just one piece of a larger puzzle that we are only just starting to understand.  Therefore, it remains to be said that research will likely be ongoing.  Even the most cool-headed of people are still affected by emotions during intensive tasks, and it appears that metering this could be as simple as making the leap to LED.

It’s another reason why we feel that making the switch from everyday lighting to softer, energy-conserving LEDs is an all-around fantastic choice.

Not only will it save you money, it’ll likely help to improve your mood.  What’s more, it’ll help to reduce the amount of carbon being pushed back out into our atmosphere. There are no negative takeaways.

Download the LED Lighting guide here.


The future of UK retail – Brexit and beyond

By Tejas Dave, Founder and CEO of eBusiness Guru and Avasam

It’s tough out there for retailers right now. Brexit is causing all kinds of concerns – just this week we heard of Domino’s spending £7 million to stockpile ingredients.

Whether you’re a leaver or a remainer, just the uncertainty is causing havoc with spending. In July, average retail sales to July rose by just 0.5% – and that’s a new record low.

Brexit aside, it’s still tough. UK spending growth is at a low, and companies are entering administration regularly – more than we expected possible. Even household names we might expect to be doing well are demanding reductions on their rent. Even Primark, which continues to thrive, is demanding rent reductions – though this is in response to those with CVAs. 

Many media outlets are decrying eCommerce for the decline of the high street. eCommerce businesses can provide lower prices due to lower overheads, and greater convenience, with next-day home delivery in many cases. But eCommerce has been growing for over twenty years – it’s hardly a surprise that was sprung on the high street overnight. Not only that, some retailers continue to grow – Primark makes huge profits without even having an eCommerce presence. And consumers are in fact still spending – eCommerce sales are expected to exceed £184 billion in the UK in 2019.

So what’s the solution? With greater overheads, without cutting margins razor thin, how can the UK high street survive? Even without facing these difficulties, retailers needed to look to their future, by taking their cue from eCommerce. Going forward, eCommerce isn’t the enemy – and in fact, could be the saviour of the UK high street.

Taking a blended, omnichannel approach will help customers remain engaged with retailers. Even Amazon is working to create offline locations – just look at Amazon Go! We’re not saying that all retailers should try to emulate their business model – clearly that isn’t possible. But by increasing offerings and services, bricks and mortar retailers can remain popular with customers.

These partnerships can be mutually beneficial between online and offline retailers. Where high street locations aren’t economically viable for businesses, creating partnerships can enhance the customer experience and profits all round.

Consider a small high street retailer who partners with an eCommerce company that aligns with their brand values. They might keep very limited stock for certain items, with more stock available to be DropShipped directly to customer homes. The customer sees the item and decides to buy it. The store then places the order and takes payment. Their eCommerce partner sends the order the same day, to arrive the next day.

The customer benefits from the arrangement because:  

·       They’ve made sure they want the product

·       They can speak to an advisor

·       They know their order was placed successfully

·       They don’t have to put their card details into a website

·       They know which day their order will be delivered

·       They don’t need to be confident with using technology

This arrangement is great for customers who prefer to shop offline. Both retailers benefit – and chances are, the customer bought another item while they were in-store too. Even if they didn’t it’s likely with a positive experience, they’ll return to make further purchases.

If the retail location can process returns too, they see increased footfall and in-store sales. Customers receive an enhanced experience from both brands, and the eCommerce company receives more sales, faster returns and reduced costs.

Further application of technology can provide bricks and mortar retailers with more options to increase footfall. Click and collect sales are expected to account for 61.2% of spend by 2022. Whether that’s through partnerships or through lockers in-store, that’s a lot of potential to work with.

Partnering with eCommerce businesses isn’t the only way retailers with outlets can diversify their offerings though. Consumers are becoming accustomed to ordering a wide range of products in one place. High street retailers can capitalise on this. A reciprocal arrangement might provide an EPOS point showing stock a partner across town has. The point might have various options – for click and collect, home delivery and different payment options.

There isn’t a magic solution to save the high street. But the government is aware, and is looking at changing the planning system to help. Brexit will happen, one way or another. But with the right application of technology, and thinking creatively, retailers can adapt and secure their growth into the future.

About the Author

Tejas Dave, Founder and CEO of eBusiness Guru and Avasam, has been helping eCommerce businesses worldwide since 2010. Evasam is a platform that allows wholesalers and sellers to collaborate. Tejas is revolutionising the shipping industry and creating a new level of financial stability with the aim of creating 5,000+ jobs within the UK. Tejas is using technology and automation to provide solutions to e commerce challenges by removing the limitations that are currently placed on what and where people can sell.

