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GUEST BLOG: How retailers can embrace cryptocurrencies to boost business and loyalty

By Raj Agrawal, Founder & Tech Entrepreneur, Dewber

Traditional loyalty schemes are in need of an overhaul – customers are tired of carrying around multiple store cards and retailers are looking for new ways to encourage sales.

This is where cryptocurrency comes in, offering a new platform that retailers can customise and use how they see fit. Any retail business can incorporate cryptocurrency into their business operations, creating new opportunities and advantageous benefits for both the business and the customer.

Loyalty schemes are nothing new. Big retailers have seen loyal customers purchase 90% more regularly than casual customers, and the average spend can be much higher when a customer knows they are collecting points. The problem is, smaller and independent retailers can find it difficult to achieve the same amount of customer retention through their loyalty scheme alone.

Many loyalty points are forgotten about, and too often accounts become inactive. Globally, there is over 100 billion dollars worth of unclaimed loyalty points, leading to the question: How can we innovate our loyalty schemes to keep customers coming back?

Cryptocurrencies may seem complicated, but once on board, it can give retailers the opportunity to attract and keep a new, young customer base. Over 17% of millennials have purchased digital coins, which can be spent and traded freely through a centralised, online system. This cashless system is gaining momentum, and retailers can maximise business by incorporating this into their loyalty schemes. By receiving digital tokens instead of traditional loyalty points, customers are getting something they really want – the ability to earn loyalty from everywhere and choose where to spend thereby creating shared loyalty experience on the high street. The chances are they will keep coming back to you when they know their digital purse is growing.

Once a retailer is signed up to a blockchain-based loyalty scheme, they will become part of a wider, global network of retailers who offer the same digital tokens and business specific rewards. Customers can receive digital tokens with every purchase, which can then be redeemed globally at any participating business. It’s up to you how the tokens are awarded and redeemed. Customers will become magnetised to these businesses who offer a common goal, leaving the individual store cards behind. This innovative system allows a much greater use of loyalty points by the customer, which in turn can only lead to more committed customer base for retailers that may have struggled before.

By introducing cryptocurrency into your loyalty scheme, you can begin to capture the attention of the younger generations, and ultimately improve customer engagement and repeat spends. Companies such as Dewber are gearing up to provide a user-friendly platform for retailers to get involved, and aid with navigating this game-changing way of rewarding customers.

Whether you are a café, bar or independent retailer, offering digital tokens could be the business-savvy way forward.

About the Author

Dewber founder and CEO Raj Agrawal has over 20 years experience in business, technology, senior management experience in operations, IT security, marketing and finance within fortune 50 companies like Deutsche Bank, Prudential (Vitality), Visa Europe and Deloitte UK.

Dewber is a tech start-up which uses blockchain to bring innovation to the loyalty economy with the ability to run global rewards and crypto points schemes. Dewber offers a digital mobile experience, customer engagement, cross channel redemption capabilities and strictly does not perform any data mining by collecting or analysing customer purchase history for marketing or cross product promotion.

GUEST BLOG: Where are department stores going wrong? 

As alarming headlines continue to emerge about some of the most established UK department stores, it’s natural that the industry is questioning the future of retail and the place of bricks-and-mortar stores. But is retail as we know it beyond repair or is it set for a revival?

The ability to have an emotional resonance with a customer and add genuine value to their shopping experience, are key differentiators that high street stores still hold over e-commerce, but these can quickly become lost.

Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital discusses how retailers can keep hold of this differentiator, improve their customer experience and still rival the e-commerce competition…

The Core Issues

It’s obvious really but attractive stores, interesting products, and motivated staff are the lifeblood of  bricks-and-mortar retail, and always have been. Department stores that sold-up, closed down or failed altogether were almost certainly making basic mistakes well before the internet became their newest competitor and accelerated their demise.

Sears being just the most recent example of a retailer that had it all; longstanding supplier relationships, a great distribution network and an enormous and loyal customer base, only to let it all slip through their hands like sand. Turning the browsing shopper into a buying customer is about giving them the reasons and means to ‘treat’ themselves, and while that’s achieved partly through presentation and partly through the available products, it’s also about the enthusiasm of the store associate.

A well-trained associate creates the moment and through engaging with other team members ensures that the correct expertise, samples, products, sizes and alternatives are produced effortlessly for the customer, creating a quick, easy and positive shopping experience, inspiring them to spend.

