tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/high-street Latest High street content from Econsultancy 2017-08-15T10:00:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69333 2017-08-15T10:00:00+01:00 2017-08-15T10:00:00+01:00 New Look sees profits fall: What can turn it around? Nikki Gilliland <p>However, it’s not been an entirely bleak quarter for the brand. While sales on New Look’s website dropped 0.6%, sales of clothing on third-party websites were actually up 15.7%.</p> <p>So, why are customers still buying the product, yet failing to shop direct? Here’s a bit of insight into the story, as well as my own opinion on where New Look could be going wrong.</p> <h3>Stiff competition </h3> <p>In response to the recent decline in profits, chief executive Anders Kristiansen admitted that New Look’s decision to run fewer discounts in store and online could be to blame. However, he stressed that it was a conscious choice, designed to differentiate the brand from the likes of Boohoo and Missguided – two retailers that typically use promotions to deliver on a promise of fast and highly affordable fashion.</p> <p>Much to New Look’s annoyance, those competitors looks to be winning.</p> <p>Earlier this year, Boohoo announced that it had nearly doubled its profits, with sales in the UK jumping 33%. Similarly, last December Missguided reported that its profits were up 34% up on the same time last year. Both these retailers are clearly reaping the rewards of their cheap and cheerful approach to fashion – something that New Look could also be benefiting from.</p> <p>After all, New Look’s alternative USP is not quite so clear cut. It’s always been known as one of the most affordable fashion retailers on the high street, so a refusal to keep pace with online competition in this area seems a little foolish. Especially considering it is not known for being as cool or edgy as Zara, or quite as mass-market as H&amp;M - two retailers with a similar price-point.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Outerwear | 3. THE BLAZER<a href="https://t.co/FUeorLEbCt">https://t.co/FUeorLEbCt</a> <a href="https://t.co/h4WMKddFHp">pic.twitter.com/h4WMKddFHp</a></p> — ZARA (@ZARA) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZARA/status/893532008944685056">August 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Misjudged campaigns</h3> <p>Despite the fact New Look carries a teen range, its average shopper is said to be around 33 years old. </p> <p>Interestingly, it has recently announced a change in strategy, choosing to narrow its target market to a twenty-something audience rather than a broad demographic. But having increased marketing spend by £2m in the past year, it appears that this change is already under way, with New Look largely investing this in online campaigns featuring social media and celebrity influencers – something that usually appeals to younger shoppers.</p> <p>But could the decision to use influencers be misjudged? </p> <p>An <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">Econsultancy report</a> recently revealed that measuring ROI on influencer initiatives is the biggest challenge for 65% of marketers. It can be difficult to justify large spend on influencers – particularly when engagement metrics do not necessarily translate into immediate sales.  </p> <p>The strategy also tends only to be effective when the influencer partnership is authentic, with both the brand and influencer sharing common values (and the invested interest of the audience).</p> <p>Take US clothing brand Revolve, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69196-11-impressive-influencer-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">for example</a>, who typically partners with luxury fashion bloggers such as Victoria Magrath (In the Frow). This allows the brand to tap into the influencer’s in-built audience, generating new leads from consumers with a vested interest in both the influencer and luxury fashion.</p> <p>While New Look’s campaigns attempt to mirror this - with the retailer using online fashion influencers on platforms like Instagram – sales suggest that it might not be hitting the mark.</p> <p>Rather, you could even argue the brand may be alienating an existing audience – i.e. the aforementioned 33-year-old, who might have a distinct <em>lack</em> of interest or even awareness of the influencers in question.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8247/New_Look_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="558"></p> <h3>Confusing USP</h3> <p>Despite heavier investment in marketing, New Look has been failing to focus on the product itself, with Anders Kristiansen even admitting that it ‘could be better’.</p> <p>Instead of investing in new and in-demand fashion, the retailer has continued to regurgitate similar styles and concentrate on basics and staples – something that is unlikely to inspire trend-hungry twenty-somethings. </p> <p>Meanwhile, expansion in China and investment in menswear and homeware ranges has added to confusion over the store’s product offering.</p> <p>Perhaps this is why its product has continued to sell on third-party sites like ASOS. A brand that, in contrast to New Look, has a very strong image and a clear-cut USP. With additional factors like fast-delivery, a huge inventory, and clever marketing – ASOS has been able to pick up on New Look’s failings and deliver what it hasn't been able to. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8248/ASOS.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="669"></p> <h3>Lacklustre in-store experience</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/retail-consumer/total-retail/total-retail-categories.html" target="_blank">PWC</a>, 51% of global shoppers still prefer to shop for clothes and footwear in stores as opposed to online. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.barclayscorporate.com/insight-and-research/industry-expertise/new-retail-reality.html" target="_blank">Barclays research</a> suggests that 57% of customers are more likely to visit stores if they have the latest technologies – with 65% of customers valuing touchscreen technology, and 52% even saying they’d like to see augmented reality utilised.</p> <p>When it comes to New Look’s in-store experience, the retailer’s uptake of technology has been slow in comparison to its biggest rivals. Zara, for example, has started to integrate new technology like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67962-zara-introduces-self-checkout-in-store-how-will-it-impact-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">self-checkouts</a> and touch-screens in changing rooms.</p> <p>New Look also fails to inspire with store formats. With its immersive layout and conceptual design, Missguided’s <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68567-five-things-to-appreciate-about-missguided-s-first-ever-physical-store/" target="_blank">first ever physical store</a> encourages social activity while shopping in-store. In comparison, New Look has neglected to integrate any experiential elements in stores up until this point, ignoring customer’s desires for an immersive and multi-channel experience.</p> <p>Interestingly, this <em>does</em> look set to change. The retailer’s new flagship Oxford Street store, which is due to open in November, reportedly includes a hair salon and embroidery station, aiming to create a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69286-five-innovators-of-the-in-store-customer-experience" target="_blank">destination-store experience</a> that we’ve seen from the likes of Topshop. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8249/New_Look_TCR.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="509"></p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Despite its recent decline, New Look appears to be in the midst of attempting to turn around its fortunes, focusing on a new ecommerce site, flagship store and more streamlined targeting strategy.</p> <p>However, only by rectifying its biggest failing will it be able to compete with its biggest rivals. Which means actually delivering the fast and trend-led fashion that its new target market desires.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69044-five-reasons-behind-boohoo-s-97-increase-in-profits" target="_blank">Five reasons behind Boohoo’s 97% increase in profits</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68659-three-reasons-behind-the-white-company-s-boost-in-profits" target="_blank">Three reasons behind The White Company’s boost in profits</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69286 2017-08-07T14:30:00+01:00 2017-08-07T14:30:00+01:00 Five innovators of the in-store customer experience Nikki Gilliland <p>But this got me thinking about what <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67962-zara-introduces-self-checkout-in-store-how-will-it-impact-the-customer-experience">Zara could do</a> to reverse the situation. More specifically, what exactly makes for a truly great in-store customer experience?</p> <p>With this in mind, here are a few examples of those retailers leading the way, and what we might learn from them. Disclaimer: I’ve intentionally tried to steer clear of some the most obvious examples (like Apple).</p> <h3>1. Ulta Beauty</h3> <p>In 2016, American beauty chain, Ulta Beauty, saw a 23.7% increase in net sales – making it one of the fastest-growing beauty retailers, despite having already been around for 25 years. With nearly 1,000 stores in the US, its physical retail experience has seemingly contributed to a recent boom in success.