Brands shouldn’t let sustainability take a back seat in retail strategy – here’s why…

By Dan Williams, Founder and Managing Director at 100% Group

No-one ever said creating a retail strategy for a global brand was easy. Today, it’s tougher than ever. 

As they fight for growth in ever-more saturated markets, brands face fast-evolving social trends, a volatile political climate, and unpredictable trading conditions. In plotting the path ahead through this complex mix of issues, it can be easy for brands to let sustainability take a back seat. 

But is that the most sensible approach?

The evidence suggests that building sustainability into a brand isn’t just good for the planet; it’s good for business too. As consumers become better educated about sustainability, they become more concerned about the ethics of their products. They want to engage with and buy from brands that both talk about sustainability and prove their commitment with practical actions. 

This view was confirmed by a recent survey we conducted with 200 retail professionals, the results of which show most of those questioned believe building sustainability into a brand offers huge potential.

Questioning also revealed, however, that many brands were not exploiting this potential – leaving the field wide open for those that do.

Our research found that sustainability is a driving force for sales and brand engagement, with 86% of respondents saying that the issue is important to customers when making a buying decision.  

When asked how important it was to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in different aspects of a brand, respondents ranked in-store elements relatively highly:  67% (the highest number) of respondents said it is either critical or very important to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable packaging and 61% to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable retail displays. 

This isn’t surprising, as both packaging and display have an immediate impact on the sales experience. Respondents stated, for example, that a planned and implemented retail display increases sales by 30%, profits by 28% and footfall/traffic by 25%. 97% of those questioned said that retail displays were important for sales in general.

For the wider aspects of the brand – product manufacturing, distribution, branding and marketing – figures for the importance of demonstrating a commitment to sustainability were also significant: between 52% and 63% of respondents rated this as either critical or very important for each aspect.

Though these figures are positive, none come close to reflecting the headline finding that nearly nine out of ten respondents believe sustainability is important in buying decisions.  There is a similar mismatch in terms of the clear benefits people expect an environmental sustainability policy to provide and the number of people who say their brand has such a policy in place.

Expected benefits were an average increase of 20% in footfall in-store, 21% in profits, and 23% in sales. Despite these potential rewards, however, only 69% of respondents said their brand had an environmental policy. 10% said they didn’t know if their brand had a policy or not.

These figures show a clear disconnect between what people believe will make a difference and what they do in practice. The discrepancy highlights that there is plenty of space in the market for those keen to put sustainability at the heart of their brand and use it to connect with customers.

Brands that do choose to put a focus on sustainability must, of course, do so as a genuine initiative rather than a marketing ploy. The importance of trust in keeping customers loyal has been widely recognised. Brands present false sustainability credentials at their peril. When businesses claim one thing and do another, customers – quite rightly – feel cheated. And a customer who feels cheated is rather less likely to support or engage with the brand on social media or to buy the brand’s products. 

When planning strategy, businesses may not be able to second guess the future. But by aligning their brand with current customer concerns, they can give themselves a strong competitive advantage. In a world of fake news and daily revelations of dishonest practices, we’re all looking for organisations we can trust to do the right thing. For a growing number of customers choosing which brands to support, the ‘right thing’ is a commitment to sustainability combined with an honest approach to the issues. 

And – as the survey shows – opportunities are there for the taking. 

It’s always been important for brands to evolve in response to customer requirements. In today’s crowded market places, this responsiveness is ever-more critical – yet many brands are still underestimating the importance of sustainability as a sales driver. In doing so, they risk losing market share.

That market share will go instead to those who understand their customers better: brands that embrace the issue of sustainability and make buying their products the easy choice for customers searching for the ethical option.

In store security in focus

Rising crime, specifically violent crime, is a concern for every retailer. Staff are well trained. Stores are alarmed and often linked to 24 hour monitoring services. But is that enough?

Real-time communication between staff is already proven to reduce shoplifting; adding instant access to security expertise provides another level of staff protection.

As Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains, when faced with an incident, staff with wireless headsets can communicate not only with their colleagues across the store but also directly with the security experts at the monitoring service to gain essential assurance and instruction.

