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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Retailers 'must embrace technology'

Insider Breakfast

 

Retailers that don't take an omni-channel approach and use modern technology face becoming obsolete, according to delegates at Insider's Changing the Face of Retail Breakfast.

The event at Manchester's Imperial War Museum North was attended by more than 130 people.

Gareth James is the chief executive of Chester-based Intilery and previously worked for MoneySupermarket. His new business uses technology to track customer journeys in real-time both online and offline at every touchpoint.

He said: "Retailers will now be able to fulfil the individual needs of every customers across any channel [online, call centre, in-store, in-app, email, social, etc] whilst being able to be competitive in the retail landscape.

"Customers now expect this level of service by default."

Ian Walker, managing director of Wigan-based 3P Logistics, which works with a number of retailers and has 4.5 million units in stock, added that third-party logistics was creating "virtual entrepreneurs" who never needed to touch the products.

He said: "We'll take goods in from overseas, we'll store them, process the orders and deliver them through the normal delivery network. We're processing about 2,000 consignments a day.

"We have to be regimental. We have a 99.7 per cent approval service level. We do that because we embrace technology. You can't afford negative feedback."

Matthew Williamson, a real estate partner and head of retail and leisure at Weightmans, said there was no denying the migration to online shopping had damaged town centres. He argued that the advent of things like next-day delivery had raised the ante in terms of supply chain requirements.

"Consumers are driving this," he said. "People aren't prepared to wait.

"Look at Amazon Prime Now - you can get your goods delivered within an hour. Just think of the infrastructure and the distribution network that needs to go into that service.

"You could say none of this is an issue if retailers and their logistics providers can charge for it but of course there needs to be a cost somewhere in the supply chain in order to service it."

Kerry Wright is the marketing director of Purple, which spotted a gap in the market for public Wi-Fi.

She said: "There are three parts to the product - access, getting people online, analytics - providing insightful reports back to the business about the data that's being collected, and action - ways for the business to take meaningful action from that data. We like to call Purple an 'intelligent spaces platform'.

"Examples of how technology has changed how people shop include omni-channel shopping [eg the rise of click-and-collect), the ability to price check or 'showrooming' changing pricing models, social influence on product [eg Instagram], mobile payments. What's starting to come next is digital engagement as opposed to human.

"But technology has also changed how retailers operate."

Robert Brigham, managing director of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports & the Snowboard Asylum, said online retail only accounted for 10 per cent of sales. He said: "It's still a very touchy feely market. We're trying to do more. Loyalty is a huge part of what we've got planned for the future.

"We're not doing 'spend = points' because that's Tesco but we're trying to be clever about it. That could include random acts of kindness. For example if you buy a Spider jacket that could cost £600 we might send you the matching Spider hat for free."

Asif Hamid is the chief executive of Birkenhead-based the Contact Company, which works for a variety of retailers and sees itself as part of the shopping journey.

He said: "We're the non-facing side of the brand. We work with the likes of River Island, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Argos and the Great Little Trading Co and we are an extension of their branded proposition.

"We're integrated. Retail is constantly changing because of technology."

Meanwhile, technology specialist UKFast provides the platform online for all kinds of companies to run websites, emails and applications that make their business work. Managing director Jonathan Bowers said that it works with a lot of retailers, with website speed being increasingly critical.

"One thing we discovered back in 2009, that still remains extremely relevant now, is that speed plays a huge role in relation to success on the internet," he explained.

"Nobody likes to queue so speed should be considered alongside conversion techniques, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and email marketing as a crucial part of turning visitors into customers."

Zoe Brimelow (pictured) is the brand director of £25m-turnover company Duo UK, which manufactures three million plastic mailing bags a week and works with the likes of JD Williams, JD Sports, Tesco and ASOS.

She said: "Perception of postal packaging has changed, companies used to see this as nothing more than protection and opted for the lightest, most robust material that was functional and fast to pack outbound goods into.

"However, now design enhancements like carry handles, twin glue lines and engaging branding that captures the attention of passers-by as well as the shopper has transformed the mailing bag from a practical item to a marketing tool."

The breakfast was sponsored by 3P Logistics, UKFast and Weightmans.

As Featured in Insider Magazine

What do you get when you cross Social Media with Packaging?

Packaging that includes brand icons taps into the heart and minds of consumers. 

Social media and packaging may not seem in any way related but together they form a powerful marketing force that can really bring a brand to life! 

For brands, packaging is an important marketing tool to engage consumers and persuade them to buy a product.

Smart brands are using packaging concepts to increase online exposure, a great example being the use of hashtags on packaging to spread a social message. 

But the key to grasping the power of packaging and social media is to make the shopping experience personal to the customer in every way possible.

A great example of this is Coca-Cola's campaign #ShareACoke, where the company replaced its logo with first names. 

 Share A Coke

Coca-Cola's personalised packaging helped to make a personal connection with customers and certainly increased motivation to share on social media! 

Coca-Cola then went a step further to ensure everyone was included in the campaign, adding a feature on its website where customers could personalise their own bottle.

The campaign went down a storm on social media, especially on Twitter, with 235,000 tweets shared throughout the campaign, from 111,000 fans, using the #ShareACoke hashtag.

By using unique social media icons on branded packaging, businesses aren't just creating something to look good - they are selling and engaging people into the brand itself.

Social networks are used by 2 billion people worldwide and more than two thirds of the UK are active on social networks. This huge audience provides the perfect channel to promote a brands personality and values and connect with customers on a more personal level.

Packaging is a really versatile and powerful marketing tool. Packaging items such as mailing bags used for ecommerce deliveries and luxury paper bags used for retail store sales, can be printed with anything from bold designs to intricate images. With small print runs available, it is now possible to order specific packaging to coincide your social media campaigns. View our full range of packaging products that can be personalised for your brand.

This is also featured in The Juice Academy Blog

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