</p> <p>So what makes it so great? First, the retailer has a deep understanding of what customers actually want from their shopping experience.</p> <p>While beauty in the US is usually separated into two distinct categories – prestige products found in high-end department stores, and low-price products from drug stores – Ulta combines the two to create an ‘all things beauty’ superstore.</p> <p>Alongside this vast array of products, Ulta differentiates itself from other retailers by offering in-store services such as hair, skin and brow treatments. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7842/Ulta_Stores.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="409"></p> <p>This type of service (and the expertise that goes with it) creates an almost spa-like environment. This also means that the store has become a destination for consumers – somewhere people want to hang out or specifically visit – rather than a place to pop into.</p> <p>While Macy’s and Sephora also offer great beauty products, Ulta’s salon services mean that customers can enjoy the experience that surrounds discovering them. As recent profits show, it’s a tactic that’s proving popular with both new and existing customers – driving loyalty in an increasingly competitive space.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7841/Ulta_Beauty.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="478"></p> <h3>2. Waitrose</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67889-how-waitrose-is-using-personalisation-to-increase-conversions/" target="_blank">Waitrose</a> has recently been voted the UK’s favourite supermarket in a Which? survey on customer satisfaction, beating M&amp;S and Sainsbury’s for the third year in a row.</p> <p>The survey involved customer ratings on appearance, queue-length, availability ease of finding products, and overall quality. And while you might argue that these features should be standard as opposed to something that differentiates a retailer, it’s clear that Waitrose is leading the pack in terms of the in-store supermarket experience.</p> <p>The MyWaitrose loyalty scheme has been a key attraction for consumers, with the programme promising a free hot drink or newspaper to members. Despite Waitrose coming under recent fire for changing the rules – stipulating that members must buy something in exchange for a coffee – the scheme has certainly helped to differentiate the supermarket from the competition.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Impressed <a href="https://twitter.com/waitrose">@waitrose</a> by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SoyaMilk?src=hash">#SoyaMilk</a> availability at hot drink station<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AvoidingCowsMilk?src=hash">#AvoidingCowsMilk</a> <a href="https://t.co/2hyGaGPx3u">pic.twitter.com/2hyGaGPx3u</a></p> — Helen Moss-Black (@Tang18) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tang18/status/878615966564929536">June 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Elsewhere, Waitrose has ensured that the online experience seamlessly translates to the real world, allowing customers to pick up groceries without the need to visit a large store. Its Click-and-Collect service involves temperature-controlled lockers so that customers can access groceries in train stations and airports at their own convenience.</p> <p>Other innovations include Waitrose’s Quick Check service which allows customers to scan goods as they shop, as well as in-store tablets helping to speed up and enhance shopping. With Waitrose’s ‘Hot Ideas’ scheme – an incubator program aiming to drive innovation – it’s clear that the supermarket is set on finding ways to further entice shoppers back to its bricks-and-mortar stores in future.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7844/Click_and_collect.JPG" alt="" width="621" height="411"></p> <h3>3. Rebecca Minkoff</h3> <p>Luxury brands are setting the bar when it comes to the in-store experience, using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68540-how-four-uk-retailers-are-giving-consumers-the-vip-treatment-this-christmas" target="_blank">VIP treatment</a> to instil loyalty. In fact, this level of service means that many struggle to replicate this online.</p> <p>For US brand Rebecca Minkoff, the aim is to fuse the best of both worlds, with its 11 global outlets using technology to create an immersive and digitally-driven experience.</p> <p>Each store has smart mirrors in fitting rooms, allowing shoppers to browse for other sizes or products that might complement whatever they’re trying on. Smart walls also suggest new styles when people pass by or enter, even allowing customers to order champagne to enjoy while they browse.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7845/Rebecca_Minkoff.JPG" alt="" width="556" height="301"></p> <p>According to the brand, the fitting-room technology in particular has been the catalyst for a boost in sales, with 30% of customers reportedly requesting additional items thanks to the smart mirror recommendations. </p> <p>Unlike other luxury brands, which still place a primary focus on showcasing the product, Rebecca Minkoff cleverly uses the real-life retail environment to turn the spotlight on the customers themselves. It aims to use technology to aid and enhance the discovery process, setting the bar for how customers browse and shop for fashion.</p> <h3>4. Lowe’s</h3> <p>Another retailer embracing technology is Lowe’s. The US home improvement store has implemented a number of features to streamline the physical shopping experience in the past, including a mobile app that allows users to access real-time store inventory, and equipping staff with iPhones to help with enquiries. </p> <p>Just recently, it also announced the new 'Lowe Vision: In-Store Navigation' app with AR technology.</p> <p>Working in conjunction with Google's Tango AR technology, it provides indoor mapping, allowing customers to search and quickly find items in-store.  </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KAQ0y19uEYo?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>The idea of guiding customers through the path to purchase was also the idea behind SmartSpot – a ‘store within a store’ concept that helped customers evaluate the right smart technology for their home.</p> <p>Recognising that most people feel overwhelmed at the amount of products available (and the level of sophistication of smart technology) the concept aimed to eliminate uncertainty and instil confidence in consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7847/SmartSpot.JPG" alt="" width="634" height="275"></p> <p>Again, in comparison to competitors within the market, Lowe’s sets itself apart by streamlining the customer journey in-store, using technology to facilitate this.</p> <h3>5. Topshop</h3> <p>Lastly, a retailer that sets a fine example for the likes of Zara and other British high street fashion stores. Topshop – specifically its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street – uses a combination of pop-up retail and experiential campaigns to delight customers. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're not taking the mickey!! This 2ft Prickly Pear is £65 and can be yours if you come visit Barry @topshop_oxfordstreet<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/topshop?src=hash">#topshop</a> <a href="https://t.co/ITfVFXZaOB">pic.twitter.com/ITfVFXZaOB</a></p> — Barry The Cactus (@thecactusbarry) <a href="https://twitter.com/thecactusbarry/status/888387626356617216">July 21, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Alongside personal shopping, which is available free of charge, the store also includes a number of hair and beauty services ranging from brow-taming to piercing. Alongside a café, it also includes integrated food and drink pop-ups such as Bubbleology and Lola’s cupcakes.</p> <p>Essentially, it aims to make a visit to Topshop about much more than just basic apparel, tempting customers with things they might not even realise they want while browsing in-store.</p> <p>It’s the unexpected nature of the experience that also differentiates Topshop from the high-street competition. From the new retail pop-ups in-store (some appearing for a limited time only) to its recent experimentation with VR – the brand is focused on keeping the in-store experience fresh and original for returning customers, while delighting new ones.</p> <p>This summer, ‘Splash’ at Topshop involved the retailer turning its shop windows into an interactive pool scene and allowing customers to ride a virtual water slide. Combining clever advertising with a fun and immersive activity for customers, it’s an indication of how the in-store customer experience is evolving.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7849/Topshop_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="483"></p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68712-i-beg-you-retailers-don-t-digitize-the-in-store-customer-experience/">I beg you, retailers, don't digitize the in-store customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68270-how-can-retailers-create-more-engaging-mobile-experiences-in-store/">How can retailers create more engaging mobile experiences in-store?