Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category


November 13th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

The Mercers’ Company has announced that fast growing “premium basic” apparel brand, Stance, has officially opened their first bricks and mortar store outside of the US, in Covent Garden.

The 2,044 sq ft store, located at 3 Neal Street, spans two floors, with the ground floor level showcasing the brand’s range of popular products including socks, underwear and the launch of their duel-gender t-shirt range. The basement level will be transformed into a gallery and event space, due to open in early 2019. Designed by an in-house team, the store interior includes core brand elements including artwork created by global Punks & Poets – Stance’s athlete and ambassador community.

Shadé Fadiora, The Mercers’ Company Asset Manager said: “It’s fantastic to see such a buzz around the hotly anticipated launch of Stance. This prime location on Neal Street, right in the heart of Covent Garden, is perfect for the leading US brand to launch their debut UK store and we are confident they will be a popular addition to the overall collection of trendy retailers on Neal Street.”

Rich Philip, Director of Marketing at Stance Europe comments: “Opening our first flagship store in Europe has been a huge adventure and we are thrilled to finally bring Stance to a whole new customer base in the UK. It’s already clear that we made the right decision choosing Neal Street in Covent Garden for our debut location, and are excited for where this opportunity will take our brand.”


November 13th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Offering useful discovery and surprise through delight

Birchbox, the first ever beauty subscription box and largest in the UK, has redefined its online retail process by unveiling a new web design, offering its core ‘casual beauty consumer’ a personalised way to discover, learn about and purchase the best beauty products on the market. This site overhaul forms part of the company’s wider plans to expand in the UK, which also sees newly appointed Managing Director, Sally Scott, take the reins.

The brand’s mission has always been to make it easier and more fun for consumers to discover and buy beauty, and whilst the previous design encouraged shoppers to buy, it didn’t take them on that journey of discovery that is represented by the brand. The new look of the website, which will now match the monthly themes of its boxes, is designed to bring together the online retailer’s entire brand experience. By introducing the principle that has been so effective from its box subscription service through to the digital experience, the site now offers genuinely useful discovery and education through delight.

Unlike other beauty retailers, Birchbox’s target audience is not the product-obsessed consumer who can easily differentiate her salicylic acid from her glow tonic. The online beauty retailer is targeting ‘the casual beauty consumer’ – individuals who are interested in beauty as a functional product rather than a passion, who may find the world of beauty intimidating and confusing. With the new look and feel of the site, Birchbox is making the shopping experience feel more like a conversation with a friend who understands their needs, with increased storytelling in the editorial content introducing shoppers to new categories. To date, the site redesign has seen a 21 per cent increase in shop revenue per session, while shop revenues per customer has increased by 20 per cent.

Key features of the redesign include:

  • Navigation pane: adding more context to the search bar to help educate the customer and lead them to the best products suited for their personal needs.
  • Pillar pages: custom-built to tell a story and provide information on each step in a beauty routine. Allowing customers to shop not by brand or collection, but by specific product category and need. This allows the customer to be introduced to entirely new products and categories that they otherwise would not have discovered.
  • Product pages: increased photography and more detailed editorial copy to help educate the consumer on the key product benefits.
  • Changing monthly design: allowing for new colourways to mirror the box subscription service.

Newly appointed Managing Director, Sally Scott, comments: “At Birchbox, we are committed to reaching an under-served customer who has previously found beauty overwhelming and difficult to access. Our goal with this redesign was to create a cohesive brand experience for our customers, both visually and conceptually.

“To date we’re thrilled to have seen incredible results across revenue, conversion metrics and engagement from the re-design, which demonstrates that the site has hit our goal of serving the casual beauty consumer.”

While the web redesign makes up one of the company’s wider expansion initiatives, Birchbox is also looking to tackle how new customers are brought on-board, and how their shopping experience can be made more immersive and exciting. Overall, its mission is to be the home for beauty that its customers, both existing and new, have never had before, and didn’t even realise was possible.

