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Stuart O'Brien

VIDEO: Foot traffic declining? Don’t throw in the towel

By Honeywell

Use your location and service to keep customers coming back.

Location! Location! You’ve got that part covered. But staying alive in retail is more complicated than having a great address.

To compete with online-only stores, you’ve got to use your proximity to the customer to provide the personal touch and the immediate satisfaction your customers demand.

How can you do it? Honeywell has a history of working with retailers to transform operations with Connected Retail hardware, software and solutions.

Want to see how we can tackle the challenge together? Watch our video, “Bob the Store Manager and the Benefits of the Honeywell Connected Retail Solution.”

Watch the video now. launches Ethereum-based eCommerce and payments platform has become the latest entrant into the nascent blockchain eCommerce space, confirming the beta release of its Ethereum-based payments platform.

The company says its solution platform opens up possibilities for cryptocurrency users to buy and sell goods and services with all the benefits the blockchain provides, initially focusing on digital products but expanding to all areas of eCommerce and payments as cryptocurrency tech and regulation evolves.

Available without any software installation and registration, the platform utilises user’s Ethereum wallet address as a unique identifier, allowing it to access all functions via Trezor, Ledger, Metamask, Keystore or private key. CEO and Founder Vladlen Manshin said: “We are not cloning Amazon or eBay by simply adding native cryptocurrency support. We are reinventing e-commerce and payments enhancing it with amazing opportunities blockchain technology has to offer. Today platform already supports automated business logic and incredibly low fees, smart escrow and unforgeable reputation system, decentralized exchange integration and flexible payment and pricing options. There are even more features to be implemented after initial launch.”

Made available thanks to successful token sale, the platform utilizes its native BCS token at full capacity by providing exclusive utility benefits to token holders. Functions implemented from the start include 50% fee discount for merchants, cash back reward program for buyers as well as alternative to ETH payment option. Token purchases can be made at the website.

The company is now looking for strategic partnerships to further promote cryptocurrency mass adoption, including enabling cross chain payments for goods and services, on-chain and off-chain private data management, alternative blockchains support, stable coins support and global promotion.

UK store sales bounce back in May, says BRC data

UK retail sales increased by 2.8% last month on a like-for-like basis from May 2017, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year, according to figures released by the British retail Consortium.

On a total basis, sales increased 4.1% in May, against an increase of 0.2% in May 2017, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.2% and 1.5%, respectively, and the highest increase since January 2014, when not including Easter distortions.

Over the three months to May, in-store sales of Non-Food items declined 3% on a Total basis and 4.1% on a Like-for-like basis.

On a 12-month basis, the Total decline was 0.2%. However, on a monthly basis, it was the best performance since January 2016, excluding Easter distortions.

Over the three months to May, Food sales increased 2.0% on a like-for-like basis and 3.4% on a total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 3.6%, further evidence that growth has peaked, since inflation started to recede. On a monthly basis, this was the best performance since July 2013, excluding Easter distortions.

Over the three-months to May, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.4% on a like-for-like basis and 0.5% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average decrease of 0.2%. On a monthly basis, this was the best performance since January 2016, excluding Easter distortions.

Online sales of Non-Food products grew 11.9% in May, against an easy comparable growth of 4.3% in May 2017. This is above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 8.8% and 8.1% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 21.3% in May 2017 to 22.4% in May 2018.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail sales in May saw their highest growth since January 2014 as better weather and the bank holiday effect led shoppers to buy from garden furniture and summer fashion ranges; recovering some of the ground lost in April. Food sales also stood out with the best single month’s performance since July 2013. Encouragingly, growth was seen across channels as stores made a comeback with their best showing in 16 months.

“The FA Cup Final and Royal Wedding may have got the nation in the mood for celebration but the day itself was a distraction for shoppers as they stayed at home to watch the festivities; sales also tailed off once the party was over.

“Despite this more positive set of sales results, the retail environment remains extremely challenging, with trend growth still very low by historical standards. Retailers remain focused on investing in new and exciting shopping experiences for the future as margins remain tight and the competition fierce.”

Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG said: “May provided a much needed uplift to retail performance delivering a respectable 4.1 per cent growth. Two bank holiday weekends, a Royal wedding and of course sunnier spells will have been the main drivers behind the apparent rebound, with both online and high street sales thankfully up overall.

“Grocery sales once again continued to be strong, boosted by added enthusiasm for picnics and barbeques. Elsewhere, appetite for non-food categories, including fashion, also experienced a welcome uplift. That said, the picture was less favourable in the larger discretionary categories such as home improvement and furniture.