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66504-how-18-retailers-in-central-london-are-integrating-digital-in-store/">How 18 retailers in Central London are integrating digital in-store</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69250 2017-07-14T10:52:35+01:00 2017-07-14T10:52:35+01:00 Four reasons behind Superdrug's 41% increase in profits Nikki Gilliland <p>So, why the big turnaround? Here’s a look at Superdrug’s strategy, and the reasons why it’s currently enjoying a resurgence.</p> <h3>Targeting younger shoppers </h3> <p>Boots is the largest health and beauty retailer in the UK, with over 2,500 stores compared to Superdrug’s 850 or so. It’s also got the longest history, as well as a large and loyal consumer base that includes people of all ages and budgets.</p> <p>With Boots catering to such a large demographic, Superdrug has changed its strategy to target a more specific set of consumers. While its rival concentrates on its own-brand beauty range of Botanics, as well as more mid to high-end brands such No. 7 and L’Oréal, Superdrug deliberately targets younger consumers interested in more affordable cosmetics. </p> <p>Cheaper brands like MUA, GOSH and Make-Up Revolution, despite being less well-known, are now sold in most stores.</p> <p>So, alongside a general focus on affordability, how exactly does Superdrug entice younger consumers?</p> <p>In the face of low-price beauty launches from the likes of Primark, H&amp;M and New Look, Superdrug’s work with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66560-what-are-influencers-and-how-do-you-find-them" target="_blank">influencers</a> certainly sets it apart. The retailer struck a deal with Zoella in 2014 to sell her beauty range, with the collection going on to break sales records. </p> <p>Upon launch, the Superdrug website saw twice as many visitors as usual, with 25% of new visitors clicking on the Zoella range. Since then, Zoella has gone on to release two new collections, both resulting in similar success for Superdrug.  </p> <p>Other popular influencers such as Tanya Burr and Fleur de Force have also partnered with Superdrug to sell exclusive make-up and cosmetics collections, meaning the retailer has been able to capitalise on their existing and loyal audience. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Zoella">@Zoella</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ZoellaBeauty">@ZoellaBeauty</a> I've just picked this up from Superdrug it's so pretty <a href="https://t.co/IKAg0QyMdR">pic.twitter.com/IKAg0QyMdR</a></p> — Jessica newman (@jnew135) <a href="https://twitter.com/jnew135/status/883622463531253760">July 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In-store experience</h3> <p>Influencers are not the only way Superdrug has aligned itself to younger shoppers. In 2014, it rolled out its new ‘Beauty Studio’ concept, offering beauty services such as threading, manicures and eyelash extensions in-stores. In select locations, it also introduced digital displays and an interactive ‘selfie’ area to encourage shoppers to share their makeovers on social media.</p> <p>Elsewhere, and even in stores that do not include a Beauty Studio, the design and layout of most stores is used to differentiate itself from Boots’ pared down approach. The retailer often uses bright colours and illuminated lettering, bringing a fashionable element into stores. Again, cosmetics is a huge focus, with this area often much larger than other areas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7455/superdrug_cosmetics.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="431"></p> <p>Another way Superdrug has enhanced the in-store experience is to introduce Wi-Fi and its own radio station. ‘Superdrug Live’ is used to support brand campaigns and promotions, as well as create a unique store environment through music.</p> <h3>Healthcare focus</h3> <p>Alongside its Beauty Studio, Superdrug has also expanded into the healthcare market, placing much more focus on its status as a pharmacy as well as cosmetics retailer.</p> <p>While its stores used to have a 70/30 split between beauty and health products, some stores now have a 60/40 strategy, with the retailer introducing consultation rooms and services from pharmacists and nurses, such as flu vaccinations. </p> <p>Interestingly, Superdrug has also introduced its own brand of morning-after pill, selling it at half the cost of the average pill sold over the counter. The move has been praised by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which applauded the retailer for giving women greater choice and accessibility. </p> <p>There’s no doubt that Superdrug’s focus on healthcare is succeeding – sales of this category grew 12% last year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7456/wellbeing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="444"></p> <h3>Rewarding loyalty</h3> <p>Superdrug’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69250-four-reasons-why-superdrug-is-succeeding/edit/Six%20tips%20for%20loyalty%20program%20success" target="_blank">loyalty program</a> has also grown over the past few years. In fact, membership is said to have doubled over the past two years, with the retailer having 19m registered members by the end of 2016. </p> <p>The Health and Beauty card is a fairly standard retail loyalty system, rewarding shoppers with points that can be exchanged for discounts. However, Superdrug adds value with exclusive offers and perks, also rewarding long-term loyalty members with exclusive gifts. Regular promotions like ‘Treat Thursdays’ – which offers exclusive discounts – provide incentive for members to collect and spend points.</p> <p>The Health and Beauty card also works in conjunction with the Superdrug app, allowing shoppers to collect and monitor points as well as access offers. By aligning the app and loyalty program, Superdrug has also been able to improve targeting, offering deals and promotions to customers based on their location or past purchase history.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Calling all Health &amp; Beautycard members! Get 10% off Diet &amp; Fitness products until 23:59 tonight <a href="https://t.co/pj1ctMQvf7">https://t.co/pj1ctMQvf7</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/treatthursday?src=hash">#treatthursday</a> <a href="https://t.co/qcrKFWzd3g">pic.twitter.com/qcrKFWzd3g</a></p> — Superdrug (@superdrug) <a href="https://twitter.com/superdrug/status/885431137660796928">July 13, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Improved online presence </h3> <p>While most consumers might naturally think of Superdrug in terms of physical stores, the retailer has been making strides to improve its ecommerce capabilities – as well as its general digital presence.</p> <p>With improved delivery and click and collect, it offers customers more flexibility than before – perhaps one of the main reasons its saw a 60% growth in online sales last year.</p> <p>Another reason could be its Online Doctor service, which allows customers to consult with a doctor on various medical issues and arrange prescription for collection or delivery. The popularity of the Online Doctor has spurred on expansion of Superdrug’s healthcare services, with the retailer recently announcing that will open 30 new stores and create 600 new jobs in the UK.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Superdrug uses social media to reach out and interact with consumers. Its Twitter and Facebook strategy involves a lot of user generated content, with the brand also using lifestyle and pop-culture inspired content to engage younger, female consumers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chris says he isn’t bothered… but we have a feeling that he is defo bothered! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/draaaaaama?src=hash">#draaaaaama</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/muggymikeisback?src=hash">#muggymikeisback</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/loveisland?src=hash">#loveisland</a> <a href="https://t.co/Tzj24KdgFW">pic.twitter.com/Tzj24KdgFW</a></p> — Superdrug (@superdrug) <a href="https://twitter.com/superdrug/status/885590454573641736">July 13, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Making both beauty and healthcare accessible, Superdrug has managed to carve out a niche in the market, making its high street presence almost indispensable to consumers.</p> <p>While it previously stood in the shadow of Boots, its strong growth and expansion plans means it is a worthy competitor – possibly even winning in the fight for the attention of today’s young consumers. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67138-native-apps-for-retail-10-reasons-it-s-now-or-never/">Native apps for retail: 10 reasons it's now or never</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66160-how-boots-can-improve-its-customer-journey-from-search-to-checkout/">How Boots can improve its customer journey from search to checkout</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68472-three-reasons-behind-whsmith-s-boost-in-profits/" target="_blank">Three reasons behind WHSmith’s boost in profits</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69173 2017-07-11T15:55:00+01:00 2017-07-11T15:55:00+01:00 Customer experience in Amazon's New York book store: Why not just buy it online? Charles Wade <p>Upon arrival customers are met by greeters (the first faces of Amazon, aside from CEO Jeff Bezos) who are both eager to help and distinctly Apple-esque, albeit dressed in checked shirts, jeans, and Converse – rather than seasonal t-shirts – giving more than a hint of the company’s Seattle roots.