LabTech unveils bold vision for Hawley Wharf Camden

November 12th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

LabTech, the property investment and technology company that owns Camden Markets, has unveiled its vision for Hawley Wharf Camden, its latest mixed-scheme venture that is scheduled to open by summer 2019. The announcement coincides with the appointment of Colliers International to lead the retail, food and drink, and leisure leasing for the development.

At 580,000 sq ft, the canal-side development is set to be a major attraction in North London, serving Camden’s 30 million visitors a year, equivalent to around 80,000 visitors every day. Bordered by Chalk Farm Road to the west and Regent’s Canal to the east, with a prime frontage on Camden High Street, Hawley Wharf Camden will revitalise the site’s railway arches, which sit alongside new buildings influenced by the area’s existing historic warehouses. The development will be home to 150 independent and branded stores, over 60 new places to eat, 195 apartments, and 60,000 sq ft of Labs co-working space.

Hawley Wharf Camden’s 30 arches will provide space for select UK and international brands and artisan producers. The development will also include the largest farmer’s market in North London, a 12,000 sq ft new fitness concept, unique canal-view rooftop bars and restaurants, and 100 food stalls. A 24,000 sq ft triple height basement will provide an extraordinary opportunity for a new entertainment and leisure space. The various elements will be integrated with one another through intelligent design and LabTech’s technology platform, functioning as an eco-system where people can visit, work, live and socialise. The development has been designed to grow Camden’s status as a shopping, dining and leisure destination, whilst respecting its much-loved heritage.

Commercial Director of LabTech, Tomer Bercoviz, said: “We are very proud to be the first single owner of several key sites in Camden. With this ownership comes a clear vision for Hawley Wharf and our other developments – to retain the character of Camden Town while improving the offering for all, especially those who come to shop, explore, eat and drink as well as live and work.

“Hawley Wharf Camden is vital to this mix because its canal-side space draws on Camden’s rich heritage as one of London’s most popular tourist destinations, whilst providing a distinct offer and atmosphere of its own. It is about both shaping the future for Camden Town and respecting its past. We look forward to progressing the development and continuing our work with the local council to deliver this for our retailers, visitors and local community.”

Bobby Blake of Colliers International, added: “Hawley Wharf Camden provides a destination of choice in the capital for visitors seeking a really distinctive experience. The history of Camden adds a layer of unique culture that people will not find anywhere else in London.

“Hawley Wharf Camden presents the opportunity for retailers, food and entertainment, and leisure operators to find a new way to reach their customers. We can provide spaces for independent retailers in an established London location, and we are committed to making sure that Hawley Wharf Camden will be a genuine ecosystem.”

Hawley Wharf Camden will create over 1,000 jobs to boost the local economy, while visitor numbers to Camden are expected to increase to 50 million per year by 2020.

Essential ingredients for building brand loyalty with “Hierarchy of Post-Purchase Needs”

November 9th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

With 86% of consumers agreeing that the post-purchase experience they receive is fundamental to their brand loyalty, Narvar unpicks the four “C’s” which make up the Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs

Narvar has reveals the results of its independent research into what makes consumers repeat-purchase from a brand or retailer online. The research uncovers how consumers’ experiences after they hit the buy button impacts on their desire to buy again from a retailer or brand. These findings now form the Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs – a guide for advising retailers on the key post-purchases moments that should be in place to provide experiences that retain, engage and delight their customers. The guide also highlights, critically, the order in which these moments should be implemented in order to deliver true brand loyalty.

Anthony Gavin, EMEA Director, Narvar, comments: “The retail industry today is fiercely competitive, and brand-loyalty is important. It’s not enough to just acquire new customers, you’ve got to keep them coming back too. 86% of consumers agree that the post-purchase experience they receive is fundamental to their decision to buy again. This shows us that these experiences beyond the buy button are rapidly becoming the new battlefront for differentiation upon which retail profits hang. For the first time, the “Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs” illustrates which key ingredients make up a perfect post-sale experience. This will help brands to deliver their recipes for building brand loyalty.”

The Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs

The four broad categories of the Hierarchy of Needs is divided into the four C’s of Consumer Needs: Communication, Choice, Control and Connection. While all are important, consumers show a preference towards retailers and brands that have tackled Communication moments first and foremost, followed by Choice, then Control and finally, Connection. The most fundamental touchpoints at the bottom of the pyramid (Communication) must be taken care of before real value – or profits – will be seen from actioning those at the top (Connection).


So what are the ingredients of a “good post-purchase experience” for consumers?


Experiences beyond the buy button are fundamental to building brand loyalty. Treating customers with care and consideration in the post-purchase cycle makes the difference between retaining a customer and potentially losing them to a competitor.
  • 81% agree that receiving proactive updates on the progress of an order, rather than having to phone or email for updates, is critical in their decision to repeat purchase
  • For 80%, being proactively updated about delivery schedules, including information on delays, made them more likely to repeat purchase
The importance of choice and flexibility around delivery featured heavily in building brand-loyal customers:
  • 80% agree that they were more likely to be loyal to brands and retailers which offered a range of convenient and flexible delivery options
  • Following this, 74% agree that online retailers and brands that provide estimated delivery dates/times on a pre-purchase page was an important factor that contributes to the likelihood of them making a repeat-purchase. Having this in place allows customers to choose a convenient shipping method that fits with their schedule with more certainty
Providing consumers with the ability to control their post-purchase experiences is a key building block for establishing loyalty:
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to repeat purchase when they have the ability to choose their preferred channel of communication (e.g. email, SMS, bot, voice etc)
  • Equally, 60% of consumers value brands and retailers which continue to communicate directly with them even after they’ve bought something, and don’t send them off to a carrier company website for delivery tracking and updates
There is a clear opportunity here for brands to own and recapture more post purchase moments. Taking back control of post-purchase communications allows brands to interact more with their customers at the precise time they are at the height of anticipation and engagement – or that “honeymoon moment” right after the sale.  This often contributes directly to a faster time to next purchase. In some cases customers have even been compelled to buy again before their initial purchase had even been delivered.
Connecting with a brand emotionally stands at the apex of the Post-Purchase Hierarchy of Needs. Once the fundamental Communication, Choice and Control needs have been taken care of, brands and retailers must then make an emotional connection with their customers. Communicating values authentically and consistently at every touch point – including after a sale has been made – will help build brand loyalty and differentiate from the competition. Customers want to be treated as “not just another order number”. Having this kind of experience can be more important for retaining customers than discounts and coupons.
  • Thoughtful and personal experiences are more important than discounts and coupons for 53% of consumers
  • 50% of consumers are more likely to buy again when they agree with a brands values. This shows the importance of communicating brand values authentically and consistently
Ash Rama, Global Head of Training at Trustpilot said: “We process over half a million UK consumer reviews each month, so we see first-hand the impact that the post-purchase experience has on building a loyal customer base. We found that reviews generally fell into six key topic areas: Product, Price, Promoters, Delivery, Refund and Customer Service. Four out of these six areas reflect the post-purchase part of a customer’s shopping experience. We’ve found that more than 74.4% of all one-star reviews reference a poor post-purchase experience, with customer service, delivery, refunds or communications on the status of orders among the most commonly referenced. This shows clearly that providing excellent experiences beyond the buy button is fundamental to building brand-loyal customers and maximising their lifetime value to the business.”


Narvar boilerplate
Narvar helps retailers inspire loyalty beyond reason. As an enterprise-grade customer engagement platform serving 500+ retailers like Sephora, Patagonia, Home Depot, Gap, and Bose, Narvar enables seamless post-purchase engagement that retain, engage, and delight customers — from cart to doorstep, and beyond. With effortless order tracking, proactive communications, and seamless returns, Narvar applies machine learning across billions of interactions to simplify the everyday lives of consumers. For more information, visit


About this research
The survey of 2000 UK consumers was conducted independently in partnership with Walnut Research.


