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Stuart O'Brien

Do you specialise in retail Lighting solutions? 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 August we’ll be focussing on Lighting solutions.

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

So, if you’re a Lighting solutions specialist 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 Courtney Saggers on c.saggers@forumevents.co.uk.

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

Aug – Lighting
Sep – Display Cases & Digital Signage
Oct – Retail Design
Nov – Window Displays
Dec – Digital Signage

For more information on any of the above, contact Courtney Saggers on c.saggers@forumevents.co.uk.

Image by minka2507 from Pixabay

SAVE THE DATE: eTailing Summit 2020

The eTailing Summit will return to London on February 11th 2020, with a second event taking place on July 7th due to high demand.

We expect places to fill up fast, so register here for either event to ensure you join 60 peers for the opportunity to:-

  • Meet with innovative suppliers for a series of face-to-face, pre-arranged meetings based on your own requirements.
  • Network with like-minded peers.
  • Attend a series of insightful seminar sessions.
  • Receive complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Attending delegates in 2019 included the likes of:

  • ACCO Brands
  • Arla Foods
  • ASOS
  • Astrid & Miyu
  • Atlantic Theraputics
  • Barbour
  • Bidfood
  • Biscuiteers
  • Bluebella
  • Boden
  • Boutique 1
  • Building Supplies Online 
  • Celtic Football Club
  • Ciate London & Lottie London
  • Coca-Cola European Partners
  • Dyson
  • Emma Bridgewater
  • Expedia
  • Frescobol Carioca
  • GANT
  • GSK
  • L’Oreal / Lancome
  • Laura Ashley
  • LEGO
  • Louis Vuitton UK
  • LSA International
  • Monsoon Accessorize
  • Never Fully Dressed
  • RB
  • Revlon
  • Scout Store
  • SiS (Science in Sport)
  • Smiggle UK
  • Sodexo
  • Strand Palace Hotel
  • Temple Spa
  • Trotters Childrenswear & Accessories
  • Ultimate Products
  • Walls & Floors
  • World Duty Free

Would you like to join them in 2020? Click here to register!

Retail groups demand action on violence against staff

A group of businesses and trade bodies representing the retail sector have written to the Home Secretary and other Ministers, calling for more to be done to tackle widespread violence and abuse against shopworkers.

The letter, signed by retailers and groups including the Association of Convenience Stores, British Retail Consortium, USDAW and the Charity Retailers Association, calls for bold, ambitious and collective action to deliver meaningful change that will reduce levels of violence and abuse, both from central Government, the wider justice system and from retailers themselves.

Figures from the 2019 ACS Crime Report show that in the convenience sector alone, there were almost 10,000 incidents of violence and abuse last year.

Additionally, USDAW’s Freedom From Fear survey shows that over the last year, nearly two thirds of shopworkers experienced verbal abuse and 40% were threatened by a customer.

The British Retail Consortium’s most recent Retail Crime Survey found that 115 workers are attacked every day, also highlighting some very concerning case studies.

These trends are despite record spending on crime prevention by retailers, estimated by the British Retail Consortium at over £1 billion per year.

The letter makes a series of recommendations to Government for tackling violence and abuse, so that the nearly 3 million retail colleagues in the UK no longer have to face violence and abuse on a daily basis, including:

  • Tougher sentences for those who attack shopworkers
  • Change to the out of court disposals system (e.g. fixed penalty notices) which the bodies say is failing to have an impact on reoffending
  • A full review into the response of police forces to incidents of violence in the retail sector

The calls come as the Home Office closes its 12-week call for evidence on violence and abuse. Responses from thousands of shops and shopworkers have been submitted, highlighting the true cost of violence and abuse and frustration around the way that offenders are being dealt with.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers and staff that have been subjected to abuse often give up on reporting crimes to the police because nothing is done, and that needs to change. We need fundamental reform of the justice system to deter criminals from committing lower level offences, more consistent police response to show retailers that they take incidents of violence and abuse seriously, and ultimately tougher sentences to tackle reoffending rates when the worst does happen. No one should have to go to work fearing abuse as part of their everyday life.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said “Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK, with roughly 3 million employees spread across each and every community, and violence against employees is the most difficult issue it faces. These are not victimless crimes: they impact upon the skilled, passionate, committed individuals who make the industry so vibrant, as well as their families and loved ones. That is why so many of our members and aligned groups have come together to ask the Government to do more to tackle this problem, and do it now.”