Violent Threat

Retailers take staff safety incredibly seriously, but how should companies respond to the latest retail crime figures from the British Retail Consortium? Not only is crime rising but attacks are increasingly violent, involving not only knives and guns but also syringes, even tasers; while threatening behaviour is also on the rise.

This article originally appeared on Total Security Briefing – Click here to continue reading.

How is retail using personalisation to regain offline market appeal?

Shopping habits have changed, and many customers have abandoned the historic weekend saunter down the high street in favour of convenient, online alternatives.

These days, brands must go above and beyond to ensure footfall in their physical stores. Modern marketing strategies must tailor their approach and face the challenge of how to regain offline market appeal. But, just how are they achieving this? Let’s take a look in our guide below…

Personalisation can enhance the buying experience

A recent study found that 75% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy from a brand which recognizes them by name, or that recommends them products based on previous purchases. Analytics can provide customer information which assists with personalisation, and this is key to building brand loyalty.

The iconic jeweler Tiffany and Co. brought a breath of fresh air to the opening of their Covent Garden store, creating a ‘Style Studio’ where they sell more than just their luxury jewels. Homeware and accessories have been added to the range, to give the brand a better positioning in the everyday life of their customers, found within the exquisite on brand studio, finished in the company’s classic duck egg blue.

Further features such as a personalisation station called #MakeItTiffany where customers can get jewellery items engraved. The aesthetic of the store also targets the Instagram generation of younger shoppers, and the store is an experience within itself. 

Back to basics to capture the offline audience

The travel retail industry has taken a notable hit in recent years, as the age-old tradition of visiting a high street agent has become a thing of the past. With companies such as Airbnb and a plethora of agents taking their businesses online, physical travel agents have had to think of innovative ways to retain the holiday booking experience as an offline task.

Virgin Holidays have taken this on board and created a string of concept stores to revitalise the booking experience. The stores include mocked up airplane cabins and virtual reality technologies to take customers on a simulated tour of a destination. By playing on sensory features, Virgin are capitalising on the ‘real’ elements which are far harder for digital to replicate. They have essentially gone back to basics, providing a friendly, visual experience in order to help trigger conversions.

This exemplifies the fact that certain personalisation methods in retail are exclusive to the offline space, and  22%of younger and older families still book their holiday in store which proves the value. 

Striking a balance between offline and online

Shops may all be flocking to digital platforms, but some are choosing to buck the trend and take their personalised services back to where it all began. Before the age of department stores and supermarkets, stores were small and independent, which made for strong rapports with customers.

However, the emergence of large, modern stores made shopping a far less sociable activity. When online furniture and homeware retailer decided to take a leap of faith and open a physical store, they kept this concept at the heart of their plans.

The recently relaunched Soho London showroom captured the best of both worlds, from QR codes to assist in locating products to staff lead workshops for customers to attend. By doing so, they struck the perfect balance between the offline and online world.

Knowing your customers and help encourage sales

Much personalisation comes from purely knowing your customers, and companies such as Joules offer targeted discounts to coincide with sales and shopping events, including Black Friday. By providing the relevant discounts, customers are more likely to feel drawn towards a purchase as the offer is based on their previous buying habits with the brand.

Urban Outfitters use their reward scheme to dish out points to shoppers, even just by paying a visit to the store. Incentives like these can provide the fuel for a conversion, as well as a trip to the shops. Many stores offer memberships or points cards, which offer regular treats or an annual vouchers provide the motivation for a purchase, as simple as it might sound!

Overall, retailers are rejuvenating their approaches to retail, with a new degree of personalisation. Human elements are the most difficult to replicate online, therefore retail is effectively playing to its own advantage by boosting the presence of personalisation by creating a shopping experience which is tailored to the customer. 

Article produced by Where The Trade Buys, UK based suppliers of personalised travel mugswith a high quality finish.

FM financing – The key to saving our High Streets?

By Rob Marriott, Marketing & Strategic Bid Director at SPIE UK

The recent news about Debenhams falling into administration is just another nail in the coffin for the British High Street. Part of the problem can be attributed to retailers’ legacy estates. Swelling rents, wage hikes, long lease periods and aging property in urgent need of upgrading are all contributing factors.

However, retailers are struggling to find budget to overcome these problems. 

Sometimes heralded as the panacea, new smart technology installed throughout shops, warehouses etc. would give retailers additional useful data which could help them manage their operations more efficiently. Benefits of this approach could include reducing how much energy is used, improving staff wellbeing, implementing predictive maintenance and enhancing the customer experience, which would all help contribute to lowering long-term operating costs. Unfortunately, organisations are being held back in the short term by the hefty up-front costs that this sort of technology investment requires, as well as the need to provide leadership teams with a robust business case for its installation. 