</p> <p> Whilst meandering through, it becomes apparent that all the usual categories exist: Fiction, Kids, Cooking; indeed, everything you might <em>expect</em> from a book store. Slightly depressingly, ‘Self-Improvement’ was the busiest of all...</p> <p>There is alchemy here though. Firstly, all the stocked editions have an amazon.com rating of four stars and above. Moreover, they have clearly been chosen based on what is popular in New York, utilising troves of data that the company has on the city's inhabitants. Perusing the travel section’s destinations brings this to life: London, Paris, Europe, Costa Rica, and the new darling of affluent Manhattanites, Cuba!</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I had time before a doctor's appointment in Columbus Circle, so I went to see New York's first Amazon Books store. It's interesting.... <a href="https://t.co/jyzwJhVBpU">pic.twitter.com/jyzwJhVBpU</a></p> — Kate (@librarian_kate) <a href="https://twitter.com/librarian_kate/status/872827409321611264">June 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>It is certainly Prime time, with calls to action <em>everywhere</em> highlighting the advantages of signing-up to the premium shipping and content service. Pricing is one such example: Prime members and Amazon device owners pay the same in-store as they would have had they bought the books from the website, whereas everyone else is charged the (typically more expensive) list price.</p> <p>Strangely, ancillary items – like water bottles and key-finding devices – have no prices shown; no stickers nor shelf placards. As such, the customer must scan them using either the Amazon app or in-store machines, or take them to a cashier. Either way, the process buys time and, importantly, takes them away from the shelf, building a connection and making it harder to simply put the product back.<br> </p> <p>One obvious concept, well-executed, is relaying customer feedback. One wall is adorned with ‘Books with more than 10,000 reviews’; then there are ‘Most popular’ titles such as <em>Fahrenheit 451</em>; or ‘91% of people rated this 5 stars’; alongside individual customer reviews. A chalk board behind the till-point allows the in-house team to highlight weekly bestsellers. </p> <p>As with iPads in the Apple Store, the Kindle is deployed as a reference tool for visitors to use to search for recommendations. Intriguingly, digital best-practice has been brought to life with a wall of ‘If you liked then you’ll love’, where popular titles are paired alongside each other. Again, it is likely that this has been driven by oodles of user behaviour but it was compelling – gorgeous covers combined with intrigue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here's a peak at the first brick and mortar Amazon Bookstore, Columbus Circle, New York City. Far from our beloved 66 St B&amp;N, but I liked it <a href="https://t.co/k49GaTHS01">pic.twitter.com/k49GaTHS01</a></p> — (((Orchid))) (@OrchidNYC) <a href="https://twitter.com/OrchidNYC/status/872991098398027776">June 9, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, there is no order and ship directly to home option. (Maybe that was a pastiche too far, with Bonobos still <em>the</em> player in that space.) As with most book shops magazines are also on show – think GQ, Cosmopolitan, Outdoor Magazine – along with Osprey backpacks and hiking equipment; coffee presses, and nick knacks tempt the customer throughout journey to the checkout. </p> <p>Moreover, the full gambit of Amazon products is on display, from the simple gift card, through to Kindles, Fire TV, and the Echo. A rolodex of cue cards is placed next to each device giving people ideas of what to ask Alexa, a considered touch that urges the customer to form a bond with ‘roboshop’.</p> <p>The Columbus Circle store is only 4,000-odd square feet, so not huge. The space on the right and left upon entry is soon swallowed by the central payment area and a funneled sensation is created at the back. Located in one of the city’s higher-end shopping malls it does not look out of place. Make no mistake, this made for a pleasant trip. </p> <p>No surprises and multiple titles that caught the eye (so predictable!). Yet, simultaneously it was so devoid of creativity; the devil may be in the detail, it certainly is not in the décor (the small wooden tables and leather-style chairs look like they might be related to Starbucks’ furniture.)</p> <p>What is more, following the visit one thing was hard to reconcile: why go here, rather than buying it on amazon.com?</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69218 2017-07-04T11:00:00+01:00 2017-07-04T11:00:00+01:00 24 Sèvres: Will it disrupt the luxury ecommerce market? Nikki Gilliland <p>While the likes of Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have mastered the art – using a combination of brilliant <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68219-four-things-brands-can-learn-about-content-marketing-from-net-a-porter" target="_blank">content marketing</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69000-what-farfetch-s-store-of-the-future-tech-says-about-the-state-of-luxury-retail/" target="_blank">super-fast delivery</a> to satisfy customers – there’s now a new kid on the block.</p> <p>24 Sèvres is a new ecommerce company owned by LVMH (the parent company of brands like Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs). Inspired by the iconic French department store, Le Bon Marché, 24 Sèvres aims to fill a gap in the luxury retail market, offering a ‘shopping experience of the future’.</p> <p>So, what does it offer for luxury consumers, and will it tempt them away from competitors? Here’s more on the launch, alongside what I think makes 24 Sèvres stand out from the crowd.</p> <h3>Building on an existing store reputation </h3> <p>Le Bon Marché has been a destination store at 24 rue de Sèvres in Paris for more than 160 years. The aim of 24 Sèvres is to bring the experience of shopping there online, giving customers all over the world access to a curated and distinctly Parisian perspective on fashion.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hello world! We're open <a href="https://t.co/8avjPkrJTr">https://t.co/8avjPkrJTr</a>. <a href="https://t.co/0Zf5ZjJZX3">pic.twitter.com/0Zf5ZjJZX3</a></p> — 24 Sèvres (@24Sevres) <a href="https://twitter.com/24Sevres/status/871992437807427585">June 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>So, while 24 Sèvres might seem a little late to the party – entering ecommerce long after rivals like Net-A-Porter – the long history of Le Bon Marché (as well as its unique cultural appeal) gives it an immediate head-start. The same perhaps cannot be said for the likes of Style.com – the Conde Nast-owned company that failed to get off the ground.</p> <p>As well as an existing set of customers, 24 Sèvres also hopes to capitalise on the fact that it shares its name with Le Bon Marche’s existing loyalty program. Now, the program will marry with the 24 Sèvres website and app, allowing loyal in-store shoppers to seamlessly transfer online – as well as giving them an incentive to do so.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7175/Loyalty_Program.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="499"></p> <h3>Targeting a niche consumer</h3> <p>While Farfetch might target fans of unconventional or edgy style, Net-A-Porter tends to focus on those who value fashion as part of a wider lifestyle-orientated context. </p> <p>So, who is 24 Sèvres’ target market? Interestingly, the brand suggests that it is aimed at a more specific shopper, someone who has a real interest in the chic and effortless style of Parisian women, and who is typically between the ages of 28 to 45.</p> <p>Launching with just 150 brands, 24 Sèvres is definitely keen on promoting a more ‘curated’ approach, building on the idea that all items are hand-chosen by Parisian fashion experts.</p> <p>To celebrate the site’s launch, 24 Sèvres also commissioned a capsule collection of 77 items. The limited-edition pieces were designed by various local and international designers in collaboration with other high-profile names within the arts and music scene. For example, the jacket below is designed by Alice Balas, incorporating an illustration by French artist, Malika Favre.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7203/sevres.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="475"></p> <h3>Visually-led merchandising</h3> <p>This focus on Parisian style is reflected in the website’s design.</p> <p>The homepage is currently made up of two revolving ‘vitrines’ (a bit like a full-page carousel, in a cinemagraph style) – which depict two women looking into a shop window. Again, this mirrors the window displays in the original Le Bon Marché store, which are famously intricate and creative in design. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7178/24_Sevres_flyer.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="382"></p> <p>Unlike Net-A-Porter in particular, it is clear that 24 Sèvres is focusing more on visual elements than editorial or content-driven features. Combined with delightful and intricate animations elsewhere, the result is a rather slick and playful UX. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gotsVqMYF04?