Posts Tagged :

Industry Spotlight

CAEM

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: CAEM Retail Installations

CAEM Retail Installations are specialist shopfitters, with installation teams based nationwide to cover any part of the UK offering an all-inclusive bespoke installation service to all of its clients and tailored services to meet their ever-changing needs.

CAEM realises the importance that retailers place upon making the customers journey through a store an inviting and cost effective experience and work with them to ensure that their plans and ideas become reality.

Their attention to detail on site is of the highest standards and this enables CAEM to complete all projects in a safe and timely manner that always exceeds client expectations.

From new store openings, refits, to multi-store roll outs, CAEM will work with you every step of the way to achieve your goals.

www.caem.co.uk

Secure Trading

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Secure Trading

Secure Trading is one of the world’s leading independent payment service providers. We help online businesses succeed through cutting-edge technology, world-leading expertise and a culture dedicated to trust.

Secure Trading was founded in 1997 and from the outset has focused on:

  • Security and reliability – our platform has an exceptional uptime record
  • Agility and flexibility – we are continually integrating new technologies and systems
  • Independent advice – we are not tied to a specific acquiring bank
  • Easy integration – we keep customer processes as smooth and simple as possible

Secure Trading provide a full suite of tailored online solutions to large corporate ecommerce merchants as well as SME’s and start-ups alike.

Our creative innovation helped us to grow rapidly, and in 1999 we were acquired by the UC Group of global ecommerce companies.

We are now integrated with banks all over the world, as well as multiple shopping carts, alternative payment providers and ecommerce solutions specialists. However, we are not bank owned and can pass the benefits of this independence straight on to our customers, advising them on the banks, shopping carts and ecommerce partners that best suit them.

Secure Trading has offices in the UK and the US, with a global reach.

www.securetrading.com

Rich Relevance

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Rich Relevance

RichRelevance is the global leader in omnichannel personalisation and is used by more than 200 retailers to deliver the most relevant and innovative customer experiences across web, mobile and in store.

RichRelevance’s clients are able to deliver end-to-end personalisation to their customers, creating more sales and an engaged audience. RichRelevance drives more than one billion decisions every day, and has generated over $20 billion (£15 billion) in sales for its clients, which include Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Shop Direct, Not on the High Street and Hobbs.

Headquartered in San Francisco, RichRelevance serves clients in 42 countries from 9 offices around the globe.

www.richrelevance.com/uk

3d-architects_microsite

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

bwp-group-microsite

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

robert-rosser-mcirosite

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.

textrace-microsite

Industry Spotlight: Why RFID could save the retail industry billions from theft…

Retailers globally rely on security systems to protect their goods from the manufacturer’s door all the way to the store where the product is eventually sold. However, there is a very significant issue within the industry as retail shrinkage is increasing worldwide and retailers are losing significant profits due to shoplifting, employee fraud, and inventory errors.

In fact, combined losses due to shrinkage cost the retail industry more than $123 billion according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2015. The study also found shoplifting to be the biggest cause of retail shrinkage in 18 of the 24 countries that were surveyed; proving that theft is a sting currently felt globally.

In the UK, retail crime has hit a record high at £613m and in 2015 alone, 750,144 incidents were reported by retailers to the police with a noticeable rise in sophisticated equipment being utilised to steal high-end, luxury products.

With shrinkage seemingly increasing and theft becoming more commonplace, despite increased security efforts; retailers are at a crossroads and must decide how to best address this issue.

 

EAS: An outdated form of protection?

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems were first invented in 1966 and since then, according to the Association of Automated Identification Manufacturers (AAIM), have been installed in over 800,000 retailer outlets worldwide. Having been widely adopted by the retail industry, EAS is considered to be the principal way in which the industry has combatted theft and fraud.

Traditional EAS methods of theft prevention only alert the retailer to the fact that something is being stolen. However, it provides no information about what is missing in real-time and therefore increases the risk of a lost sale if merchandise isn’t replenished on the sales floor.

Although EAS tags do present a physical deterrent to potential thieves, some criticism has risen where EAS tags can seem a very one-dimensional product that serves only one purpose – to sound an alarm when an item is taken out of the store. Although at that point it is often too late to prevent the loss of the product.

 

A need for seamless protection

Although RFID technology has been around since the 1940s, the retail sector has only recently started to see the benefits the technology presents to inventory accuracy, shrink reduction and security.

Unlike traditional EAS tags, RFID technology has evolved significantly in recent years and can provide a much sleeker and discreet proposition for retailers. With RFID tags now being integrated into the brand labels of clothing, there is no risk of tags falling off, damaging clothing or ruining the aesthetic appeal of a store. Woven RFID tags provide retailers with a full proof method of ensuring their items are protected not only against thieves but also against counterfeit products.

