Jack Wynn, Author at The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum - Page 2 of 11
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Jack Wynn

Blog: Toby Cruse: Amazon’s ‘Death Star’ to Take the Skies

Currently, if you want a package delivered from the Amazon’s airborne courier system in the UK, you need to have a large garden live near an Amazon delivery depot and want a very light package, but that’s looking to change.

The service, known as Prime Air, made its first successful touchdown in December, taking just 13 minutes between placing the order and arriving in the user’s back garden just outside of Cambridge.

While the online commercial giant has barely left the ground yet, plans have already been put forward to take the company to greater heights.

Discovered by CB Insight’s Zoe Leavitt, the new patents reveal ‘airborne warehouses’ designed to hang in the sky at 45,000 ft.

Described by Leavitt as Amazon’s very own “Death Star,” the patents also seemingly show designs of multi-purpose docking stations that could be built onto lamp posts, as well as buildings and other structures.

Using communication links known as a ‘Mesh Network,’ the drones will be able to transmit data between each other to send alerts of their environments.

Factors from how clear the weather is to the distance of a customer are hoped to be tackled by these airships, or “airborne fulfilment centres,” which would be able to travel to calmer climates as well as to hotspots where the service is in more greater demand.

The UK laws on drone piloting are continuing to evolve as they become more and more popular, but they currently do not allow for flying over or within 150m of congested areas, or within 50m of any vessel, structure or vehicle not controlled by the pilot.

However, even with these laws the UK is considered much more lenient than many countries. American drone users, for example, required a licence and a special waiver from the Federal Aviation Authority until August last year.

So far the Prime Air sounds very compelling for the 2 customers close enough to an Amazon warehouse to be viable, especially since the service doesn’t cost any more than the customers are already paying, but whether or not your orders are going to be sent to you gift-wrapped from the clouds in the near future is still up in the air.

Forum Insight: 10 ways to succeed at networking events…

Walking into an event room full of people you don’t know can be a scary experience. However, there are proven ways to conquer this fear and make networking an enjoyable and a useful process to do business. Here, we share 10 of the best practices to eradicate those networking nerves.

  1. Plan ahead: Try to obtain the attendee list in advance and highlight the people you would like to meet. On arrival, contact the event organiser and say who you are trying to connect with. If they get the chance, an introduction between yourself and the other party will be made upon arrival. It might also be beneficial to go to the registration area to ask if one of your selected visitors has arrived.
  1. Get there early: If you are one of the first to arrive, it is much easier to strike up a conversation with a small group of people.
  1. Most people are in the same position: If you do not know anyone else attending, it’s good to prepare a few opening questions: ‘Any particular presentation you’re looking forward to hearing today?’; ‘What brought you to this event?’
  1. Join a group: Approaching a group of attendees already in full conversation is a daunting prospect. So be bold, confident, and simply ask: “May I join the conversation? I’ve just arrived and I’m keen to learn what’s going on.”
  1. Build interesting conversation: Ask topical and relevant questions to the specific event. Be a good listener and don’t dominate the conversation with your own stories and business ideas.
  1. Be helpful: Share your knowledge of the industry, your contacts and sources of information. If people perceive you as an experienced and knowledgeable professional, they will want to keep in contact and maintain a relationship.
  1. Use your business card as a tactical weapon: I have a friend who renovates old wooden floors, so his business card is made of a thin piece of wood and has proven to be a guaranteed conversation starter. Be imaginative with the design and the job title displayed. Anything that says ‘sales’ or ‘business development’ could cause people to fear a sales pitch is on the way. So try and think of a job title that encourages a productive conversation.
  1. Receiving business cards: Be sure to make notes on the back to remind you of the conversation and the person. This could become much use in future interactions.
  1. Following up: If you engaged in constructive conversation with an attendee and have agreed to follow up after the event, then set a preferred method of contact and make sure to do so promptly.
  1. What not to do: Sales pitches, even if you’re asked ‘what does your company do’, keep your answer to a very brief explanation. Don’t ‘work the room’ rushing from group to group as this is not the way to form business relationships. It’s better to have had four good conversations than a dozen meaningless chats.

Words by Paul Rowney, director at Forum Events Ltd.

