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In-store and online equal in popularity this Christmas…

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

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

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

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

 

Read more on the findings and download the poll here

Personalisation to substantially spur digital coupon growth by 2021…

A new study from the digital market research specialists, Juniper Research has found that the number of coupons issued via mobile and online channels will grow by more than 60 per cent over the next five years – increasing from 224 billion in 2016 to an estimated 362 billion by 2021.

The ‘Mobile & Online Coupons: Loyalty & Beacon Engagement 2016-2021’ report indicates growth in digital coupon volumes is mainly attributed to a greater retailer emphasis on the provision of highly targeted, personalised offers to consumers; as well as brands deploying artificial intelligence applications which can interact with consumers via social media and messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger.

A wide-scale deployment of beacons – Bluetooth devices which can send offers to consumers whilst they shop – have been constrained, as research author, Lauren Foye explains how beacons enable retailers to collect valuable and relevant data points: “For retailers one of the major tools is knowing their customers. Tracking user movements in store via beacons allows for targeted marketing and offers, this can also aid in providing invaluable data and statistics to a company, this then later applied to drive sales.”

Read the full report here

Destination and convenience ‘key for future-proofing’ shopping centres…

In partnership with the real estate firm, Savills, a new report from intu has found that brick-and-mortar stores continue to play a ‘vital’ role in the retail experience, with 43.4 per cent of respondents placing them in their ‘top three preferred locations’ for buying items such as footwear and clothing.

The ‘Spotlight: Retail Revolutions’ report established the preference for shopping centres was even more noticeable among ‘Generation Z’ (16-24 year olds) and ‘Generation Y’ (25 to 34 year olds), amounting to 62.9 per cent and 53.4 per cent respectively.

In addition, the possible opportunity for shopping centres to become ‘destinations’ in their own right and encourage customers to spend full days rather than stay at home and shop online is also presented, providing the added benefit of enticing a larger number of customers from beyond a centre’s traditional catchment.

Regional director at intu, Rebecca Ryman, said: “Striking the balance between destination and convenience is fundamental for shopping centre landlords wanting to deliver an overall offer and experience that meets the everyday needs of their local catchment.  A strong and diverse retail offer supported by the right leisure facilities and combined with ease of access are key to generating a wider appeal and thus helping to future-proof the success of a shopping centre.” 

Furthermore, the study acknowledges the need for convenience in terms of shopping centres is paramount for ‘Baby Boomers’ (55-64 year olds), who consider this as a priority than a destination. This goes some way to explain why a large proportion of Baby Boomers ranked small local high streets (45 per cent) and online shopping (40 per cent) in their top three preferred locations. 

Forum Insight: The essential client meeting checklist…

A well prepared face-to-face client meeting can create a significant impact on the quality of existing and new business relationships; as well as vastly increasing the value of a company in the long term.

Conducting client meetings is also a viable solution to sustaining business longevity which, is primarily determined by the loyalty and commitment of its customer base. Therefore, by following our essential checklist, a strong focus on hosting productive client meetings could turn out to be the one of best investments you will ever make in your business…

  1. Do your homework

It’s worthwhile to spend some time researching your clients’ business: their strengths, weaknesses, competitors and challenges. Gathering as much information as possible before your meeting will give you the much-needed confidence to hold a strong conversation and proactively suggest appropriate solutions.

  1. Plan your meeting

Particularly at a Forum or Summit, it’s likely you will only have around 20 minutes to make a bold first impression, so don’t waste it! Make sure to rehearse answers to any potential questions you feel the client may ask, and you’ll then be ready to overcome any obstacle.

  1. Focus solely on the client

Your last meeting went really well, and the client has given you a brief. Put that meeting to one side – you already have a date set for the next contact. Don’t neglect the client sitting in front of you; their potential contract could be bigger than the last and it crucial to keep this focus. If the clients purchasing requirement is good enough for them to travel to the Forum, then the sales opportunity is good enough for you to give them your undivided attention.

  1. Watch your body language

Get it wrong and it will be a deal breaker. Be immaculately dressed; firmly shake hands and pay attention to how you sit or stand. Strategically plan your coffee breaks; don’t leave your stand five minutes before your next meeting – they may be five minutes early! Inevitably, first impressions always count, so talk to them like you mean it. Be enthusiastic about the things you are talking about; listen to what they say and ask as many questions as you can.

Nine out of 10 UK retail transactions ‘touch’ traditional shops…

In partnership with the retail analyst group, Verdict, the ‘True Value of Stores’ report conducted by British Land has found that almost nine out of 10 retail transactions ‘touch’ UK brick-and-mortar shops.

The study shows that £278 billion of the approximate annual £313 billion spend by UK consumers ‘touches’ UK stores whether in the form of traditional in-store shopping, a click-and-collect transaction, or browsing before making an online purchase.