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>On the site, product pages are characterised by large imagery with minimal text, while the ‘Explore’ section uses imagery and video to bring curated collections to life. </p> <p>While it is still unclear how 24 Sèvres will expand its marketing, its launch involved an innovative social campaign. Once again aligning with its visual strategy, it used Instagram to build hype and intrigue in the run up to the site’s launch, creating multiple accounts to highlight 24 Parisian locations in conjunction with pieces from the capsule collection.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7176/24_sevres_insta.JPG" alt="" width="690" height="545"></p> <h3>Technology to build relationships</h3> <p>The biggest challenge facing luxury ecommerce retailers is the ability to connect with shoppers on a personal level. Online shopping lacks tangible elements important for decision-making, such as trying on products or asking questions.</p> <p>While it might sound contradictory, 24 Sèvres uses technology in order to make up for this absence, building relationships with users via interactive customer service technology.</p> <p>The 24 Sèvres app includes a video chat feature that allows users to talk to a stylist based in Paris. This means that customers can get the same service as in-store – perhaps even better, due to the focused nature of a video call.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7179/video_chat.JPG" alt="" width="324" height="579"></p> <p>Facebook users can also interact with a chatbot that gives style and shopping advice. While the latter is yet another basic decision-tree based bot, it is a little more innovative than other retail examples. This is because the bot helps to inform a personalised email geared around individual style preferences.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7177/24_Sevres_bot.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="532"></p> <p>This kind of technology offers customers a more bespoke service, giving people the chance to go beyond the one-way online shopping experience and connect with the brand on a meaningful level.</p> <p>The email from your own 'personal shopper' includes personalisation techniques such as conversational language, addressing the recipient by name, and further ways to interact.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7180/Personal_shopper_advice.JPG" alt="" width="530" height="719"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>In the crowded and highly competitive luxury ecommerce market, 24 Sèvres is certainly one to watch. While it might lack the large and varied selection of brands found on other sites, this is actually more of a positive than a negative, helping to emphasise the appeal of its curatorial approach.</p> <p>In future, it will need to build on this, providing value for loyal customers with yet more capsule collections and creative collaborations. </p> <p>In the meantime, its international distribution model and innovative customer service features look set to satisfy global shoppers looking for a slice of Parisian style. Where Style.com failed – mainly with an inability to differentiate itself from its competitors – perhaps 24 Sèvres can truly succeed. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67439-how-creative-seo-can-deliver-big-wins-for-luxury-fashion-retailers/" target="_blank">How creative SEO can deliver big wins for luxury fashion retailers</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68603-five-ways-luxury-brands-attempt-to-increase-conversions-online/" target="_blank">Five ways luxury brands attempt to increase conversions online</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69212 2017-06-30T09:45:00+01:00 2017-06-30T09:45:00+01:00 How Jo Loves creates a memorable retail experience Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how exactly has Jo created a successful brand second time round? Jo is headlining this year's <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/buy-a-ticket?utm_source=econ&amp;utm_campaign=econblog&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;_ga=2.54744939.1991980382.1499672431-279521282.1487945678#/" target="_blank">Festival of Marketing</a>, where she will share her insight and expertise. In the meantime, here’s a run-down of how Jo Loves has created a distinct and memorable retail experience in the luxury fragrance market.</p> <h3>Creating a distinct brand</h3> <p>When Jo Loves was first launched in 2011, its branding was deliberately designed to be different from that of the original Jo Malone company. However, since realising that the decision to use bright red packaging was a mistake, it has taken a number of years for the brand to find and establish its own identity. </p> <p>So, branding aside, what is the difference between Jo Malone and Jo Loves? </p> <p>On first glance, perhaps not that much. Then again that is not surprising considering both companies were borne out of Jo’s lifelong love of fragrance. What <em>does</em> set Jo Loves apart – both from her former business and other <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68603-five-ways-luxury-brands-attempt-to-increase-conversions-online/" target="_blank">luxury brands</a> like it – is the ability to draw in consumers with meaningful and evocative storytelling.</p> <p>Everything from the current packaging (which includes the ‘red dot’ hallmark) to the product copywriting is a reflection of Jo herself. Take the below example of product copy for its original fragrance, Pomelo.</p> <p><em>(Click to view page)</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.joloves.com/pomelo.html"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7113/Pomelo.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="509"></a></p> <p>Written from a first-person perspective, it tells the story behind the product, as well as what it means to Jo. In turn, this creates a much more personal connection to consumers – which is incredibly important considering the highly personal nature of scent. </p> <p>If you compare its tone to other high-end brands, such as Chanel (see below), it feels much easier to relate to Jo’s evocative description of ‘memories of summer holidays’ than Chanel’s ‘essence of a bold, free woman’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7114/Chanel.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="693"></p> <h3>A 360-degree experience</h3> <p>Another point of difference for Jo Loves is the experience that surrounds the core product. </p> <p>Its flagship store in London’s Belgravia is built on experiential elements, including a ‘fragrance tapas’ – which allows consumers to learn about and sample multiple fragrances - and a candle shot studio, which layers scents to create bespoke candles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7111/Candle_Shot.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="511"></p> <p>Meanwhile, the store also places an emphasis on visual merchandising, working with artists to create intricate and show-stopping window displays.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7112/Jo_Loves_window.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="447"></p> <p>According to Jo, this kind of in-store engagement with customers is invaluable. In fact, she has previously said that Jo Loves generates a 92% conversation rate when shoppers are immersed in the wider retail experience.</p> <p>This is also the reason why we will not be seeing countless Jo Loves stores or concessions popping up in future. Instead of mass expansion, its plans are focused on small boutiques that will be able to replicate the unique concepts found in its original London flagship. </p> <p>It’s important to note that its boutique-style does not mean it is unattainable, either. While it is certainly a high-end brand, Jo Loves deliberately designs its retail experience to appeal to people of all ages and budgets, taking an inclusive approach rather than one based on outright exclusivity.</p> <h3>Embracing social media</h3> <p>One way Jo Loves maximises its reach is on social media, mainly using visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to engage with an online audience. And while it has just a single store, it is social media that has allowed it to create global awareness of the brand.</p> <p>As well as the main ecommerce site, Jo Loves has particularly embraced social media as a way to establish its brand voice, communicating its vision and values via these digital channels. Its Instagram feed mirrors the brand’s subtle and sophisticated aesthetic, while its brand messaging conveys an empowering and positive tone of voice. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7115/JO_Loves_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="500"></p> <p>While social media undoubtedly plays a big role in Jo Loves’ marketing, it is not the only strategy used. The brand still relies on print media, often combining this with social media activity in the run up to product launches in order to create the biggest impact possible, as well as to ensure its message reaches a varied demographic.</p> <h3>Personalisation </h3> <p>According to research, 62% of shoppers say they buy more or more often when they receive a personalised retail experience. For Jo Loves, personalisation is hugely important, with the brand offering bespoke and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68783-the-pros-and-cons-of-personalised-packaging-for-fmcg-brands/" target="_blank">personalised products</a> in order to strengthen its bond with customers.