Jack Wynn, Author at The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum - Page 3 of 11
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Jack Wynn

Forum Insight: Savvy SEO tips for start-ups that won’t break the bank…

With 50 per cent of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market online due to a lack of digital knowledge.

The research from 123 Reg found that 73 per cent said they did not advertise online and 42 per cent reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48 per cent of business owners surveyed, and only 53 per cent said their websites were easily readable via a mobile device.

“Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact,” comments Alex Minchin, founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital.

Here, Alex shares three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

  1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website: These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don’t understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you’re not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.
  2. Start local: Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. “Plumbers in Croydon”. An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates ‘citations’ (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It’s crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.
  3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum: The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available.  In the META description, it’s more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example “free delivery on all orders”, or “free quotation”. Remember, you’re trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key.

“It’s widely reported that somewhere around 90 per cent of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query.  SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Alex continues. “Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it’s a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn’t policed by them. It’s entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn’t have to involve a huge cost in doing so.”

Big-name UK retailers still baffled by eCommerce basics…

Research published on eCommerce performance has revealed that UK retailers are missing out on £2 billion in online revenue every year due to the running of slow websites and failing to introduce ‘guest checkouts’.

Based on four key factors: technology, marketing, trading, and service and logistics, the Scorecard analysis conducted by Summit found Argos and Sainsbury’s to be the top performers across the board, closely followed by John Lewis, Screwfix and Tesco.

Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Topshop and Superdrug all hold the bottom position with an overall score of 56 per cent, and as a result of limited contact options and slow response times for customers, Topshop scored just 13 per cent for online customer service.

The report also found that 38 per cent of the top 50 retailers do not have a guest checkout option, costing an estimated £1 billion per year as over a quarter of shoppers abandon their baskets without this option.

Hedley Aylott, co-founder and CEO at Summit said: “The Summit Scorecard provides us with an understanding of what the top 50 UK retailers are really like to shop with online. “While retailers have made huge strides, with most now getting mobile right, many are still struggling to offer delivery options that meet shoppers’ needs.

While this will not be an easy fix, no-one in retail needs further convincing or evidence of the importance of the online experience on overall profitability. These results are confirmation that there is still a lot of room for improvement, highlighting the real opportunity for retailers to fix some of the basics.”

Despite the imperfections, when looking at eCommerce technology and mobile compatibility, Scorecard discovered that 92 per cent of the top 50 retailers have websites built for mobile.
To download the full report, click here

Black Friday shoppers took six days to complete online purchases…

Shoppers in the UK, US and Australia took a total of six days to complete their online Black Friday purchases, according to analysis compiled by Rakuten Marketing.

Analysing display, attribution and affiliate data factors, the research found the purchase journey generally commenced on the previous Saturday and, although Black Friday tends to cause a 20 hour cut in the total time taken to convert compared to an average weekend, shoppers still took an average of 142 hours to finalise transactions; from their first online interaction with a brand to the checkout stage.

Furthermore, shoppers took to discount publishers with their searches for the best deals, even when brands offered discounts on their websites directly. Rakuten Marketing saw 42 per cent of its conversions on Black Friday through cashback sites such as TopCashBack and discount sites including VoucherCodes.co.uk. 

Megan Dado, regional senior director of Rakuten Affiliate Europe at Rakuten Marketing said: “Although there’s certainly a shorter journey to purchase, shoppers are less impulsive on Black Friday than brands might think. Like every other day of the year, they are still researching products and where they’re going to find the best deals in advance. Shopping sites like ShopStyle perform well because publishers optimise the consumer experience in accordance with these key dates.

“Black Friday only means big sales if brands have a complete view of a customer’s journey. Armed with insights about where shoppers are discovering their brand and where they eventually purchase, marketers can work out how to distribute their marketing spend effectively.”

A shortened customer journey around Black Friday is most apparent in the number of online advertisements consumers viewed before making a purchase. Whilst the average number of impressions across retail sectors including fashion, technology and beauty is just over 22 during an average weekend, Black Friday consumers view less than five ads before transacting.