The article originally appeared on FM Briefing – Click here to continue reading…

GUEST BLOG: Retailers need digital strategies to address the change in the way we shop

Grant Coleman, VP and Market Director, UK, SC and MEA, Emarsys

For the past decade, many brands have sought to create online shopping experiences to match, or even outdo, their in-store counterparts. Typically, this often consisted of activity specifically targeted at peak online shopping days or around one-off offers, causing a shift in how many British consumers opt to shop. So what differences are retailers experiencing and how can they react?

Combining the offline and online worlds

It’s certainly not straightforward for in-store retailers to keep up with the ease of online shopping, so the key to success is bringing them together to unify their online and offline customer experiences. By no fault of their own, a store’s retail staff can’t even tell on first glance whether that person has even ever shopped with the brand before. But when that same person visits the website, the experience can be automatically personalized. Offers, product recommendations, inventory, and other specific customer preferences populate within milliseconds — and be optimised to the screen size of the device they’re using, time of visit, location and language. Essentially, the online journey is geared to create an experience that’s pre-loaded with knowledge of previous browsing and buying behaviour.

The reason why this hybrid buying journey is becoming ever more important is down to the ubiquitous presence of technology. The rise of online and mobile shopping has not just changed how we shop – it’s reinvented the entire customer experience from end-to-end. For instance, according to our research, nearly two thirds (64%) of online shoppers are put off by shipping costs, which partly explains why nearly half (40%) of purchases are made through a combination of offline and online behaviour.

Optimising the offline experience, not just the online

Retailers like French beauty brand Sephora have successfully launched applications that seek to drive both online and offline sales through an interactive feature. Their app essentially attaches a service to their in-store offering by supplying its customers with tutorials on new makeup application techniques, often featuring selfies uploaded by users directly from their smartphones. Aside from its community-building impact, the app helps users to recreate Sephora’s in-store makeover looks, while also driving them to the nearest store thanks to beacon alerts, effectively unifying online behaviours with offline interactions. 

The rise of on-demand commerce, and the resultant expansion in the retail logistics industry has facilitated incredibly fast delivery turnaround times. This trend towards convenience is particularly evident amongst shoppers, who are notorious procrastinators.

Using physical dominance to boost your online operation

However, given consumers’ aforementioned concerns around shipping costs, retailers are looking to reflect their physical dominance with online cues. They play on a shoppers desire for instant gratification by driving offline action while users are online shopping; “Want it NOW? This item is in stock at a store X miles from you”. This alleviates the delay incurred by shipping times.

The brands leading the way in these connected experiences understand the value of connecting different facets of the experience and in fact, bringing the offline world online. Still, too many retailers simply have a mobile app or they have a mobile-responsive website. They need a digital strategy which incorporates all platforms in order to succeed.

Opting for omnichannel to deliver personalised customer experiences

Brands are moving slowly but surely away from multichannel initiatives into omnichannel or channel-agnostic initiatives oriented around the customer. For brands to remain relevant and keep up with ever-changing consumer trends, we’ll need to see a collective, industry-wide shift towards embracing omnichannel strategies that bring rich data from physical stores together with the abundance of available digital data provides a perfect case for this approach to be put into practice, and this year the best-performing online retailers factor the in-person experiences that help inform our shopping habits and shape our overall interactions with brands into their strategies. Marketers that do this will be able to create holistic buying experiences that drive and reward customer loyalty and induce customer retention for years to come. 

Security cameras: The future of retail sales strategy?

Ask somebody what they immediately think about when someone mentions CCTV and their mind often jumps to the idea of; being watched, invasion of privacy or even the phrase ‘Big Brother’, writes Andy Martin, Vertical Segment Leader at Morphean

The tussle between security over privacy remains, but there are new benefits that may be changing the balance in favour of the “security camera.”

Take a look at retail for example. Retail brands are fighting on all fronts to establish an understanding of and a connection to their customers.  Omni channel retailers need to understand the role of their stores in their overall sales strategy, and brands still compete against each other and pureplay retailer for sales.

Could security cameras actually be the secret to their survival? With new technologies developing all the time, it seems that CCTV could be the silver bullet that the high street was looking for this whole time…

This article originally appeared on Security Briefing – Click here to continue reading.

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