Consider a recent UK-based retail trends survey that found that whilst 74% of consumers still prefer going to a physical store they have little and dwindling patience poor service. According to an additional study, 60% of customers have walked out of a store in the last year due to poor customer service and those asked cited more friendly members of staff, less waiting time and better communication between in-store teams as the top three critical points for customer service.

This shows that a traditional human element is still a big part of what the customer wants and expects when shopping in-store, particularly so in a department store where customers would be expecting a higher standard of service than one might experience in the high street.

To provide the quickest, smoothest experience retailers need to simply connect their teams to one another. Traditional communication needs such as tannoys and radios are intrusive on the customer, don’t instill them with much confidence and are easy for staff members to ignore. Some retailers have adopted mobiles and tablets into their retail teams as a potential solution, but 41% of consumers believe that headsets are more likely to improve the overall customer experience and speed of service.

Using single digital channel headsets ensures that all staff are continually on message and as a result, managers can efficiently reallocate store associates to specific tasks as required. In addition, staff can also communicate with each other – asking questions of product specialists to immediately answer a customer query, for example, or quickly getting someone on the shop floor to fulfil a two for one offer for a customer already at the check-out. This immediate and shared communication enables store associates to work together as a team in order to improve overall efficiency and productivity.

Conclusion

In order to encourage shoppers to not only come in but return time and time again, department stores need to be built around the behaviours and needs of the customer, not the other way round. A good customer experience is the foundation of retail success and the right department stores have this in bundles.

But in order to thrive when others are dwindling, stores must realise that their secret weapon really is found in the store associates. They have an essential role to play in executing a good customer experience across every touch point and if they are armed with the tools they need in order to excel and exceed customer expectations, then the rest will follow.

GUEST BLOG: Cross-brand collaborations – ‘X’ marks the spot

By Red Hot Penny

Cross-brand collaborations seem to be everywhere right now. But why the sudden explosion in collaborations? And why do brands do it?

We’ve delved into some of the likely reasons behind cross-brand collaborations and collected some handy examples of those collaborations in action.

Open up new markets

One reason for collaboration is to open new, complementary markets and get your brand in front of potential customers.

We’re seeing this a lot in the fashion world. High-fashion brands are constantly collaborating with high-street brands. Think Moschino X H&M, Fenty X Puma, or Junya Watanabe X The North Face.  It helps to tap into different customer groups and introduce higher end brands to the high-street shopper through capsule collections.

IKEA are current kings of the new market collaborations. They regularly collaborate with other brands and individuals all of which open up the IKEA brand to new customers and markets.

Show you “get” your customer

Sometimes a collaboration isn’t necessarily about accessing new customers but showing your existing customers that you get them and understand what they want. It increases brand value and makes your fans even more dedicated.

LEGO are particularly good at this with Star Wars, Batman, Simpsons and Harry Potter brand collaborations all reinforcing their respective brands even further within their target markets.

Sports brands are also getting in on the action. Nike X Cristiano Ronaldo, Puma X Rihanna, and Adidas x Pharrell Williams are all examples of brands spotting trends amongst existing customer bases and using collaborations to reinforce their brand with their customers.

Get noticed

The marketplace in all sectors is so crowded now that brands have to do something out of the ordinary to be heard and raise awareness. And a collaboration is one way to do just that.

Some of the most hyped collaborations of recent times include Supreme X Louis Vuitton (what’s a blog about collaborations without at least one mention of Supreme?), Nike X Apple, and Uber X Spotify.

Smaller brands can use collaborations to get ahead and piggy-back on the reputation of their better-known collaborator too. Palace Skateboards, well known in their niche but not globally renowned, have had great success with their Adidas collaborations.

Through the collaboration the smaller brands get access to a much bigger audience and the larger brand gets positioned as a champion of the next wave. Win – Win.

Promote a cause

Brands can also team up for selfless reasons. The CALM X F&F #MarkYourMan campaign, WWF X Whiskas and GLAAD X Asos collaborations all help shine a light on different charity causes such as preventing suicide, protecting tigers and promoting LGBTQ rights.

A collaboration can be a fantastic way for a charity to expand its reach and awareness with the relevant people, while also generating more funding. For the supporting brand, it can create good feeling as they demonstrate their commitment to charitable causes.

Reinvigorate a brand

Sometimes a brand collaboration can be a great way to shake the dust off an established brand and create a bit of positive buzz to show that it’s still relevant.