“While the month’s figures may paint a rosier picture, there is no room for complacency. The market is increasingly being split into winners and losers, with a number of legacy players continuing to face extremely challenging conditions. As such, focusing on transforming businesses both operationally and financially is pivotal.”

GUEST BLOG: Reclaim your Monday – Data Studio Dashboards

By Dan Coleman, Digital Marketing Director, Red Hot Penny

Monday mornings in ecommerce and retail businesses can be a real drag.

You’ll probably spend a lot of your precious time pulling reports out of Google Analytics, copying them into Excel and reformatting them to put into your trading pack. We’ve seen businesses waste up to a day a week in man hours just generating the reports for their Monday meetings.

But there is a better way. A way that allows you to reclaim your Monday, gives you your time back and lets you focus on everything else you need to do to drive the growth of your brand.

Data Studio Dashboards.

Data Studio Dashboards connect to your Google Analytics account and extract all the data for you automatically, providing at a glance metrics for your weekly trading meetings without the need to spend hours every Monday in Excel.

Dashboards provide you an easier and more efficient way of creating more valuable reporting, and we here at Red Hot Penny have created one that we’re letting you get your hands on for absolutely nothing through Forum events. We’re not even asking you for an email address, we just want you to reclaim your Monday.

Our data studio dashboard has 4 tabs covering performance overview, campaign performance, customer behaviour, and product performance, but once you’ve had a chance to try out the dashboard if you need any help or you’d like to make suggestions for new features/customisations just let us know.

Download the dashboard here and then just follow the simple steps to connect it to the GA profile of your choice.

GUEST BLOG: Affiliate Marketing – The marketing channel than can grow your business by 20%

By Steve Bryant, Managing Director, ThoughtMix

Affiliate Marketing and its landscape has changed rapidly over the last decade. Once a channel for unknown sources of traffic and black-hat click-bait, the sector has grown to a mainstream marketing channel for the major online retailers and new entrants alike, helping grow revenues for sum by up to 20%.

The concept of affiliate marketing largely remains the same as a decade ago. A retailer joins an affiliate network and partners up with a selection of publishers (affiliates) to promote their brand on a commission-only basis. The rise of influencer marketing means affiliate marketing extends across to video influencers, social profiles and bloggers alike, creating another route to entry for retailers of all sizes to take advantage of a risk-free source of traffic and sales.

As an affiliate management agency, ThoughtMix’s role is to manage the relationships between the retailer/advertiser and the publisher, using intelligence, expertise and experience to curate winning campaigns with some of the leading affiliates. Last year, the business drove advertisers more than £45m, from some 24,000 publishers.

Retailers join ThoughtMix for instant access to an expert to drive their affiliate program forward, helping to grow exposure across a range of partners, and drive up revenues. Under ThoughtMix’s leadership, the average program grows a business by up to 20% once introduced to the marketing mix.

Affiliate marketing is appropriate for nearly every type of retailer. From brands selling their collections online, to multi-brand retailers with large inventories. ThoughtMix has helped brands including Cox & Cox, Robert Dyas, Roman Originals and hundreds more grow their online affiliate marketing channel.

If you’re looking at new ways to grow your site traffic and revenue – visit to arrange a no-obligation consultation.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: A1 Retail Magazine – Official Media Partners to eTailing Summit 2018

A1 Retail Magazine are pleased to announce that we are official media partners to the eTailing Summit 2018!

Check out our preview of the 2018 summit, including details of how you can apply for a delegate pass:

You will be able to pick up a copy of A1 Retail Magazine at the eTailing Summit taking place on 10th July, which will include instructions on how to subscribe to receive a FREE copy each month.

Brought to you in the form of a hard copy magazine, digital magazine, website and free A1 Media App, A1 Retail brings you up-to-the-minute industry news, inspiring projects, comments from leading voices in retail as well as extensive coverage of industry events and exhibitions.

It is critical for designers, manufacturers and suppliers to keep one-step ahead which is where A1 Retail can help.

Visit our website today to subscribe to receive a FREE copy of our industry leading publication to your doorstep each month.

Follow us on twitter and Facebook for more industry news and updates.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Directed work for the seamless retail experience

Your storefront is facing strong competition from online retailers who can get their products into the hands of your customer faster than ever before.

You need to deliver a five-star customer experience and seamless, error-free omnichannel services with fewer store associates and more and more products to stock on the shelves. And you need to find an edge over online competitors.

We believe brick and mortar retailers can beat the competition using their biggest advantage: the local storefront. There’s still no online substitute for actually seeing, inspecting and buying a product in person: no waiting, or questions about quality, or fit.