Waitrose wins strongest Christmas email campaign title…

The email service provider Mailjet has revealed that Waitrose is ahead of its competitor supermarkets in the email campaign stakes, analysing key metrics including the chain’s subject lines, automation, cross-channel marketing and personalisation.

Reaching a total score of 21.3 points out of an available 29.0, this marks the second consecutive victory for Waitrose in the study and represents a significant improvement on the supermarket’s performance from last year, rising 10 per cent overall.

Mid-market brands Tesco and Asda closely followed Waitrose’s success, hitting 20.0 and 19.9 respectively, however, Marks & Spencer struggled to compete scoring just 17.4 in total.

With regards to emails prospecting new consumer audiences, the research places Morrisons and Sainsbury’s joint last as both failed to send any communications to consumers who haven’t yet purchased through their online shopping platforms.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet said: “Consumers buy from the brands they build emotional connections with, particularly during the Christmas season. With low scores in critical areas for digital marketing like personalisation and automation, many supermarkets are not making the most of their emails to engage consumers with powerful storytelling.

As Mailjet suggests there has been much discussion on the importance of campaign personalisation this year, just two of the total eight supermarkets surveyed registered a score above 0.0. Specifically, Asda fell short on the top spot for its lack of personalisation, losing five points by omitting any room to add personal messaging to the email in favour of a singularly product-focused, visual structure.

Scotchmer added: “Winning greater share of the market in run up to Christmas holiday relies on having an online and offline campaign that fires on all cylinders. There are opportunities for all of these brands to learn from one another and broaden their use of digital strategies to engage and build loyalty with consumers at this critical period in the retail calendar.”

1,500 jobs to be created by ASOS over the next three years…

The online fashion retailer ASOS has confirmed it will introduce 1,500 new positions at its Camden headquarters over the next three years, adding to its current workforce of 2,500.

The company is expected to spend an estimated £38 million on hiring experienced professionals in the marketing, technology, editorial content and retail buying fields as it aims to double its sales over the next five years; in addition to investing a further £40 million on developing a 40,000 sq ft space to accommodate the extra employees.

Read more from The Telegraph here

Amazon Go store concept could enter the UK market…

Amazon’s “revolutionary” checkout-free stores are set to make an introduction to the UK market after reports claim the company registered for a trademark on December 5.

The eCommerce giant has already opened its first brick and mortar concept grocery store in Seattle earlier this month, where Amazon employees are able to use the Amazon Go app to shop for goods without engaging in a paying process while in-store.

Now, according to industry reports, the concept may be making its way to the UK market, and British shoppers with an Amazon Prime account will soon be able to see the “ground-breaking” shopping experience for themselves.  

Although the retailer is yet to officially confirm these plans, a number of retail analysts have predicted that this concept could jeopardise three quarters of grocery store jobs. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) have also suggested that a third of the UK’s three million shop jobs could disappear within a decade.

It comes after the e-tailer was criticised by Scotland’s leader of the Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, claiming the company has maintained “intolerable working conditions” at its Dunfermline warehouse.

Bazaarvoice partners with The Insiders for ‘impactful’ product reviews…

Bazaarvoice has announced its partnership with the global shopper advocacy network, The Insiders to create ‘impactful’ product reviews for retailers, brands and consumers as part of its Content Acquisition Partner Program (CAPP).

Working together as partners, product reviews written by The Insiders as part of client campaigns are aligned into the Bazaarvoice Network that syndicates the reviews to thousands of retail and brand websites around the world; allowing marketers to generate and display product reviews faster on retail websites immediately after a product launches.

With access to more than 10 million consumer advocates (people dedicated to protecting and promoting consumer welfare and rights), Insiders SmartReviews® claims to tap into an engaged community consisting of ‘word of mouth’ ambassadors to generate authentic online reviews.

Bjorn Cassier, CEO and founder of The Insiders said: “With 95 per cent of shoppers consulting peer reviews during their purchasing journey, according to Forrester Research, shopper to shopper storytelling and recommendations are currency to enable better product decisions faster and influence their purchase.

“We’re excited to partner with Bazaarvoice, leveraging the authentic feedback and stories of our global shopper word of mouth network even further.”