The biggest difference can be seen in electronics and jewellery. Although it usually takes the average consumer as many as 54 ad impressions before making a technology purchase, the number of ads they need to see on Black Friday drops by a staggering 90 per cent to six impressions. For the jewellery sector, the drop is 86 per cent from 30 impressions to only four.

On average, consumers in the UK took 16 per cent less time in reaching the point of sale during Black Friday week, whereas this is only a 14 per cent drop for the US.

In-store and online equal in popularity this Christmas…

The second annual Rubicon Project ‘Christmas Consumer Pulse Poll’ suggests online shopping will be as popular as in-store this holiday season.

Based on a conducted 1,000 interviews in the UK, the poll found 76 per cent of consumers are planning on completing gift purchases online – equal to the amount that plan to shop in-store – and almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) will shop and/or research their Christmas purchases online.

With nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) declaring they will not do any Christmas shopping in-store this year, the study also revealed 45 per cent will make a Christmas purchase via their mobile device. This is largely defined by two demographics: 75 per cent of millennials and 66 per cent of parents will do at least some of their Christmas shopping on a mobile.

Anticipated spend for Christmas this year is £748 per person, up from a recorded £732 in the same research last year. 77 per cent of respondents to this year’s survey said they plan to spend the same or more, whilst just 23 per cent plan to spend less on their Christmas shopping.

 

Read more on the findings and download the poll here

Shoppers demand transparency from online retailers…

Online shoppers in the UK are demanding retailers to be honest and transparent on whether they have suffered a security breach, a survey commissioned by NTT Security has revealed.

When asked what retailers could do to help build consumer trust when online shopping, 80 per cent of the 500 survey respondents said they expect more transparency following a breach, as well as more secure payment options and for retailers to insist on regularly changing and using strong passwords.

Further to worrying about the risk of paying online and identity fraud, the majority are also concerned about the privacy of personal information (63 per cent), a site being fake (63 per cent) and the risk of being sent ‘phishing emails’ that link to malware (60 per cent).

Stuart Reed, director at NTT Security said: “The retail sector is among one of the most targeted industries for attacks and, with one of the busiest trading periods of the year now upon us, it makes sense that both consumers and retailers are diligent in terms of data security.

“While some shoppers are happy to continue using sites, even when they have been breached, they are also anxious for retailers to let customers know when they have been hacked. Consumers certainly seem to be growing in security awareness when online; more savvy, they are willing to take responsibility for their own security to some extent, but they are also more demanding of retailers and expect to see privacy and security polices displayed clearly on websites.”

However, only 18 per cent would permanently stop using a retailer’s website if a security breach was exposed and a third admit they would carry on using an online store but would upgrade their security.

More than 40 per cent believe retailers should publish their privacy policies to allow customers to see how data is being stored and managed, while a third (32 per cent) want stores to listen and respond to customer concerns via social media to help build consumer trust.

 

Read more on the research, including five top tips on how retailers can mitigate cyber risks here

Guest Blog, Annabel Daly: Personalisation – the next step in modern-day eCommerce…

Ask any eCommerce retailer how they strive to get ahead of their competitors and they will invariably tell you the same things. Some may focus on organic SEO, aiming to rank higher than the opposition for what they consider to be key customer search terms, whilst others may plough more time and monetary investment into pay-per-click advertising or email marketing.

It’s so easy, however, to think of our customers as one large populous of people rather than considering them as individuals. Technology is evolving, and today, more than ever, personalisation is coming to the fore.

According to Adobe’s Real-Time Marketing Study, 77 per cent of marketers consider “dynamic, personalised content” to be very important for successful eCommerce websites. So what exactly does this involve?

eCommerce personalisation can be broken down into three core categories: site search, product recommendations and automated email marketing.

Site search should be commonplace in all eCommerce sites, but a personalised solution enables you to quickly react to customers’ ever-increasing demands in seconds. For example, your Autocomplete feature should be more than just relevant search terms or products; it should have the ability to correct spellings, add synonym rules and allow content search, rather than just products. One step further, to avoid the dreaded “no results” page, is to show product recommendations and therefore encourage conversions.