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said: “Evidence from employers, police and shopworkers shows that violence, threats and abuse against retail staff is a persistent and increasing problem. Usdaw’s own survey revealed that on average a UK shopworker can end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault nearly once a fortnight. Our message is clear, abuse is not a part of the job. We continue to call for stiffer penalties for those who assault shopworkers and the introduction of a simple stand-alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, police, courts and most importantly criminals. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law.”

The Home Office Call for Evidence on violence and abuse was launched on April 5th. More details about the launch are available here.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

BRC acquires OSS Retail to bridge retail skills gap

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has acquired OSS Retail, formerly known as the Oxford Summer School, from the British Independent Retailers Association.

The acquisition is part of BRC’s Better Jobs campaign and its commitment to repositioning retail as a career of choice.

The BRC asserts that the changing nature of jobs in the retail industry means talent retention and development are vital to the industry’s ongoing transformation.

OSS Retail itself has over 90 years experience in developing talent across the industry, with leadership programmes run by retailers for retailers.

OSS alumni include many well-known retail leaders including Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Mothercare, and Marigay McKee, former President of Saks Fifth Avenue.

The BRC says its reputational strength and reach, combined with the training expertise and industry support of OSS Retail, will create a platform that can build on past successes and deliver highly regarded programmes, with the BRC accelerating the development of its careers and professional development offer.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “This is an exciting time for the industry as it responds to the changing retail landscape. With technology changing the way consumers shop, it is essential we invest in the people who will facilitate the future successes of the industry.

“Recently, our BRC Learning division has launched two new apprenticeships into the market and launched Rethink Retail, our new careers guidance website. Working with OSS Retail will allow us to further build on our careers and development offering, for the benefit of our members and the wider industry.”

Dominic Prendergast, Consultant Managing Director of OSS Retail, said: “We are delighted to have joined the BRC who will enable us to continue our growth plans and target a wider customer base. This demonstrates our commitment to continue developing our customers’ talent, at the same time underpinning retail as a career of choice.”

Summer festivals to drive £1.2bn spend at UK retail

Festival goers will spend over £1.2bn this summer in the UK on food, clothes and merchandise, with adults averaging £67 per day and retailers reaping rewards from ‘pop up’ experimentation.

That’s according to a study commissioned by Barclaycard to mark its partnership with Live Nation and AEG at eight music festivals across the UK.

The credit card giant polled 2,000 adults and found that 36 percent plan to attend at least one festival in 2019.

Food is the biggest daily spend, averaging at £46, with Thai (16 percent) and fish curry (15 percent) preferred to the traditional burger and beer. 

An adventurous six percent will try insects onsite, while eight in every 10 festival goers will purchase something unique which can’t be bought elsewhere. 

Four in 10 even prefer to shop at live entertainment events than online, or on the high street – with a third considering these event better places to uncover new trends.

And just under half of those polled prefer the unusual product offering laid out on stalls, and 41 per cent feel more connected to the products they buy at a live event.

Making memories is also increasingly important to Brits when deciding how to spend their money, with many keen to take away something extra from their festival experience.

Four in ten (41 per cent) also said they feel more connected to the products they buy at a live event, over those made on the high street or online.

200 merchants were also polled by Barclaycard, with results indicating that festivals are seen as fertile ground to trial new products and ideas, with half testing products which they’ll then later roll out online or in store.

With the festival industry currently worth over £2.46bn and 36 per cent of Brits planning to attend a festival this summer, Barclaycard says live events pose an increasingly lucrative opportunity for new and established brands.