Reaching more than 25 countries, members of the CAPP are able to regulate content from shoppers’ experience and recommendations during their purchase journey on a regional and global basis.

Aaron Bollinger, vice president of Partnerships at Bazaarvoice added: “Quality consumer-generated content fuels the Bazaarvoice Network. We are excited to collaborate with The Insiders to offer clients an expanded toolkit for collecting more content to power their CGC programs, which has already proven to drive great results for our clients.”

Industry Spotlight: Shopping centre extensions accounting for larger retail space expansion…

More than 2.7m sq ft of new retail space is due to open in UK shopping centre developments next year. However, more than half of that space is made up of extending existing centres. Sarah Davis, associate director at 3d Architects, looks at why…

According to research from global property group CBRE, there’s been 4 per cent year-on-year drop in new shopping space globally. But the number of shopping centre extensions is up, by around 50 per cent year-on-year, as centre owners invest in existing malls. This is particularly true of more mature retail markets in Western Europe, such as the UK.

New retail space from shopping centre openings and revamps in Britain are actually set to reach a four-year high in 2017, according to the UK Shopping Centre Development Report released last month by commercial property agents Cushman & Wakeman.

The spike in retail space will be driven by six new developments, the largest being the 580,000 sq ft Lexicon in Bracknell. However over half of the new space will be made up of eight extensions and redevelopments of existing shopping centres.

These extensions include the 740,000 sq ft extension at Westfield London to make it the largest shopping centre in Europe and the revamped Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford, adding 488,600 sq ft of new space.

So what is driving this move towards more investment in improving existing centres rather than new builds? Let’s look at the factors working against new builds, before considering the trends fuelling the need for existing centres to expand and improve.

 

THE CASE AGAINST BUILDING NEW SHOPPING CENTRES

The economic risks

The first and most obvious reason is the additional risk and cost of establishing a new build project and taking it through the development process.

It takes a long time for a new shopping centre to come to fruition – typically between 10-20 years. Developers don’t want to hit the building stage during the depths of the recession, so ideally want a stable economic environment and prospect of a prolonged boom to forge ahead.

Although markets are not as bleak as in 2008’s recession, the increased political uncertainty around the world has impacted economic confidence and stability in the short to medium term.

This uncertainty may also stall consumer confidence and cause a slowdown in spending.

Additionally, the rise in online shopping is leading to reduced footfall for retailers with physical shops. So although the number of retailers has grown if you include online outlets, consumer demand has not, which means a potential oversupply.

The lack of new space

In our small and already overcrowded country, the supply of ample land suitable for new retail developments is also becoming more scarce, or much more complicated to bring together. By refurbishing or extending existing centres, planning permission is much easier to achieve and it also fulfils the landlord’s need to keep their offer fresh in an ever competitive retail environment.

The lure of ample space was what originally motivated retailers to move away from the constrictions of the city high street towards large out-of-town shopping centres, such Lakeside, Bluewater, Metro Centre and Meadowhall. This space allowed free parking, easy access and more room to service and deliver the experiences demanded by the modern shopper.

Though these spatial benefits still stand, size is no longer everything and offering the biggest spaces isn’t the only means to attract shoppers. That’s why existing centres are upping their game to increase their pull – to entice shoppers from further afield and away from their computers.

 

THE CASE FOR IMPROVING EXISTING CENTRES

Creating an more appealing environment for shoppers

One reason shopping centres successfully attract shoppers, and in turn satisfy retailers, compared to the high street is that they deliver an appealing and cohesive shopping experience.

Installing large department stores, such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer as anchors traditionally worked well on the footfall front. But shoppers are now also looking for more variety so adding ‘new’ brands, experiential events and leisure facilities enhance the ‘destination’ appeal of a shopping centre and get visitor numbers up.

Centres under single ownership are best placed to deliver the additional facilities that shoppers demand. This helps to increase footfall, dwell time and loyalty to the benefit of all retailer occupants.  For the landlord, adding these new facilities maximises value from land they already own, reducing land costs and increasing the yield on that existing development.

Intu – the owner, manager and developer of prime regional shopping centres in the UK such as Gateshead’s Metrocentre and London’s Lakeside – is one operator doing this successfully. For each of its centres, it produces lifestyle magazines, seasonal promotion events and fashion workshops to add appeal for shoppers – as well as adding new leisure facilities.