The technology is also well suited to track and protect retail merchandise around the stores themselves which could actively prevent a theft from occurring. For example, if a fashion retailer installs a RFID reader outside the changing rooms, this can tell staff how many items each customer has taken to try on. It can also identify how long those items have been in the changing rooms for and alert staff to any suspicious movement in order to flag a potential theft and prevent it from happening.

With theft still presenting a significant challenge within the industry, retailers need to implement a solid security measure. Have traditional EAS tags outstayed their welcome within an industry that has evolved so rapidly and seen new challenges arise?

For example, the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2015 study looked into the cause of shrinkage and missing goods. It found that alarmingly employee theft was just as common as shoplifting with 28 per cent of global loss due to dishonest staff. In the US this statistic was notably higher with 39 per cent of all shrinkage down to employee theft.

Therefore, how effective are traditional EAS tags in combatting merchandise theft when a high percentage of thieves are staff and have access to the tools to remove them?
Although EAS systems, can act as a deterrent to thieves, and prevent many cases of theft. RFID tags present a modern, full proof system that can trace each item which begins at the manufacturing stage and protects your product all the way to leaving your store doors.

 

Stephan Buehler is the CEO of TexTrace who based in Switzerland, provides the manufacturing line as well as the components for the industrial in-house production of woven RFID labels. In close collaboration with Jakob Müller AG TexTrace guarantees the highest quality, reliable service and technological support for all their clients.

pop-up-shop-image-microsite

Industry Spotlight: 5 benefits to embracing the pop-up shop trend…

In a literal sense, pop-up shops are popping up everywhere, and whilst it has been independent businesses and smaller retailers that have pioneered the concept, larger retailers are beginning to embrace this latest trend.

The temporary stores are mostly found in high footfall areas such as city centres, shopping malls and busy streets. The main purpose of a pop-up is to create an impact and attract customers with something exciting, exclusive and different. So, what benefits can established retailers expect to achieve by implementing the pop-up shop concept?

 

  1. Experimentation: Road testing a new business concept can be costly. A pop up shop provides retailers with the ultimate flexibility in test marketing new products, promotions or concepts, before going fully to market. This allows the retailer to gauge future demand and incite customer feedback without incurring the high set up costs associated with a fixed store.
  1. Flexibility: Responding quickly to trends is not always easy for larger retailers. The flexibility of a pop up shop allows brands to adapt quickly and be in the right place at the right time. The temporary nature of a pop up shop allows the retailer to locate to where the action is, set up shop for key moments and more importantly, move on when interest wanes.
  1. Brand awareness: The act of launching a pop up shop creates buzz and hype that consumers love. The short-term nature of a pop up shop creates a sense of urgency, which often attracts big crowds. By appearing in an unexpected location, retailers can both surprise existing customers and excite new ones. Plus people are more likely to visit when there’s a limited time scale – and this often leads to an increase in sales.
  1. Educate new customers: By trying something new, retailers can widen their customer base by reaching consumers that may only be aware of their traditional product lines. When Microsoft launched their RT Surface tablet they opened a host of pop up stores in locations where they didn’t have a permanent presence. This enabled them to increase public awareness and educate customers on the product.
  1. Unload old stock: The majority of sales are still completed offline and a pop up shop in the right location can be the ideal venue to host a flash sale. The temporary nature of a pop up shop creates a buzz and excitement because people are interested in the sudden existence of a new store, especially if they look unique.

Flexibility in times of uncertainty

It would be remiss of me to write a blog about retailing without mentioning Brexit. It would be hard to argue that the current situation hasn’t created a certain amount of uncertainty. However, I am a firm believer in seeing opportunity in any situation and the pop up shop concept is a perfect answer to retailers looking to expand without incurring too many costs. It offers the opportunity to take on a retail space and set up quickly without the long-term commitment.

In Summary

The retail landscape is evolving and for retailers that want to keep pace with trends, pop up shops offer the ultimate in flexibility and testing innovation. However, to maximise on the benefits retailers need to be able to set up till solutions quickly offering consumers the same transaction options they expect in fixed retail units. By investing in an electronic point of sale solution with remote capability, retailers ensure they have the flexibility required to scale their business operations and the reporting functionality to assess the success of their new business venture.

 

Words by Marcus Ardeman, sales executive at Eurostop

Marcus has over 25 years’ experience working with Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems.  Before joining Eurostop, Marcus’s experience includes training, implementation and sales roles within large established EPOS companies. His retail background, and deep understanding of the retail environment has enabled him to take a consultative approach, ensuring that customers get the most from their new retail management and EPOS solutions.

imrg-microsite

‘Next day’ delivery considered most popular for the first time, says IMRG…

An overall growth rate of 18.2 per cent year-on-year was recorded in August in relation to the amount of online retail orders, according to recent data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index; indicating that shopper confidence appears to be showing some resilience following the Brexit decision.