Sometimes known as “personalised merchandising”, product recommendations allow you to personalise content areas for your website, such as the homepage banner or “you may also like” recommendations. These should be responsive, supportive of multiple content types (e.g. images or HTML) and varied – for example, based on your basket or previous purchases. The team at PureNet have recently released new software, PureClarity, to enable these systems to run themselves and determine the best content for the aforementioned content areas.

Finally, as mentioned previously, email marketing can be instrumental in driving conversions, but you can get one step ahead with personalised, automated email marketing. What differentiates  personalised email marketing from traditional email marketing is the ability to upload bespoke templates. Whereas automated emails may be sent to those who have abandoned their basket for example, personalised emails give you the freedom to insert product recommenders or personalised content.

The benefits of personalising your eCommerce site are virtually limitless. As a site owner, you should be wary of personalising not only your product recommendations, but also your content in general, ensuring you are targeting relevant customers and appealing to their interests.

Of course, the statistics speak for themselves: 75 per cent of us admit we prefer to use a retailer with a personalised experience. Moreover, from an email perspective, personalised emails improve click through rates by 14 per cent and conversion rates by 10 per cent – a true testament to the ROI of this marketing technique.

In the increasingly competitive world of e-Commerce, a business owner who makes his or her customers feel special is far more likely to succeed. Optimising your website for personalisation can be time-consuming, but ultimately will achieve a huge return on investment in terms of time and money. 

 

Annabel Daly is group marketing manager for Magento eCommerce and portal agency, PureNet. Annabel has worked within the eCommerce industry for many years across internal and client marketing, with portfolios including Krispy Kreme, The Royal British Legion and Illamasqua. Annabel has a particular interest in innovation including personalisation and conversion-focused design. 

Industry Spotlight: How digital technology is influencing fast food retail design…

Fast food is getting faster and good use of digital has become an essential component in growing and driving its success. Robert Rosser, creative director of retail design agency, Studio Tait, explains more

The fast food industry continues to flourish. With ever busier lifestyles, people are less willing to cook for themselves, and are attracted to fast food for its affordability. Meanwhile the quality and diversity of fast food keeps improving, with leading brands like McDonald’s adapting their offering to focus more on health and quality.

The gap is also closing between fast food and casual dining restaurants, following the growth of ‘fast casual’ brands like Five Guys, Wahaca and Leon.

With these changes, expectations have risen – customers want great service, quality food and a memorable experience in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Today, the design of fast food restaurants needs to achieve this while removing the perception of ‘fast and cheap’.

In this evolution, using technology to enhance the customer experience has been key, with almost every fast food brand embracing digital in some respect. Merging digital and physical worlds helps to strengthen branding and experience, while at a fast food outlet, but also interactions beyond that.

Choosing your destination and food before you go

You can now use your desktop or phone to locate your nearest preferred food outlet, and easily share details to meet up with friends. Websites and apps can also let you know about the latest daily specials or offers before you visit, starting the experience before you’ve even arrived.

Brands like Burger King and Subway have invested in pre-ordering services, where you can place your order via a phone app or online so the food is ready and waiting when you arrive. 

Improving the ordering process in store 

When inside the physical fast food outlet, you don’t just queue, order and collect your food in one go anymore. Instead there are fast lanes where you your order is taken as at a delicatessen. New digital terminals that combine ordering and payment are also making purchases more efficient and convenient. 

McDonald’s has introduced interactive self-serve kiosks, seen in the new London Oxford Street branch that opened this summer. These giant phone screen terminals allow you to place your order, and even customise your burger, while avoiding the queues. You can also explore more detailed information about calories, nutrition and ingredients. 

Personalised menus and offers here can also enhance the in-store experience. In France this can include placing your order using the kiosk, taking a ticket and your seat and waiting for your meal to be served direct to your table. 