Combining shopping with dining and leisure

What is common to these shopping centre expansions is the increasing amount of new space dedicated to leisure facilities, as owners look to address the latest retail trend. According to recent figures, almost a fifth of units in the UK’s top 30 shopping centres are leisure focused to help drive the next generation of customer engagement.

Leisure, shopping and dining are becoming inexorably linked, with eating or socialising becoming as much of a reason to visit a shopping centre as buying goods.

Indeed, recent findings by CBRE revealed that a third of all visitors to shopping centres across Europe, South Africa and the Middle East will visit a shopping centre just to eat or drink. According to this research, four out of 10 will then go on to shop, even if their original reason for visiting the centre was to eat or drink.

Evolving consumer shopping habits and working patterns has also influenced when people visit malls. According to an intu survey, two in five people are now going to a shopping centre during the week, as opposed to the weekend. So leisure activity is helping to justify extending the shopping day and centre opening hours.

Confirmation of this leisure trend can be seen in the latest proposals submitted last month for extending Meadowhall shopping centre on the outskirts of Sheffield. A £60m renovation project is already underway and the centre owned by British Land is now wants to invest £300m in a new 330,000 sq ft leisure hall.

This extension will provide entertainment and dining offerings to help the shopping centre become a more experience-led destination. Proposals include creating a new outdoor dining terrace plus replacing the existing cinema, adding a gym and a flexible leisure space for indoor golf or ten-pin bowling.

The arrival of big leisure operators

Considering this trend, large leisure operators are playing a bigger role within shopping centres. Intu Trafford Centre already has a Legoland Discovery and Sea Life Centre and intu Lakeside has announced plans to introduce Nickelodeon’s first UK shopping centre attraction.

This family entertainment centre will form part of intu Lakeside’s 225,000 sq ft leisure extension due to open in 2018, featuring adventure zones, attractions and themed rooms designed for kids’ birthday parties, as well as a dedicated dining area and retail space.

In conclusion, what’s clear is that consumer needs are getting more complex and demanding, so building more enticing layers of appeal onto already established shopping centres may be a quicker and easier route to attract customers. Thereby generating higher footfall, greater consumer spend and return rate for retailers and shopping centres.

If you are a retailer or shopping centre owner looking for advice on how to maximise value from your retail offering, please get in touch with us.

3d Architects Ltd

Tel: 01908 325230

Email: enquiries@3darchitects.co.uk

Guest Blog, Milana Saric: The retailer’s guide to last minute Christmas social advertising…

The Christmas holiday season is often far from the most wonderful time of year for retail marketers. Sales success can seem as elusive as finding the perfect gift for the pickiest person on your gift list.

Pressure around holiday marketing builds for good reasons. Many retailers make more than half of their sales and profits in the three months leading up to Christmas. In 2015, UK holiday sales rose by 2.3 per cent from £74.26 billion to £75.96 billion, buoyed by the growth of events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With consumers facing seasonal messages and advertisements from all directions, it takes careful planning to execute campaigns that will break through the noise. It’s important to provide a seamless cross-channel experience because, in the UK, 70 per cent of social media time is spent on smartphones. And you’ll have to spend. The days of relying on organic social media to deliver your message are long gone. To convert specific audiences into buyers you will need paid social media: the vastness of its reach, its finely tuned targeting and array of compelling ad units.

To boost your social advertising for the final weeks, here are some tips on making your social Christmas campaigns sing like the King’s College Choir:

Timing

Even though we’re close to Christmas, online is at its peak, and is still a key time for driving awareness and increasing product consideration. With the extra time off, consumers are in a much more relaxed state-of-mind; and will spend more time browsing and shopping online.

Pinterest is an important tool during this phase of the season, with audiences using the platform to plan their holiday activities, as well as to research and bookmark gifts for themselves, family, and friends. Facebook and Instagram are additional platforms to reach audiences at scale and drive them to your site to browse.

Pre-Test

In the final run-up to Christmas there’s a huge opportunity to test. See which products and messaging audiences respond to in order to focus on top-performers when sales start. Leverage the audiences you have already driven to your site and dynamically retarget users based on product pages they have viewed. Put the right items in front of shoppers at the right time.