Since the EU referendum on June 23, the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) has tracked an increase in the percentage of orders moving cross-border – which the association claims is most likely down to a sharp fall in the valuation of GBP sterling – and the theme continued in the month of August as 27.8 per cent of orders made in the UK were sent to international destinations.

Furthermore, there was also a notable development in the delivery options that shoppers are selecting. For the first time since the Index’s inception, the percentage of orders using ‘next day’ (36.7 per cent) as the fulfilment option was higher than those using ‘economy’ (33.8 per cent). 

Head of e-logistics at IMRG, Andrew Starkey, said We’ve been tracking a general increase in the percentage of ‘next day’ orders for a while now, and in August it became the most popular option domestically for the first time.”

He continued: “There are a number of factors potentially influencing this – some retailers see delivery as a differentiator and are offering next day as standard, others offer it if the customer’s basket value is above a specific threshold and for others the charge for next day is smaller than it has been on average in previous years. A move toward faster delivery is not unexpected and, for carriers, it doesn’t represent a capacity issue during most of the year – but during peaks such as the Black Friday period, promotion of next day delivery should be handled more cautiously.”

The Index was created with the sole purpose of enabling e-tailers and industry professionals to track a wide range of key benchmark metrics, providing the capability of tracking trends and making informed strategic decisions.  

 

You can view the full IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index here 

detego-image-microsite

Industry Spotlight, Detego: Why omnichannel is ‘everything’ in fashion retail…

It’s clear that omnichannel is key to winning customers in fashion retail and, now more than ever, retail bosses need to be fully aware of customer behaviours both in-store and online – how they move from page to page and view each item; the most popular product categories; the average length of time spent shopping, and so forth.

The concept of omnichannel can be seen as both a huge opportunity and an immense challenge for retailers. For some, it can be experienced as an ‘unrealised dream’ in today’s intensely competitive market. The technology readily available and brick-and-mortar stores can acquire ‘real-time data’ on stock, but how can retailers introduce a beneficial strategy to reap the rewards?

 

Implementing a successful omnichannel strategy

Essentially, to successfully implement a truly omnichannel strategy you need high quality real-time data analysis and smart merchandise management on the single item level, to ensure the consumer follows-through on a desired purchase.

You need to be able to map your customer’s journey, to fully understand how and why they might reach out to browse or buy on different channels at different times.

If you can anticipate and map out the typical customer journey, then you are far more likely to convert to a sale, whether in store or online.

Click & Collect is all well and good, but you need to deliver. Too many consumers have been let down by major retailers over the last few years, due to poor stock control and inventory management. Which is exactly why retailers now need to connect, integrate and bridge their customer experiences online and offline to deliver the seamless omnichannel customer experience today´s consumers expect.

You need to offer real-world personalised customer experiences that create engagement through both in-store and digital means and that can also transform an in-store experience with special touches – such as smart fitting rooms, for example.

The key is in deploying technology that will help you to view and manage your stock inventory in real-time, without having to completely rehaul all of your entire technology systems.

Based on Detego’s proven software suite for business intelligence, which is on the edge of technological advances also in terms of hands-free infrastructure, the solution was deployed in a very short time frame. The fast implementation and deployment was underpinned by a lean and agile approach to immediately realize the aimed business benefits for Denimwall Inc.

We helped to achieve their goals using a variety of technologies to compliment their business vision. A full automated, hands-free RFID ceiling reader system combined with real-time analytics software gave them item level visibility on their garments, plus a mobile application that integrated with our existing retail system all worked together to help them achieve one phase of their overall onmichannel vision.

This is a great example of how an onmichannel vision should be implemented and what it means to deliver stock control for a connected and efficient retail operation. Retailers need to consider a number of elements to achieve this.

First, item-level visibility in real-time and full awareness of the in-store customer is absolutely crucial. How they move and interact with items, where they linger, and what goes into a fitting room with what, in addition to awareness of the online customer – and integration between the two.

Second, implementing predictive analytics can bring a personal shopper experience to each customer whether on the premises or off.

Thirdly, a mapped customer journey helps retailers understand how and why a customer might reach out on different channels at different times.

Last but not least, providing real-world personalised customer experiences can create engagement through digital means and transform an in-store experience with special touches – like smart fitting rooms.

With these elements in place a retailer can automatically collect data about their merchandise, provide accurate inventory information and real-time transparency. Al mobile, 24-7 and hands-free, no matter the size of the operation.

What does this mean? It means that the customer experience is amazing. They find something – in store, online or on a mobile app – and then they can buy and collect it as soon as they want.

And fashion retailers know that customer experience is everything. You can offer the best choice of products via multiple channels. But if you cannot deliver, the customer moves on. Very quickly!

 

Words by Uwe Hennig, CEO at Detego