November 9th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Photo credit: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

Joint owners of centre:mk, Hermes Investment Management, the £35.3 billion manager, and AustralianSuper, have announced that Virgin Holidays biggest ever store, totaling over 1,700 sq ft, has now officially opened within Milton Keynes’ leading retail destination.

Photo credit: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

The £500,000 flagship ‘v-room’ is the first ever travel store to offer personalised spa treatments. Virgin Holidays award-winning ‘v-room’ concept is revolutionising the high street holiday booking experience – allowing shoppers to receive complementary massages and manicures, alongside a virtual reality rollercoaster and an exotic cocktail bar.

Photo credit: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

Ed Sellick, on behalf of centre:mk joint owners, Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper, commented: “This well-established brand is a great addition to our retail line-up and their selection of centre:mk for their biggest flagship store to date is testament to the extensive £60 million investment in the shopping centre. We are keen to create the best consumer experiences at centre:mk and encourage leading brands to express themselves. Seeing Virgin Holidays successfully open its half million pound flagship ‘v-room’ store in the centre bodes well for the future.”

Hammerson welcomes Arket flagship to Bullring

November 9th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

H&M Group’s latest fashion offer, Arket, has officially opened its first store in the West Midlands within the Bullring Estate, Birmingham.

Arket’s new 13,000 sq ft regional flagship store is located on Bullring’s upper level. Designed by an in house team, the new store features the brand’s full men, women, children and lifestyle collections, as well as a café promoting fresh, seasonal and sustainable Nordic recipes.

Arket adds to Hammerson’s considerable track record of supporting new brand roll-outs across the UK, including German fashion group, HUGO BOSS, which launched its first HUGO store outside of London and second in the UK at Bullring on 1 November. NYX Professional Make Up opened its first standalone store in the West Midlands earlier in the year and Morphe Cosmetics, the US make-up brand, will shortly open its first store outside London and second in the UK.

Iain Mitchell, Commercial Director at Hammerson, commented: “It is a significant achievement for Bullring, as well as Birmingham, that Arket selected the centre for continued expansion across the UK. With the recent addition of HUGO and NYX and Morphe coming soon, Arket is a fantastic flagship addition to our leading aspirational fashion line-up. I am confident the unique offer will be extremely popular with our shoppers.”

Bullring recently celebrated its 15th birthday and is now one of Europe’s most successful shopping and dining destinations with a footfall of over 36 million a year. On opening, Bullring brought 53 new brands to the city, with more than 50 of the original brands continuing to trade there. Over the last 15 years, the numbers of restaurants, aspirational brands and consumer brands at the centre have doubled.

Smurfit Kappa named European Supplier of the Year by 3M

November 8th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Smurfit Kappa has been named European Supplier of the Year by 3M, the global science and innovation company behind leading brands including Scotch, Command and Post-it.

The prestigious award was conferred in recognition of Smurfit Kappa’s innovative design and order process for 3M’s Point-of-Sale (POS) displays. Smurfit Kappa used its unique online tools and applications to develop a new catalogue for the company with in-built efficiencies, cutting the implementation time of new display initiatives from 15 to 8 weeks.

The modular design provided by Smurfit Kappa also optimised the displays for pallet transportation, delivering impressive logistics savings. This maximisation of truck load, coupled with a 100% paper-based design, also reduced 3M’s carbon footprint, positively impacting its sustainability performance.

Overall, the innovative design and concept has enabled 3M to make significant cost savings, with this project delivering end-to-end savings in excess of €250k to date.

Speaking about the award, Josua Stoll, Category Specialist at 3M European Packaging Sourcing Operations, said: “Collaborating on the POS Display Centralisation project with Smurfit Kappa was a rewarding experience.

“This was a well-deserved award for Smurfit Kappa’s continued support and commitment to the solutions that it provides to 3M.”

Daragh Wall, Smurfit Kappa European Display Director added: “3M is a highly valued customer and we are delighted that our design innovation has made such an impact in the organisation.