</p> <p>Personalisation is another way Jo Loves creates a point of difference. By enabling customers to layer their own scents or engrave names onto products, it is able to offer something unique to each and every individual. At the same time, this has also allowed the brand to expand its gifting category, and focus more heavily on wedding and event-related products.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Looking for an extra special touch this Christmas? Head down to our store to personalise your Jo Loves fragrances and candles <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JoLoves?src=hash">#JoLoves</a> <a href="https://t.co/CchIY2WYyT">pic.twitter.com/CchIY2WYyT</a></p> — JO LOVES (@JOLOVESofficial) <a href="https://twitter.com/JOLOVESofficial/status/802467565045944320">November 26, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, the brand has also seen success with seasonal and limited edition products. A couple of years ago, its Christmas Trees collection completely sold out before December had even got under way, and while its limited amount of stock was regrettable, this no doubt contributed to the hype and excitement surrounding the return of its Christmas range in 2016.</p> <h3>Innovation and experimentation</h3> <p>Since opening its flagship store in 2013, Jo Loves has gone on to expand its retail and ecommerce capabilities. As well as selling its Pomelo fragrance on Net a Porter (enabling the brand to sell worldwide), it has also entered the world of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/" target="_blank">travel retail</a> with an exclusive partnership with Emirates. </p> <p>More recently, Jo Loves has also experimented with events in the hospitality industry, recently collaborating with London restaurant, Bluebird, for a celebration of the famous Chelsea Flower Show. Working with head barman, Egzon Kastrati, Jo created a menu of cocktails inspired by her favourite scents. A continuation of the theatre found in the Jo Loves retail store, the collaboration is yet another example of its ‘brand as an experience’ philosophy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7116/bluebird_chelsea.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="495"></p> <p>So, experiential elements aside, how is the brand keeping consumers invested in its core product?</p> <p>Jo Loves recently launched the Fragrance Paintbrush – a new trademarked product that allows people to paint on a scent instead of spraying it. The technique was originally used for its aforementioned fragrance tapas service, before the brand recognised that it could revolutionise the way people apply perfume.</p> <p>The story of how the product was created is a reflection of Jo Loves' overall journey so far, with success stemming from the founder’s passion, creativity, and desire to give consumers something to remember.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7117/Fragrance_Tapas.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="512"></p> <p><em><strong>Jo Malone is headlining the Festival of Marketing 2017. <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/buy-a-ticket?utm_source=econ&amp;utm_campaign=econblog&amp;utm_medium=blog#/" target="_blank">Book your passes now.</a></strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69131 2017-06-15T11:43:00+01:00 2017-06-15T11:43:00+01:00 How shopping malls are enticing consumers offline Nikki Gilliland <p>More specifically, how retailers are struggling to strike the right balance between online and offline channels.</p> <p>One member prompted the question: Are high street loyalty programs pointless compared to offerings like Amazon Prime – whereby unlimited free content keeps consumers hooked? How can high street or bricks-and-mortar stores possibly compete?</p> <p>On the flip side, when we’re constantly being told that consumers want experiential shopping experiences in physical environments, are we focusing too much online? It amounts to a lot of confusion, especially for multi-channel retailers. </p> <p>So what about targeting consumers in shopping malls? After all, these environments act as a sort of middle-man, with the potential to help bridge the gap between brands and consumers, as well as the online and offline worlds. With this in mind, here’s a bit more on how they're targeting today’s (increasingly digitally-focused) consumers.</p> <h3>Creating destination shopping</h3> <p>From children’s soft play areas to pop-up catwalks – shopping malls have always included more than just the retail stores themselves. </p> <p>However, these services (not including mid-tier entertainment such as cinemas and bowling alleys) are generally geared around basic convenience or blatant PR as opposed to anything truly customer-centric. This appears to be changing, with shopping centres now focusing on how they can use the spaces between shops to create a truly immersive experience for customers, from beginning to end. </p> <p>One way the likes of Westfield and Bluewater are achieving this is by strategically placing champagne bars in the middle of malls.</p> <p>It’s not rocket science of course – giving people a reason to linger (and make them more relaxed) is bound to drive extra footfall to stores. But it’s not just a case of any old alcohol either. Interestingly, locations such as the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham UK have deliberately chosen prosecco bars instead of champagne, with the former drawing in a wider demographic and better aligning with high street retail brands. In contrast, you’ll find Searcy’s champagne in Westfield London, located opposite high-end brands like Jimmy Choo and Versace.</p> <p>This shows that it’s not as simple as creating an immersive experience for the masses, but one that aligns with the specific commercial environment and target customer.</p> <p>Meanwhile, shopping malls are striving to make leisure and entertainment the primary reason for people to visit - not just an added bonus. This is particularly the case in the US, where shopping malls are massively suffering due to the rise in the ecommerce market, with one in three <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/12/1-in-3-american-malls-are-doomed-retail-consultant-jan-kniffen.html" target="_blank">reportedly set to close</a> within the next decade.</p> <p>With the aim of reclaiming the shopping mall as the heart of the community, many are combining fine dining, brand pop-ups, showrooms and even sporting activities to entice consumers. The Mall of America in Minnesota is a rather extreme example, but its aquarium and dinosaur walk museum demonstrates the true potential of destination shopping.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6446/mall_of_america.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="499"></p> <h3>Utilising space and design</h3> <p>While there is a huge danger of over-generalising when it comes to gender, there’s no denying that men and women typically shop in different ways – meaning that they also want different things from physical retail environments.</p> <p>According to BI Intelligence, 40% of men aged 18 to 34 would ‘ideally buy everything online’, while just 33% of women feel the same. </p> <p>So, what actually drives men into malls?</p> <p>Research suggests that most males are likely to use physical stores to seek out unique products that they can’t find online or, in the case of those at our Digital Advisory Board meeting, if they are accompanying friends or family members. Interestingly, one person cited the difference between a shopping mall that includes relaxation areas (including comfy sofas and water stations) in multiple areas - and one that didn’t. Naturally, they said, you’ll find a greater percentage of males using these areas, often waiting for others while they shop.</p> <p>This is not a revelation, however it does demonstrate how shopping malls can effectively utilise space and design – even if it just means a comfier seat - to enhance the customer experience and increase the chances of return. </p> <p>Many new malls are also being designed with the wider environment in mind, regardless of how urban it might be. Take Cabot Circus in Bristol UK, for instance, which was built with a huge shell-shaped glass roof to create the illusion of being in the open-air. Similarly, the Fornebu S mall in Oslo was voted the most sustainable shopping mall in the world for its green roof and bicycle park, which encourages consumers to cycle to and from.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6447/cabot_circus.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="474"></p> <h3>Using technology to merge online and offline</h3> <p>Finally, it would be foolish to ignore the growing popularity of online shopping, specifically how consumers are using a combination of the two channels. Whether it’s showrooming (which means visiting stores to buy online later) or webrooming (the other way around) – retailers need to find a way to facilitate and enhance both experiences, instead of convincing customers that one is surperior.</p> <p>One way is to increase the amount of technology in-stores, for example using a tablet to quickly search if a product is in stock. Or even just a slick buy-and-collect service to give consumers greater flexibility and freedom.