Messaging

Throughout, focus on driving awareness and engagement by promoting valuable content that’s shareable. Then move people further down the funnel with consideration and conversion-led content with strong calls-to-action that will prompt them to act on their purchase intent. From Black Friday onwards, an important sales period – and a lot of retailers are still continuing the discounts, messaging should be much more conversion-focused.

On Pinterest, build content that is helpful and informative. Focus on how your brand’s products and services solve challenges for consumers. For instance, you could have Pins with themes such as ‘6 office party outfits’, ‘Tips for buying wearables for your loved one’, or ‘Party planning guide.’

For Twitter, create infographics that include valuable sale shopping tips. This kind of shareable content will increase engagement as well as organic reach. Capitalise on the season’s buzz by using tweets to tap into live conversations about the holidays.

Snapchat’s Snap Ads, completely viewable, full-screen video, provide an extremely powerful video experience. Capture attention with short, concise video (3-7 seconds) that showcases your key holiday brand story.

Don’t be afraid to run experiments. Splashes of colour can have thumb-stopping power so play around with various options without compromising your brand identity. A/B test ad types against one another depending on your goals.

Targeting

Target users based on their online and offline purchase behaviour with third-party audiences from data providers such as Datalogix and Acxiom. These audiences can be synched to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and activated across your campaigns.

Start with broad targeting and narrow down the audiences once you’ve gathered sufficient learning. Use CRM data to re-engage lapsed customers and ensure they are aware of your latest offering and/or promotions.

Develop a retargeting strategy to leverage audiences that have recently visited or purchased from your website or engaged with your brand’s content on social media.

Tap into custom audience segments offered by social platforms and third-party data providers for targeting. Snapchat is one platform that has released audience categories – Snap Lifestyle Categories – to reach users based on how they engage on the platform. These include fashion and style gurus, film and TV fans, foodies, sports fans, and more.

Ad Formats

Video is the most powerful way to drive awareness for products/services and is no longer just a landscape experience. Snapchat led the way with vertical video, a format that allows a brand to take up 100 per cent screen share-of-voice. Facebook has also begun to offer a vertical video unit.

For online sales, use Facebook’s lead ad and Twitter’s lead generation unit to grow awareness for a sale and incentivise users to subscribe to receive information.

In terms of increasing product consideration, ad formats such as Carousel Ads on Facebook and Instagram and multi-product tweets on Twitter are very effective in showcasing multiple products and enabling storytelling. Promoted Pins are powerful because so many users actively save Pins to come back to the content later. They’re also a huge traffic-driver, so use keyword targeting to ensure users searching and planning on Pinterest find your products.

 

Milana Saric is the client strategy director, EMEA at Adaptly and has a wealth of experience helping advertisers to execute digital marketing strategies and drive brand awareness on social media. She is responsible for clients across the entertainment, fashion and retail sectors.

Guest Blog, Leon Edwards: Is this the last Christmas before online takes over?

It would have been hard to miss a retail story in the pages of last January’s news outlets. It’s not difficult to foresee the same for this New Year given the next eight weeks will be critical to many UK retailers. We’ve just seen Black Friday come and go, and the countdown to Christmas has just begun. If you read market analysts’ comments, their respective prediction is an 11 per cent growth on last year for both events an important statistic in itself when considering the beleaguered high street and its various woes; watch out the retailer that gets Christmas wrong.

Of greater importance to our brick and mortar stores is the continued rise of online sale. Black Friday, the sometimes maniacal, always bargained ladened US-style event, takes internet shopping to new heights. In 2015, estimates suggest £3-4 billion in retail sales over the period with as much as one third being spent online.

A similar trend can be seen throughout the whole Christmas shopping period, admittedly with a lower cyber-shopping focus. This has led to Christmas footfall reducing year-on-year – meaning fewer people in the shops. In fact, data suggests that the only increase we’ve seen in shoppers visiting physical stores is to pick up their ‘click and collect’ items.

If things continue, it won’t be long before the majority of our festive bargains are snatched up online. What will this mean for the high street and for retailers in general?