Daniel Mathieson, head of sponsorship at Barclaycard, said: “Pop-up commerce is thriving across the UK festival scene, as brands compete to provide the ultimate fan experience.

”With more ways to engage audiences alongside demand for a deeper connection to the products they try and buy, festivals are becoming a fertile ground for all kinds of businesses to grow.

“In recent years we’ve also seen festivals start to offer dedicated event spaces to brands while providing activations on-site has also become increasingly popular.

”As festival spending looks set to rise, my advice to UK businesses is to explore the sales and marketing opportunities the UK live entertainment scene presents, or risk losing out to more savvy competitors.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit – What you need to know

Are you free on March 9th & 10th and would like to join us at the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit?

This is a bespoke and highly-targeted event created specifically for senior VM and shopfitting professionals like you. It is entirely FREE for you to attend.

Simply register your place here.

When:9 & 10 March 2020

Where:Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

Format:Corporate ‘speed-dating’. As our VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers relevant to your requirements. A series of seminars will also be hosted throughout the two days, and you can network with professionals who share your challenges.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner, are included with your free ticket.

Who Attends:Senior Visual Merchandising and Shopfitting professionals like you.

Would you like to join them? Register your free place today!

CMA ‘troubled’ by fake product reviews on eBay and Facebook

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found ‘troubling evidence’ that there is a thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews.

After web sweeps performed between November 2018 to June 2019, the CMA was concerned about over 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale.

It also identified – during the same period – 26 Facebook groups in total where people offered to write fake reviews or businesses recruited people to write fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping and review sites.

It is estimated that over three-quarters of UK internet users consider online reviews when choosing what to buy. The CMA says billions of pounds of people’s spending is influenced by reviews every year and that fake and misleading reviews not only lead to people making poorly informed choices and buying the wrong products, but they are also illegal under consumer protection law.

The CMA is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites. Since the CMA wrote to the sites, both have indicated that they will cooperate and Facebook has informed the CMA that most of the 26 groups have been removed.

The CMA says it welcomes this, and expects the sites to put measures in place to ensure that all the identified content is removed and to stop it from reappearing.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, said: “Lots of us rely on reviews when shopping online to decide what to buy. It is important that people are able to trust that reviews are genuine, rather than something someone has been paid to write.

“Fake reviews mean that people might make the wrong choice and end up with a product or service that’s not right for them. They’re also unfair to businesses who do the right thing.

“We want Facebook and eBay to conduct an urgent review of their sites to prevent fake and misleading online reviews from being bought and sold.”

This is the first phase in a wider programme of CMA work aimed at tackling fake and misleading reviews. It builds on previous action in this area to protect shoppers from misleading information on the internet, including enforcement action taken against an online marketing company to stop it from writing fake reviews and demand it removed those it had posted.

For more information, view the case page.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

eTailing Summit: Last chance to claim your FREE VIP invitation

This is a last call to senior ecommerce professionals like you to claim your free place at the eTailing Summit.

This unique one-day event takes place on July 9th at the Hilton London Tower Bridge.

Register here.

  • Meet with innovative suppliers for a series of face-to-face, pre-arranged meetings based on your own requirements.
  • Network with like-minded peers.
  • Attend a series of insightful seminar sessions.
  • Receive complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Our seminar programme includes:

Ecommerce in Jeopardy: Can you afford to lose 30% of your revenue? – by Paul Rodgers, Chairman, Vendorcom

Increasing Conversion with Conversational AI – by Christopher Baldwin, VP Marketing, Zoovu

Creating a brand with a purpose – by Paul Forkan, Founder, Gandy’s

To Agency or not to Agency: A non-biased view – by Luca Senatore, Agency Director, Genie Goals

You will be joining representatives from the likes of:

  • ACCO Brands
  • Arla Foods
  • ASOS
  • Astrid & Miyu
  • Atlantic Theraputics
  • Barbour
  • Bidfood
  • Biscuiteers
  • Bluebella
  • Boden
  • Boutique 1
  • Building Supplies Online 
  • Celtic Football Club
  • Ciate London & Lottie London
  • Coca-Cola European Partners
  • Dyson
  • Emma Bridgewater
  • Expedia
  • Frescobol Carioca
  • GANT
  • GSK
  • L’Oreal / Lancome
  • Laura Ashley
  • LEGO
  • Louis Vuitton UK
  • LSA International
  • Monsoon Accessorize
  • Never Fully Dressed
  • RB
  • Revlon
  • Scout Store
  • SiS (Science in Sport)
  • Smiggle UK
  • Sodexo
  • Strand Palace Hotel
  • Temple Spa
  • Trotters Childrenswear & Accessories
  • Ultimate Products
  • Walls & Floors
  • World Duty Free

Would you like to join them? Click here to register!

Online retail ‘must try harder’ to avoid basic mistakes

Online retailers could be making more in revenues if they applied simple measures, such as appropriate product imagery.

That’s according to research carried out on 1,213 UK adults by agency MarketingSignals, which found a staggering 61 percent of those polled were put off purchasing from a website by insufficient or poor product imagery, followed by 57 percent that found product descriptions inadequate.

The survey also found that more than half (52 percent) of these businesses are failing potential customers with their lack of customer service, while 47 percent have overly intrusive discount pop ups on the home page, which can potentially detract users from making a purchase.

43 percent of those polled were put off by websites that has an over complicated checkout process, while 41 percent would be deterred by an e-commerce business which has little or no social media presence.

A third (34 percent) of those questioned said that a lack of delivery options would deter them from from making an online purchase, whilst a website that wasn’t optimised for mobile devices would put off 27 percent of respondents.

16 percent said they’d be put off from making a purchase if they couldn’t see company information or an ‘about us’ page. Completing the top ten reasons which deter users from making a purchase was customers who prefer to use alternative payment methods, with over one in ten (11 percent) saying that they’d seek to make their purchase elsewhere if a website did not accept the PayPal or Apple Pay.

Gareth Hoyle, managing director at marketingsignals.com, said: “It’s clear from the research that many potential customers are being put off from making a purchase from websites they are not familiar with, which makes it so much more important for e-commerce businesses to make the checkout process as simple as possible in order for them to complete their transaction smoothly.

“In this social media age, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 41 percent of Brits would be put off from making a purchase from a website that is unfamiliar to them and doesn’t have a visible social media presence.

“Internet savvy consumers are always keen to spot a bargain, though can be put off by over complicated or seemingly untrustworthy websites when attempting to make a purchase, instead opting to buy from a site they already know and trust. So what this research demonstrates is that it’s clear that there are simple steps e-commerce businesses can take in order to improve conversion rates from first time visitors to their site.”

The top ten reasons that deter customers from making an e-commerce purchase:

  1. Insufficient or poor quality product imagery – 61 percent
  2. Inadequate product descriptions – 57 percent
  3. Lack of customer service – 52 percent
  4. Distracting/Intrusive pop ups – 47 percent
  5. Over complicated check-out process – 43 percent
  6. Little or no social media presence – 41 percent
  7. Lack of delivery options – 34 percent
  8. Desktop-only site design – 27 percent
  9. Insufficient or lack of company information – 16 percent
  10. Not accepting alternative payment methods including PayPal and Apple Pay – 11 percent

Image by StockSnapfrom Pixabay

Do you specialise in Complete Shopfitting Solutions? 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 July we’ll be focussing on Complete Shopfitting Solutions.

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

So, if you’re a Complete Shopfitting Solutions specialist 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 Courtney Saggers on c.saggers@forumevents.co.uk.

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

Jul – Complete Shopfitting
Aug – Lighting
Sep – Display Cases & Digital Signage
Oct – Retail Design
Nov – Window Displays
Dec – Digital Signage

For more information on any of the above, contact Courtney Saggers on c.saggers@forumevents.co.uk.