Using digital signage to engage customers 

Whether it’s ordering at a kiosk or serving counter, diners needs to understand the offer immediately to order quickly and reduce dwell time. Use of effective communication graphics is key here, and digital signage is more engaging and flexible than static printed graphics.

In this fast-paced environment, menus change frequently so digital signage can keep information up to speed. It allows you to update content quickly and remotely at any time and promote new or change under-performing products on the fly. 

The high resolution screens make the branding and food images look more enticing, plus changing content or motion video on the display is more engaging, entertaining customers while they wait. Digital screens can also convey the readiness of the ordered food items in real time.

Creating a relaxed, welcoming environment

As much as speed and convenience are important to some diners, other consumers want a place to meet, chat and relax where food is just part of the experience. So fast food interior design is increasingly creating more warmth and integrity. From the wholesome looking greens and natural materials in McDonald’s to the eclectic interior design of independents such as Love Koffee who’ve used Indian bicycle wheels as light fittings and reclaimed doors used as wall coverings. 

Seating options are more varied and flexible, combining sofa lounge areas, high tables to perch on and intimate booths. Adjustable lighting and curated music playlists are digitally-led ways to adjust the mood to match certain times of the day. 

Providing the ability to charge your mobile phone, is another way Fast Food retailers are using everyday requirements to tempt customers into their stores and make a purchase, customers are now entering these dwell areas not even for the retailers primary or secondary offer but to ensure their mobiles are fully charged and they are able to stay online while on the move.

Keeping diners happy and entertained

As digital devices are increasingly present at home, so they are in restaurant spaces. Some of the latest fast food fit-outs have fixed tablet devices on tables, allowing diners to game, chat or read the news while they stop for a bite to eat.

For child-friendly outlets, colouring books are being replaced with electronic tablets, games or activities to keep families entertained. Play zones with interactive projections and screens keeping kids happy beyond the meal.

Free wifi is also a must and food retailers can use this service to collect consumer data that can then enhance their experience and attract diners back.

Exploring home delivery

In the fast-food world, the culture of take away and drive-through remains, but the desire for home delivery has increased dramatically with mobile apps enabling food to be ordered at the touch of a button. 

The rise of third-party online ordering portals such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, means fast food chains are exploring home delivery options. Burger King began trialling home delivery in 2015 with a national rollout expected, while Pizza Express is looking at opening 150 delivery sites over the next five years.

What’s clear is that whether it’s dining in, taking away or home delivery, fast food retail design needs to achieve a consistent and holistic experience with a high level of service. The use of various digital tools to help achieve that is only likely to increase.

If you would like to find out a little more about how we can help you improve your in-store customer experience, please give Studio Tait a call on 01582 460990 or visit www.studiotait.com.

 

Robert Rosser is creative director at Tait working across retail, brand & hospitality design. He takes an innovative and commercial approach with clients to develop store concepts, from strategy, environment to communication. Robert works closely with teams to ensure successful interpretation of a client’s brief is delivered from concept to reality. His client list includes Topshop, Primark, The Crown Estate, Sainsbury’s, Harrods, River Island, John Lewis & Gap.

Looking for a new retail industry event to attend? You need the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit…

With the next Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit taking place on February 6 & 7 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, we thought we’d give you a few reasons to book your place at the event nice and early.

Put simply, if you’re looking for a new and informative retail industry event, you’ve found it.

First and foremost, the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit provides a platform for highly-targeted one-to-one meetings between industry professionals and trusted suppliers. But it also comes with a full programme of educational seminars, allowing all attendees to increase their industry knowledge and develop their skill sets while on site.

Plus, there’s full hospitality throughout, including lunches, drinks reception and an evening gala dinner, offering copious networking opportunities to build new business relationships.

But we think the enduring success of the event is best summed up by industry suppliers who have attended previously:

“Once again, a very well organised event with good quality of buyers, a good evening, networking opportunities. We will certainly return.”

Pfleiderer Industrie Ltd.

“Great event, very enjoyable and a good atmosphere.”