Heinz soup cans had been largely untouched for 108 years until a design collaboration with Cath Kidston was launched in April this year.

Crayola, beloved crayon brand and supplier of one of the best smells from your childhood have been getting in on the action, launching a make-up range with Clinique that sent beauty bloggers crazy. Their second make-up range released with Asos is primed and ready for festival season.

Both ranges will have reintroduced the brand to many former Crayola fans, and tapped into nostalgia to drive the brand forward.

Tap into the latest trends

Collaborations aren’t necessarily long-term deals and that’s never more evident than when brands team up with pop culture flavours-of-the-month for short term collaborations.

The marketers at Topshop might love Stranger Things, the guys at Drop Dead probably binge watch Game of Thrones and the team at Covergirl are obviously massive Star Wars fans, but the mass appeal of the shows and the buzz around new releases is more likely the reason for the collaboration than any shared ideals or agendas.

Collaborations between brands don’t look like they’re going to stop any time soon, and with the ever-growing pressure on the high-street it may soon be a case of “collaborate or die” for those retailers who haven’t done so yet.

So, whether it’s to open up new markets, reinvigorate a brand or shine a light on a cause close to a brand’s heart which brands do you think will be the next to collaborate?

An unedited and extended version of this blog can be found at https://www.redhotpenny.com/insight/cross-brand-collaborations/

GUEST BLOG: The pitfalls of paid search

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

Your resellers are undercutting you on Google Shopping. What are you doing about it?

Google Shopping is one of the most important channels for generic online growth. But you might be shooting yourself in the foot thanks to the reseller agreements you have in place.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM

Resellers will discount your product prices due to a lack of awareness around the agreements put in place and/or a lack of restrictions. And with no restrictions in place, your resellers can – and will – sell your products for cheaper.

By the time you realise it is a problem, it’s often too late and you’ll have very little room to negotiate because the agreement (without restrictions on undercutting) is already in place.

This not only strains relationships but also limits the potential you have to drive sales on your own site, so you need to be clear on expectations from the outset.

The ultimate point is that you don’t want to get beaten on price on Google Shopping. It’s essentially a product with a list of prices next to it so is hugely price sensitive.

Having a great brand and strong website won’t matter if someone else can get exactly the same product for cheaper elsewhere. And you don’t want to end up in the position where you’re struggling for growth because your own resellers are selling your products cheaper than you can.

The worst part? You’ll only have yourself to blame.

SOLVING THE PROBLEM

Google have recognised the issue and are bringing out a set of analytical tools that’ll help you pinpoint pricing differences across your product feed – so you can identify issues ahead of time and focus on the areas for growth.

But to help yourself out putting a pricing strategy in place when you first negotiate with your resellers will ensure you leave yourself with the option to sell online through your own site via Google Shopping without the fear of them undercutting you.

In most cases, there’ll already be contracts that exist with no mention of Google Shopping pricing restrictions. So, you’ll need to have a careful discussion with your resellers to reach a compromise without any party feeling hard done-by.

That’s why it’s so important to consider your reseller and partner Shopping agreements pre-emptively.

And remember, Google Shopping is a price-led channel, no matter how big your brand is.

NEXT STEPS

If you’re already in the position where you’ve got agreements in place but no pricing restrictions, or you’re considering working with resellers and don’t want to get tripped up, get in touch for advice on how to approach either situation so you can keep all parties happy.

www.redhotpenny.com

GUEST BLOG: Understanding changes in shopping habits

By Russ Powell, Head of Marketing, Red Hot Penny

The way we shop is constantly changing. From post-war austerity, through the economic boom of the 1950s to the dot com explosion of the 2000s our High Streets, shopping habits and expectations have altered beyond recognition.

Online sales have risen steadily over the last 10 years, making up 16.3% of all British retail salesin 2017. And the effect on the high street has been clear with numerous brands either struggling badly or having already disappeared.

This is a huge contrast to the success that online retailers are seeing at the moment with sales at the top 20 online-only retailers growing by nearly a quarter (23%) in the last year alone.

But even the way we shop online is now changing. Sales made on smartphones in the UK have increased by 13% in just the first quarter of 2018 according to Criteo – a big jump in a short space of time.

Smart speakers are also steadily becoming a must-have with nearly 25 million smart speakers sold in 2017, driving the rise of voice searches.

Predictions by ComScore say that more than 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. And considering Amazon Echo owners increase spending on Amazon by 6% after purchasing the speaker, it gives an idea of how consumers are using the devices – to shop.