Basing the outcomes on Verdict surveys conducted in March 2015, October 2015 and March 2016 (totalling 30,000 consumers) respondents were asked about how their order was delivered or collected, and how they interacted with the retail store prior to the online purchase.

The research also revealed that women, Londoners and younger shoppers engaged with physical stores the most before eventually buying online.

Download the full report here

New survey votes Amazon as UK’s top retailer…

Already experiencing an impressive 2016, with the launch of its AmazonFresh service and the announcement of 1,000 new permanent jobs to be created within the company this year, data compiled by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has declared Amazon as the UK’s favourite retailer.

A quarter of the 1,000 respondents voted for Amazon to claim the top spot, followed by John Lewis with 14 per cent backing, Marks & Spencer with 10 per cent and other retailers such as Asos and eBay clinching to top 20 status.

Contradicting its ever-increasing popularity, it’s surprising to find that Apple received just one per cent of the overall vote, as the DMA indicates a ‘disconnect between the power of the brand and Apple as a retail brand’ and many consumers purchase Apple products through other outlets.

Read more on the DMA’s ‘Customer Engagement’ research here

Idealo: Online prices fluctuate throughout the week…

The price comparison site, idealo.co.uk, has revealed that consumers who make internet purchases at the start of the week are more likely to save up to 18 per cent compared to those who shopping online at the weekends.

The company’s ‘Online Shopping: How prices fluctuate throughout the week’ research suggests that a lack of awareness about the ‘highly flexible nature’ of online prices — in addition to minimal research on product prices — can often lead to consumers missing out on the best deals.

It is thought that online retailers are cashing in on their knowledge of consumer behaviour, and, with the prospect that consumers will place their orders over a weekend, shops use an effective pricing strategy which sees a marginal increase between Friday and Sunday; thereafter returning to a lower price again at the start of the week.

The site claims the study was commissioned to help parents save money on summer items as schools finish for the holidays.

To read the full research, click here

TFWA: Improved conversion key to developing watches and jewellery sector…

Where conversion is considered to be an imperative issue for a majority of sectors, a recent study commissioned by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) and produced by Counter Intelligence Retail has highlighted that the watches and jewellery sector is the ‘poorest performer’.

The study of 1,000 shopper interviews conducted at four international airports found that, while one in seven shoppers visit watches and jewellery, only 5 per cent purchase these items; equating to a conversion rate of just 34 per cent.

Furthermore, the report also uncovered that 78 per cent of shoppers buying for themselves purchased a brand they do not usually buy, meanwhile 40 per cent purchased the brand for the first time and seven in ten buyers had no prior awareness of the brand.

TFWA president, Erik Juul-Mortensen, said: “While passenger numbers are increasing significantly across the globe, our ability to turn these travellers into customers has not kept pace, and conversion is a major issue for our industry. As the poorest performer, there is clearly considerable scope to drive sales in watches and jewellery.”

Just one in two shoppers admitted to buying watches and jewellery for themselves, the lowest of all categories, while almost one in every two purchases are for a gift.

To become a member of the TFWA and to access the full report, click here

Mintel: Thrifty shopping ‘an asset’ for UK consumers…

New research conducted by the market research provider, Mintel, a frugal shopping mentality is now considered to be an ‘asset’ to UK consumers, with Yorkshire and Humberside residents voted as the country’s biggest ‘bargain hunters’.

The ‘British Lifestyles: Growing Tired of Austerity UK 2016 reportfound that 78 per cent of consumers residing in this region brand ‘bargain hunting’ as a thrill, with 54 per cent stating that they budget every month for treats such as dinners and cinema trips; compared to the national average of 48 per cent. Furthermore, 74 per cent admitted to shopping around for the lowest prices and 51 per cent claim that they do not like to pay full price for items.

Senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, Ina Mitskavets, says that even though ‘savvy shopping’ has increased in popularity, retailers still need to enforce a tighter strategy on the promotion and amount of discounts to avoid a damaged reputation: “The savvy shopping mentality is still firmly entrenched in the UK today. If anything, it has been reinforced by the widespread discounting and price wars across a variety of sectors in the post-recession years. Scoring discounts has evolved from a chore into a form of entertainment, or even a full-fledged hobby. However, while it is clear that consumers now expect to see reduced prices and special offers in shops, widespread promotions can be damaging to business reputations and bottom lines. The focus for many companies going forward should be on weaning customers off discounts through better service and quality improvements.”

Clothing purchases demonstrated to be the biggest splurge made by the UK public, followed by meals out (28 per cent), holidays (27 per cent), a night out (22 per cent), technology items and gadgets (20 per cent), alcohol (20 per cent), and beauty or personal care products (17 per cent).

Read more of the report’s findings here