Today’s successful retailers have adapted to offer the best of both worlds: online ordering capabilities with delivery via a distributed network, where and when the consumer wants. This could be ship-to-store / click-and-collect, or home delivery via a local storefront, or simply checking stock and pricing before making a purchase in store.

In this omnichannel storefront, order fulfilment processes are increasingly complex as retailers take on their new role of an e-commerce fulfilment centre.

Retail associates can deliver a five-star customer experience online and in store without standing behind a screen or terminal – they are in the aisles and face-to-face with the customer with real-time order information, stock availability, ship-to-store order information and more.

To find out how, visit Honeywell Connected Retail.

GUEST BLOG: The case for Amazon Marketing Services

By Ben Lipscombe, Head of Biddable Media, Red Hot Penny

Consumers are moving away from search engines for product searches and turning to Amazon as a one-stop-shop.

But instead of seeing Amazon as the enemy here are seven reasons why you should work WITH them and use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS):

  1. High conversion rates 

Amazon searchers are incredibly likely to already have an Amazon account and will be shopping for a specific product. That means they’re unlikely to leave Amazon to buy the product elsewhere and more likely to convert.

  1. You only pay-per-click

You have complete control. You set budgets, set boundaries, and only pay when shoppers click your ads.

  1. It’s cheaper

Amazon Marketing Services are still quite new. That means less competition than channels like Google Shopping with lower ad/bid costs, better optimisation of what ads show for, more efficiency and greater ROAS.

  1. You can use the skills you’ve already got

Although Amazon’s interface can take more time to manage than other platforms, many of the skills needed for success are transferable so the platform can easily integrate with your wider Paid Strategy.

  1. Paid Amazon ads get prioritized

Like all other online channels, paid posts, products and ads have priority in newsfeeds. Paid AMS Ads will continue to gain more and more momentum in the coming years, and it’s a wave that businesses should be riding.

  1. More visibility

If you advertise on AMS, your products will have significantly increased visibility. So, they’ll be getting more eyes on your products, more brand awareness, and more sales.

  1. Amazon is the new giant 

Some might say Amazon detracts from the ecommerce industry. But the fact is, if you’re selling a product which is on Amazon and you’re not, it’ll be much harder to generate sales if you’re not present on Amazon and AMS.

Ready for AMS?

Like it or not, you may soon find yourself in a position where you will need to work with Amazon – either to spread bets and open up new channels, or to open up markets as a smaller brand. You should go for it and embrace what is a great channel for paid activity.

This is a condensed version of a Red Hot Penny blog, the original can be found here:

UK retail sales rally slightly in April

New figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that UK retail sales lifted slightly in April, reversing the decline that was witnessed in March.

As the High Street suffers store closures, troubled UK retail veterans and more, the news has provided a glimmer of hope for the sector. Key highlights of the ONS report include:

  • In April 2018, the quantity of goods bought in the retail industry remained relatively flat with a slight increase of 0.1% in the three-month on three-month movement.
  • When compared with March 2018, the quantity bought in April increased by 1.6% as all sectors, excluding department stores, recovered from the declines seen in March.
  • Department stores showed a different monthly picture to all other sectors as the only sector to report a fall in quantities bought, at negative 0.9% in April following strong online sales in March.
  • Petrol sales reported the largest recovery in April, with a growth of 4.7% compared with a decline of negative 6.9% in the previous month as road closures affected travel in March.
  • Removing the monthly volatility, the combined two months of March and April compared with the same periods a year earlier showed a general slowdown to growth at 1.3% for March and April 2018 when compared with 2.9% for March and April 2017.
  • Online sales as a proportion of all retailing continued to grow year-on-year at 17.3% in April 2018, in comparison with 16.1% in April 2017; with food and clothing stores achieving record online proportions.

Commenting on the figures, Rob Kent-Smith, Head of National Accounts at the ONS said: “Retail sales bounced back in April, as petrol and other sales recovered from the snowfall. But the underlying position remains subdued with the volume of goods sold over the last six months broadly unchanged.

“Increases were seen across all sectors in April, except department stores. Department stores declined following relatively strong sales last month, when their online sales were boosted during the adverse weather.

“Over the longer-term, retail sales growth has slowed considerably, with increases in food, household goods and internet retailers being largely offset by declines across all other types of retailing.”

Do you provide Affiliate Marketing solutions into retail? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Retail Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the retail and eCommerce markets – in June we’ll be focussing on Affiliate Marketing solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help retail and eCommerce buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Affiliate Marketing solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Carter on

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:


June – Affiliate Marketing

July – Flooring

August – Complete Shopfitting

September – Lighting

October – Display Cases & Products

November – Retail Design

December – Window Displays

For more information on any of the above, contact Lisa Carter on