There’s a strong economic argument to eCommerce: no expensive property to fill and maintain leading to better margins, broader ranges and better availability. But, with the transparency that the internet brings, surely it’s just a race to the bottom where the lowest price and quickest delivery wins.

With stores you get interaction, entertainment and people. Not that people always help: a recent study we conducted found that of the 2,008 UK-based consumers polled, 68 per cent were put off by store staff ‘actively selling’ to them. Perhaps not a surprise when 89 per cent of 968 sales assistants we spoke to said they did not enjoy the experience at all.

It’s likely that this type of consumer sentiment isn’t helping in the battle against online, and if the trend continues, shops have much work to do to survive, let alone thrive.

I don’t think anyone is predicting the complete demise of the retail store just yet. They point at Amazon’s retail stores as a beacon of hope. But, the retail environment will change as a result of our changing shopping habits – it has to.

We are starting to see that transition already with augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences, multi-store layouts and ‘social’ retailing where a coffee and sit down might replace a pushy assistant.

There are many occasions that I walk back out of a shop empty handed even though I need the product(s) I’m shopping for. More help with wayfinding, product selection and speed of transaction is required. After all, part of the internet’s joy is the ease of finding and purchasing products.

Perhaps it’s time to borrow something, other than Black Friday, from our American cousins; the art of traditional retailing where the customer experience is all that matters.

 

Leon Edwards is the managing director of www.Displaymode.co.uk, a UK point of purchase company. It is a privately owned business that employs 55 people at its design and manufacturing facility in Northamptonshire. With an enviable client list from the retail and consumer goods world, they have exported to 34 countries since the Brexit vote.

BWP Group: It’s as easy as X, Y, millennial…

So over the last few years, marketing has become more challenging as retailers struggle to reach the ‘golden egg’ that has become the millennial. This is interesting, because surely it’s easier to reach a vast audience that all think and feel the same.

‘Generation Me’ or the ‘Entitlement Generation’, as anyone born in the 80s and 90s have also been dubbed, tend to only be interested in themselves; they’re over-confident, fame-obsessed and selfish, shaped by a narcissistic digital age – a marketer’s demographic dream.

Or… and this is where it gets complicated, they are entrepreneurial, socially aware, generous and hardworking, shaped by an age of austerity and an intrinsic unfairness they observe via their ultra-connected world.

There are certain facts that are undeniable when looking at generational segments. Millennials are certainly the world’s first digital natives. Born into a world with connectivity at their fingertips, they are more aware of technology, and how they can use it to make their lives easier or more fun. And there are a lot of them – about 16 million in the UK.

These are two of the reasons why retailers and marketers have been duped into seeing millennials as the pot at the end of the rainbow. We know where they spend their time, how they shop, how they socialise and there are lots of them eagerly looking spend their disposable income. But to simplify our marketing communications to target a single homogenous group is not just a bit lazy; it’s an expensive mistake that loses sight of the bigger picture.

Firstly, as demonstrated above, this group is no different to the many generations before it. There are different behaviours, mind-sets, groups, fans and tribes. To treat them all the same, loses sight of the fact that people are generally looking for greater personalisation and relevance in the way we communicate with them – that’s the data exchange that’s been implicitly agreed.

Secondly, it ignores the fact that many segments of the generations before the Millennials have more disposable income, greater wealth and are also increasingly switched on to the advantages technology holds.

In order to make communications more relevant, and therefore more efficient, it’s important retailers become far less ‘age’ focused in how they segment their audiences. Examining the customer journey and customer mind-set at each stage of that journey is a far more valuable way of building proper segmentation and creating far more valuable and bespoke audience personas. A 25-year-old who researches purchase through bloggers and peers and then goes to a store to purchase, is going to have more in common with a 40-year-old who does the same, than another 25-year-old who prefers to go to a physical store for comparison research, before finding the best online deal to purchase.

This approach also offers useful future-proofing for activity; undoubtedly millennials will soon fall from marketers’ favour as the next fresh-faced generational segment (Generation Q) appears over the horizon with bulging wallets. The switched-on retailer will already have a segment for that, with no need to start ripping up their marketing plans in a clamour to engage with a group of people who are not really that different to the people that came before.

 

Words by Kieron Weedon, director of Strategy at the BWP Group