</p> <p>A few years ago, Kate Spade launched one of the first examples of integrated technology, installing touchscreen storefronts that allowed customers to purchase items based on real-life ‘window shopping’. Now with the introduction of VR and AR, high-tech stores and pop-ups like this are becoming even more innovative, meaning that customers are turning to physical retail for the sole purpose of discovering what brands are doing with it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6448/Kate_Spade.JPG" alt="" width="614" height="464"></p> <p>Essentially, whether it is a touchscreen or a prosecco bar, it’s all about giving consumers a greater value proposition. Not just in comparison to ecommerce - but to the standard shopping malls of the past.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69098-could-ai-revolutionize-high-street-retail-as-well-as-ecommerce/" target="_blank">Could AI revolutionize high street retail as well as ecommerce?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68023-think-retail-how-brands-are-targeting-the-phygital-generation/" target="_blank">Think retail: How brands are targeting the ‘phygital’ generation</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68893-four-digital-priorities-for-retailers-in-2017/" target="_blank">Four digital priorities for retailers in 2017</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69139 2017-06-13T15:38:00+01:00 2017-06-13T15:38:00+01:00 Will healthy fast-food restaurant Leon succeed in the US? Nikki Gilliland <p>But, with the healthy-food industry now pretty diluted, will the brand find similar success in the US? Here’s a breakdown of what I think could help to set Leon apart.</p> <h3>Disruptive model</h3> <p>Whether it’s Vital Ingredient or Nandos (without the chips), there are certainly places to find healthy food on the British high street. However, Leon aims to offer a triple threat – fast food that’s not bad for you, a menu that offers variety and comfort, and an arguably affordable price tag.</p> <p>It is a combination that other chains don’t offer. Or if they do, they pre-prepare and refrigerate it.  </p> <p>Leon’s dedication to freshly cooked food - for breakfast, lunch and dinner - means that it’s a reliable option for on-the-go foodies, designed to be a place that you actually want to eat rather than a last resort. </p> <p>Again, this might be a reflection of the lack of alternatives here in the UK – something that could already be covered by the proliferation of delis and health food stores in the US. However, a reaction against even more of an onslaught of unhealthy fast food joints could also go in its favour.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">An avocado a day, keeps the doctor away, according to science. 'Av it. <a href="https://twitter.com/foodandwine">@foodandwine</a> <a href="https://t.co/VlTYWreBsS">https://t.co/VlTYWreBsS</a> <a href="https://t.co/CnsDPoBkY5">pic.twitter.com/CnsDPoBkY5</a></p> — LEON (@leonrestaurants) <a href="https://twitter.com/leonrestaurants/status/857156926496534528">April 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Design strategy</h3> <p>One of the main features that sets Leon apart is its focus on design, both in terms of the packaging and branding, and the restaurants themselves.</p> <p>Unlike brands such as Innocent, which rely on cutesy and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67874-the-rise-of-the-artisanal-tone-of-voice-among-brand-marketers/" target="_blank">overly friendly copywriting</a> to convey a message, Leon delivers it through more of a visual approach – using simple touches to denote the freshness and flavour of its food. </p> <p>Restaurant menus largely use images instead of words, and meals are packaged in plain brown boxes and bags sealed with Leon’s signature sticker.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6478/Leon_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="473"></p> <p>There’s no shouting about health or nutrition either – you’ll notice the words focus on evoking the taste of the food rather than any health benefits or its nutritional value. That’s not to say it’s not there though. The website menu is particularly impressive, including nutritional info for each item, with ticks to signify healthy choices a cheeky little devil’s fork icon used to highlight ‘treats’. </p> <p>There’s also a nifty filter system to choose between options like ‘I don’t eat dairy’ and even mood, e.g. ‘It’s rainy’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6479/Leon_Menu.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="396"></p> <p>Meanwhile, Leon’s dedication to design spills over into its restaurants, where there is no mistaking its signature interior style. It’s deliberately mismatched, using bright colours, books and even vintage photographs of the founder’s family to convey the brand’s history.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6492/Leon_interior.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="356"></p> <p>Of course, like any large or growing restaurant chain, it’s hard to maintain a sense of true authenticity – but Leon’s clear design strategy certainly helps maintain its original values.</p> <h3>Culture and sustainability</h3> <p>Another reason I personally like Leon is that it is hot on current issues relating to health, the environment, and sustainability. </p> <p>In 2013, Leon’s co-founders, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, were asked by the then UK Secretary of State for Education to conduct a review of school food, which eventually led to the implementation of Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM). Unsurprisingly, the company has recently pledged support to keep the initiative after the government announced plans to change it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6480/School_Food_Plan.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="468"></p> <p>Leon has also shown commitment to other issues, such as flexible working hours for staff, fairtrade, and the sugar tax. What’s more, it’s also clear that Leon’s values extend to its internal culture. </p> <p>While the service industry is notoriously hard work and low paid, Leon fosters an open and collaborative working environment. Just one final example - when it opened a new restaurant in the heart of London’s West End, it employed 40 up-and-coming singers to create an all-singing, all-dancing Leon. </p> <p>I doubt you’d get that in a Chipotle, would you?</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Tonight, our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LEONWestEnd?src=hash">#LEONWestEnd</a> team are celebrating <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UKCoffeeWeek?src=hash">#UKCoffeeWeek</a> with coffee songs, from It's Too Latte to Starlight Espresso. Come and join in. <a href="https://t.co/ZXsJmH5AUG">pic.twitter.com/ZXsJmH5AUG</a></p> — LEON (@leonrestaurants) <a href="https://twitter.com/leonrestaurants/status/852124896016687104">April 12, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68697-four-food-brands-with-delicious-copywriting/" target="_blank">Four food brands with delicious copywriting</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67960-eight-ways-veggie-pret-innovated-pop-up-retail-strategy/" target="_blank">Eight ways Veggie Pret innovated pop-up retail strategy</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68197-which-restaurants-deliver-the-best-mobile-web-ux/" target="_blank">Which restaurants deliver the best mobile web UX?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66946-starbucks-costa-caffe-nero-how-do-they-build-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">Starbucks, Costa &amp; Caffè Nero: how do they build customer loyalty?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69135 2017-06-02T09:32:24+01:00 2017-06-02T09:32:24+01:00 Dropit review: Is there a demand for a ‘shop and drop’ delivery service? Nikki Gilliland <p>It sounds kind of cool – but is there <em>really</em> a demand for this kind of service? I was intrigued, so decided to download the app and give it a whirl. Here’s my two penneth.</p> <h3>How does Dropit work?</h3> <p>Dropit works via an app which customers can download or access via the POS device in a store. Buying a day pass for £10 allows you to ‘drop’ as many bags as you like in one day, which will then be collected and sent to you in a single delivery at a chosen time.</p> <p>For my trial, I chose to use Dropit in Lululemon’s Regent Street store – one of over 30 that now offer the service in London’s Regent and Oxford Street area. </p> <p>It was all very simple to do. When I went to buy an item in-store, I told the employee I wanted to use Dropit, which meant I just had to enter my details into the POS device, select a delivery time, and wait for them to scan the receipt and a QR code. It didn’t take long, though it obviously meant a bit of extra waiting time than merely buying and walking out of the store.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6467/Dropit.JPG" alt="" width="589" height="524"></p> <p>I chose my item to be delivered to my flat the following evening, and sure enough, it was - packaged inside Dropit's signature bag along with a matching purse that held the day pass and receipt.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6469/IMG_0401.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="799"></p> <p>I was also able to track my item on the app to see its progress. The app also includes a list and map of all participating stores, though there’s not much else to it than that.