So, what do these changes in shopping habits mean for retailers?

Shopping habits are all about convenience so you need to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to shop with you. A functioning website isn’t enough though. To stay relevant, you also need to think about:

  • Online visibility

If your website is hidden on page 5 of Google’s search results, customers might not even realise they can buy from you. A fully-optimised website that ranks for related searches is essential.

  • Mobile First

If it isn’t already, your site should be mobile optimised so it’s as easy as possible for customers to buy products with their smartphone. Every page and navigation feature should be designed with mobile in mind – fast site speeds are a must.

  • The rise of voice search

This will see a growth in longer, more conversational searches. So webpages need to be relevant, work seamlessly on mobile and be easily readable to be picked as a voice search result.

Voice search may also come in useful for driving footfall to stores. Optimising your Google My Business Listing so it can answer things like location and opening hours queries will help direct customers to you.

Retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new shopping habits, because failing to keep up has already caused well-loved brands to go bust.

To find out more about voice search and its rising influence take a look at our Slam Down blog or find out what your voice search IQ is with our quiz.

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 thoughtmix.co.uk to arrange a no-obligation consultation.

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: https://www.redhotpenny.com/insight/7-amazon-marketing-services-reasons/

GUEST BLOG: The Death of the Agency of Record?

By David Schulhof, Sales Director, Red Hot Penny

Is there really still room for both Agencies of Record (AOR) and specialised SME agencies in today’s market?

AOR is a term that’s being heard less and less, which is great for smaller agencies. It used to be impossible for creative and super talented boutique agencies to work on sizeable projects and compete with bigger rivals.

Strict procurement policies and expansive project scopes – complete with lengthy RFI processes – favoured the big boys and gave the rest little chance.

But in the past 18 months it feels like a shift has occurred, with brands of all shapes and sizes seeking more agile support for projects with defined briefs and goals – perfect for an SME agency.

A recent article from Marketing Week shared some stats that support this shift, with 66% of business leaders expecting to use SME agencies instead of their AOR this year. Couple this with the fact that over the next five years, 78% will place more value on specialised expertise over general offerings, now really is the time for SME agencies to shine.

It would be naïve to think that the big agencies don’t have an important role to play. Big brands will still have an AOR, but rather than turning to them for everything they’ll use a network of smaller, more agile and specialist agencies on specific projects.

With all the sad stories about high street heavyweights struggling will the brands that survive and continue to grow be the ones that have single AOR models or those with a network of specialist agencies and resources?

Only time will tell, but I’d personally back the SME agencies that can offer better value for money and bespoke services as the ones that will be helping drive brand growth. What do you think?

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GUEST BLOG: A focus on the latest trends in retail branding

Change in the retail branding world continues to accelerate and evolve. Prosper’s Head of Branding, Colin Walsh, looks at how brands today need to be relevant, responsive and less predictable to keep pace…

The fight for consumers’ attention has never been tougher. Now people are bombarded with so much noise from numerous brand messages, they are much more savvy and selective about what – and who – they pay attention to.

Brand identity and messaging also needs to work in a increasingly diverse range of contexts, across physical and digital realms. So it takes something bolder and braver to really cut through the clutter and work across a range of environments.

Context is key

Creating a brand identity today, you need to always think holistically and be experience minded rather than designing something in isolation. Does this logo work across multiple touchpoints? How will it behave digitally and physically? Can I disrupt it to create a visual language to support the marque?

Branding needs to work in an increasing variety of contexts. As our phones or tablets become the first point of engagement for many customers, the interaction experience is fundamental to brand and product success.

When Wieden & Kennedy rolled out the new Formula One identity recently, some fans were horrified. However it’s clear it has much more of a digital focus and reflects F1’s evolution into a global entertainment brand present across a multitude of channels.

Breaking conventions

Brands are taking more risks and breaking the chains of conformity, even well-established names and corporate sectors with deep rooted behavioural conventions.

Some players in traditional business sectors such as banking and insurance are starting to have fun with their brand and how they talk to – and engage with – consumers, especially younger ones who will be key to their future relevance.

First Direct was a pioneer in banking to break away from traditional stereotypes with a more refreshing, straight talking approach and Royal Life Insurance is using humour to shed some of its sector’s stiffness.