Zumtobel Group

“The Forum team is exceptional in the way they organise and support. I think that of all the Forum Events I have attended, but this is by far the best organised.”

Resolution Interiors

“As ever, a well organised, well attended event with lots of possibilities if followed up correctly by suppliers.”

I4 Group

 

So there you have it. More bespoke than a conference and more focused than an expo, the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit is the only event you need to attend in 2017.

The next Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit takes place on February 6 & 7, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

For more information or to book your place, call Courtney Saggers on 01992 374088 or email c.saggers@forumevents.co.uk.

Alternatively, visit www.retailshopfittingsummit.co.uk.

 

Christmas and January sales to be dampened by Black Friday…

More than two-thirds of consumers plan to take full advantage of Black Friday deals, which kick-starts the surge of Christmas shoppers, but consumers anticipate a curb in spending through the month of December and in the January sales. 

As it’s revealed that 62 per cent are planning to use Black Friday (November 25) as an opportunity to buy discounted presents, a survey by retail and brand consultancy, The Market Creative, found that 26 per cent of shoppers anticipate they will spend less money in December. 

Analysts suggest the impact on spending is likely to run into early 2017, as 28 per cent of shoppers said the introduction of Black Friday and Cyber Monday had made them less interested in the January sales, due to generally better and more attractive offers. 

Sue Benson, managing director at The Market Creative said:”Scenes of frenzied shoppers battling for bargains have influenced our perception that Black Friday deals are shorter and deeper than other sales. Coupled with our desire for instant gratification Black Friday could well be a retailers dream period as they get much-needed pre-Christmas sales in early.  
 
“But it’s not all good news. The Christmas and January sales have traditionally been the most lucrative for retailers and Black Friday has dragged spending forward. Consumer wallets are finite, so we’re seeing December full-price sales and profits cannibalised. Another watch out is the discount strategy involved, if merchandise isn’t shifted how low are retailers prepared to go in the traditional Boxing Day and January sale period?”

Although Black Friday has changed the Christmas shopping habits of younger generation consumers, the trend was less apparent among older age groups. Of the 18-24 year olds surveyed, 83 per cent plan to take advantage of Black Friday deals and 86 per cent will buy discounted Christmas gifts. However, 47 per cent of shoppers over 65 plan to buy something and just a quarter will buy Christmas presents. 
 

Access the full report here 

Global forecast offers analytical view of Christmas retail threats…

Electronics, electronic accessories, children’s toys and apparel are expected to be the most stolen items during the Christmas period, according to the 2016 Retail Holiday Season Global Forecast. 

Underwritten by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, Inc. and carried out by retail loss prevention analyst, Ernie Deyle, the research indicates that retailers across all 13 analysed markets – including: the UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Japan – will experience both the heaviest sales volumes and the weakest performances specific to margin rate.  

Profitability strains tend to manifest during the holiday season, largely down to increased theft/shrink from internal sources — primarily via employee theft and other sales reducing activities (SRAs) — and external factors (organised retail crime/shoplifting). 

Deyle said of the findings: “Building holiday inventories earlier and specifically for high-risk items may lead to increased sales reduction pressures, including markdowns and shrink throughout the fourth quarter. In fact, as this report reveals, despite more than one-third of the year’s retail sales expected to be registered in just these three months, more than 40 per cent of SRAs are also incurred in this same time period. This leads to increased shrink, and puts additional strains on brick-and-mortar retailers already reeling from an ongoing inhospitable retail market.” 

Recommendations made in the report for retailers to address include: 

  • Properly train seasonal help to manage the increasing complexities of the season.
  • Maintain operational execution standards, while being vigilant regarding financial performance expectations.
  • Employ point of sale data analytic technology focused on SRAs to stabilise inventory loss and ensure on-shelf availability while enhancing product protection counter 
  • Update planning and financial performance models to properly account for advanced deliveries of seasonal products, since the seasonal build starts earlier now than in the past.
  • Enhance oversight to seasonal/holiday merchandise to ensure financial goals are achieved while cost centre controls are contained. 

Obtain a copy of the full report here