</p> <p>In terms of who actually delivers the goods, Dropit partners with a third-party service (similar to most retail stores), so it’s not a company like Deliveroo that actually employs people to deliver.</p> <h3>Who is it aimed at?</h3> <p>The value proposition of Dropit is quite straightforward – it means you don’t have to carry around bags while you continue shopping or go straight out for the evening. However, the question really is whether this is a big enough problem for people to pay £10 on top of their goods to have their bags dropped off elsewhere. </p> <p>Personally, I can’t see myself ever using it in my every day life, unless it was a (first world) emergency and I really couldn’t take shopping bags along with me, say if I was going to a gig after work. </p> <p>Consequently, I do wonder if the service is more aligned to luxury shoppers – people that are willing to pay slightly extra for the comfort and convenience. Or, perhaps even tourists who are really serious about shopping but also want to enjoy their day doing other things. </p> <p>The fact that Dropit often cites hotels in its promotional copy suggests that people from out of town are a target customer. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6471/Dropit_insta.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="353"></p> <h3>What’s the benefit for participating stores?</h3> <p>Meanwhile, there seems to be more in it for retail stores. One benefit is the possibility of extra dwell time in-store. If people aren’t weighed down by heavy bags, I guess they might be less worried about carrying things and therefore more inclined to spend.</p> <p>There is also the benefit of accessing data about offline consumers that would usually only be gathered from online purchases. Details such as where people shop and how much they spend could prove massively beneficial for understanding, targeting and retargeting customers. </p> <p>Finally, Dropit’s partnership network means that it also opens up possible marketing opportunities for retailers, including promotion within the app itself or social media. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6470/Dropit_M_S.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="483"></p> <h3>Is it worth it?</h3> <p>Personally, I can’t see much of a demand for Dropit from your average shopper. Most people don’t tend to buy that much in one go – or at least prefer buying online if they do. Similarly, I can’t imagine many people would even think of carrying bags as an issue.</p> <p>Having said that, there’s no doubt that the service does provide real convenience. The app and delivery service itself is also seamless and slick, which definitely adds to its appeal. Ultimately, I think Dropit solves a problem that most people probably don’t even realise they have. Which I suppose is the hallmark of some of the most successful companies out there. </p> <p>For rich people or tourists who are serious about shopping in London, it could be something to consider. Retailers keen to get their hands on untapped data will certainly be keeping their fingers crossed.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on retail, subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends-in-retail/" target="_blank">2017 Digital Trends in Retail</a> report.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69098 2017-05-22T09:45:00+01:00 2017-05-22T09:45:00+01:00 Could AI revolutionize high street retail as well as ecommerce? Ben Davis <p>Fashion, for example, may be getting faster (quicker production time and fulfilment) but the knack is still in predicting the season's trends and riding the wave. In-store merchandising, too, is a matter of long-honed instincts as to what should go where.</p> <h3>Blending art and science</h3> <p>What I'm saying is there's a lot of art in the high-street retail business (particularly fashion), and it attracts suitably artistic people. Yes, sales and seasonal analysis comes into it, but it's a ways behind some of the technology emerging in online shopping, for example: </p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67629-in-programmatic-advertising-what-are-cmps-and-dcos/">Dynamic creative optimisation</a> in retargeted advertising</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68921-an-introduction-to-ai-powered-ecommerce-merchandising/">Automated merchandising optimisation</a> (menus, sorts, categories)</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68777-10-uses-of-computer-vision-in-marketing-customer-experience/">Visual product discovery</a>, such as on Sunglass Hut's website which recommends glasses that share visual affinity with pairs you have previously selected</li> <li>Conversational commerce, such as the much covered <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68770-an-introduction-to-ai-and-customer-service/">North Face online shop</a> which asked customers where they were going and recommended suitable jackets</li> <li>A similar personal shopper style experience on 1-800-Flowers' website which asks questions and recommends gifts</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4883/Navigation_2.gif" alt="automated merchandising" width="615"></p> <p><em>Automated merchandising</em></p> <p>Whilst some of this ecommerce tech is still in its early days, automated merchandising optimisation is of particular interest. Ecommerce companies with big product catalogues (far bigger than stores can hold) are able to optimise sales by presenting products that each user is most likely to buy.</p> <p>This is effectively the same job that a product buyer or retail analyst has, but machine learning may use data points that vary from the visual appearance of products to customer demographics or browsing history, from weather to time, from price to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions/">product descriptions</a>.</p> <p>The question is, why can't this machine learning approach be applied to the high street store? Self-learning algorithms creating geographical segments and looking at lots of latent variables in order to choose what products are placed in store?</p> <p>Obviously, the personalised aspect of ecommerce cannot wholly be replicated at scale in store, but what about the data-backed merchandising?</p> <p>Well, I'm being a bit disingenuous, because there are companies that are already starting to look at high street product inventory and prices in this way.</p> <h3>Predicting trends, online to offline</h3> <p>What if a computer could ingest fashion magazines and influencer Instagram feeds, along with a fashion retailer's first party data (who is buying what) and help that particular brand pick the styles for the upcoming season?</p> <p>This is not quite happening right now, but an analytics company, <a href="https://edited.com/">Edited</a>, is doing something similar, using natural language processing and computer vision to create a searchable database of millions of products from many brands. This database can be used to inform buying strategy, with brands able to investigate their competitor's pricing and product assortments.</p> <p><a href="https://www.stylumia.com/">Stylumia</a> is another company that offers something similar, analysing unstructured data and images to form trends analysis.</p> <p>This surely hints at a future where ecommerce and social media is a sort of data playground, allowing brands to test certain products, and formulate the right plan for their stores, where (let's not forget) the great majority of sales are made.</p> <p>Once a business' own consumer data is factored in, the technology may become even more powerful.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6221/edited.png" alt="edited" width="615"></p> <p><em>Illustration of the sort of data Edited compiles</em></p> <h3>An auto-merchandised high street store?</h3> <p>In a recent roundtable discussion at Econsultancy and Marketing Week's Digital Therapy Live event, I spoke to some retailers who were intrigued about machine learning and its ability to drive commercial decision making.</p> <p>What if real-time weather data, footfall and sales were used to merchandise a store each day. Could positions in the store be formalised in the data set, too? Could store tracking be used to analyse where people are browsing, and then add this into the algorithmic mix, too?</p> <p>There is an obvious counter to many of these questions – would it really be that much more efficient than the brain of an expert human, and wouldn't it be far too expensive?</p> <p>At the moment, maybe these questions only make sense online, where data is more manageable. In an offline world, without an all-seeing computer eye understanding everything going on in a store, the number of variables involved may be prohibitive. </p> <p>What's much more likely, in the long run, is the concept that IBM Watson Marketing calls 'augmented intelligence'. Rather than letting a computer optimise merchandising in stores, technology such as that provided by Edited will get more and more sophisticated and be used as an aid to human buyers and merchandising, cutting down on product gambles and costly mistakes, and making sure product assortments are statistically likely to sell.</p> <p>It's exciting times in retail.</p> <p><em>For more on in-store tech, see: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69095-how-coca-cola-is-using-smartphone-data-to-personalise-in-store-ads/">How Coca-Cola is using smartphone data to personalise in-store ads</a></em></p>