Consumers are also not frightened to break convention, being less snobbish about brands and how they mix them up. This allows older brand names to reinvent themselves, as seen recently with the nostalgia trend for casual sportswear brands. Retro labels such as Ellesse, Champion, Fila and Kappa are now seeing a renaissance in the high fashion world. 

Remaining relevant

For the brands that have been around for decades or even centuries, there are lessons to learn on how they continue to evolve yet remain relevant – it’s getting that balance right. Being bold for them is often about doing something unexpected, that’s more subtle and clever as they already have great awareness.

McDonalds recently deconstructed their iconic golden arches, transforming them into billboards for roadside advertising. The adverts cropped the original logo into smaller pieces that could also direct customers to the nearest McDonald’s restaurant.

The campaign was also of playful way of demonstrating how recognizable the McDonald’s symbol has become, even when only portions of it are revealed. The famous fast food brand also recently inverted the golden M to a W to support International Women’s Day using highly topical subjects in a simple but clever way.

Iconic beer brand Guinness is also evolving – its latest Made of More positioning prioritises telling powerful stories people can relate to. After the financial crash, Guinness did much research on how its brand can stay relevant for the next 20 years. The results showed a major need for substance in an era when people have become very cynical of major organisations.

In all honesty

Indeed, savvy consumers value authenticity and honest behaviour from brands more than ever and can spot phoniness a mile away. The days of superficial spin and mass market messaging are truly over. No more empty brand promises – you need to truly deliver on them.

So brands using topical issues to stay relevant must tread a careful line to maintain integrity and not been seen to just jump on the bandwagon. Pepsi made this mistake last year with its Live for Now advert, sparking widespread criticism in co-opting protest movements such as Black Lives Matter for commercial gain.

For the greater good

Consumers expect more ethical brand behaviour now, to transparently see corporate social responsibility in action. Younger consumers especially are very sustainability-conscious and look to buy products and services from companies addressing social and environmental issues.

One recent example of this is French apparel brand Lacoste bringing attention to the global state of biodiversity by swapping its distinctive crocodile logo for one of 10 threatened animal species on a series of limited-edition polo shirts.

Culture not commerce

With consumers now so well informed – there’s a natural move away from the hard sell towards a softer sell. This is one of the reasons why experiential led retail continues to thrive.

If brands want to drive footfall, long-term engagement and ultimately increase sales, they need to think culture not commerce. That’s why leading retailers are investing in concepts that produce great consumer traction rather than those directing them straight to products.

Topshop’s Virtual Reality water slide concept in its London flagship last summer, is a great example of this softer sell approach. The VR headset visuals didn’t display any products but created great in-store buzz and shareability.

Do different

In the experience world, it is easy to be distracted by what others are doing and follow suit. Yet brands that stand out and deliver a great experience are ones that craft a clear brand purpose through really knowing their consumer and understanding how their own brand identity manifests itself in a physical space.

Doctor Manzana in Valencia, Spain specialises in mobile phone repairs and smartphone cases but looks and feels completely different from other stores in this sector. Designed by creative consultancy MasqueSpacio to appeal to discerning customers from fashionistas to geeks, the stores have strong graphics, distinctive furniture and a bold colour palette, a great example of a consistent brand experience.

Geographical context is increasingly influencing in-store experience too, especially for global brands, with stores designs attuned with their immediate surroundings. So not just changes between countries but also on microscales, for different neighbourhoods of the same city. Which is why the Nike store in Shoreditch looks and feels very different to Oxford Street.

Interaction over transaction

Brands also have to think more long term than ever and those still concentrating too much on rapid profit, quick wins and results will fail, as proved by the latest retail casualty – Toys R Us. must innovate. To excite consumers, the focus needs to be more on interaction than transaction.

The toy store that called itself a ‘magical place’ in its heydey was anything but – its big unwelcoming stores with aisles piled high with products felt mundane in today’s retail world. Contrast that with a Lego store, centred around huge benches of bricks to play with and team members waiting to help build things. It’s clear which is the much more exciting environment.

Evolve or die

What’s clear from all the trends discussed is that if you don’t change, you don’t survive. The failure of Toys R Us and other once big high street names, shows that standing still or being complacent is not an option. It really is a case of evolve or die.

Brands must innovate, evolve and excite consumers to focus more on experience but not for its own sake. Everything still needs to be kept relevant to the brand so offering something truly original will be key to future retail branding success.

If you are interested in how Prosper can help you keep your retail branding adapt, please get in touch by email hello@madebyprosper.com or call 01582 460990