“We are immensely proud of the dedicated research and innovation that underscores all our products and services and we are committed to sharing our global knowledge and collaboratively designing packaging solutions that exceed customer and consumer expectations.”

New solution to furnish Dreams with enhanced omnichannel capabilities

November 8th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Dreams, the leading specialist bed retailer, will revolutionise its omnichannel capabilities and digitally transform its store estate, thanks to the implementation of a new solution, delivered by commerce transformation specialists, Envoy Digital, part of the KPS Group.

Founded in 1985, Dreams is now the UK’s largest specialist bed retailer, selling 10,000 mattresses, bases and headboards each week through its 200-strong nationwide store estate and ecommerce platform. Since its launch, the bed brand has proudly continued to manufacture all its products in the UK at its Dreams Bed Factory in Oldham.

Dreams recognised the need to integrate its sales channels to better meet the needs of customers at each stage of their buying journey, whether it was online or in-store – something its disparate legacy systems were no longer able to sufficiently deliver.

The solution from Envoy Digital, which will be implemented via the SAP Hybris Commerce platform, brings together the siloed offline and online customer journeys into a single unified journey, affording Dreams a 360-degree view of the customer. This will enable Dreams’ sales teams to drive enhanced interactions with its customers, while delivering shoppers more seamless omnichannel experiences, no matter which channel they engage with the brand in.

Mike Logue, CEO of Dreams, commented: “At the moment our business is very separate – from customers operating with us online to a customer being looked after by our store teams. The solution will totally change the way our business operates. A 360-degree view of the customer will enable us to follow that buying journey all the way through and allow for greater interaction for all our store teams with the customer. This means all of our 200 stores will turn into ‘digital stores’ and, instead of talking about online sales and offline sales, all our sales will become ‘digital sales’.”

Logue continued: “This is a significant initiative for our business, and it’s important that we futureproof ourselves. We all know the world – and retail – is changing at such a rapid rate, even without all the digital changes that are taking place, and we need to keep up with that. The solution for us is all about the future – that Dreams is futureproofed for a number of years ahead.”

After a 12-month selection process, Envoy Digital was chosen to deliver the solution and was selected for its extensive experience, not just in the omnichannel space but also in working with SAP Hybris as an SAP Gold Partner, as Logue also explained:

“Lots of people talk omnichannel, but Envoy Digital has actually done it. And, as we are working with a new platform, we wanted to work with someone who has worked with it, and understands all the opportunities and challenges it presents. But, most importantly for me and the management team is the passion Envoy Digital has shown for our business – it’s important to see a partner who is excited by a major initiative you are putting into the business.”

Branwell Moffat, Director of Commerce Consulting at Envoy Digital, said: “The omnichannel solution we are building for Dreams means customers will be able to start their buying journeys online or in-store and complete their purchase in any of those sales channels, even through multiple touchpoints. Very few retailers, especially in the furniture industry, have created such an omnichannel solution. So, it’s exciting to see how Dreams is really embracing this, in order to drive the business forwards and solidify their position as the leader in this field.”

intu shows no gift is impossible in new Christmas campaign

November 8th, 2018 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Shopping centre owner intu has launched a new Christmas advert showing how its retailers come to the rescue in the search for impossible festive gifts.

The 30-second film, named ‘The impossible gift’, tells the story of a duckling too young to fly who is finally able to soar into the clouds on Christmas morning, thanks to the present of a toy drone and goggles bought at an intu shopping centre.

It ends with the line “Find every gift, however impossible, at your intu shopping centre”, which is central to intu’s campaign to drive footfall to its retailers’ stores this Christmas.

The advert is the latest in intu’s long-running campaign to celebrate Christmas at intu shopping centres by featuring various bird characters preparing for the festive season. It was created by agency Now and produced by stop-motion animation specialists Blinklink.

Roger Binks, customer experience director at intu, said: “This year’s campaign embraces the challenge facing those looking for impossible Christmas gifts, such as those requested by imaginative children – a unicorn or rainbow perhaps, or even to become a superhero. We wanted to tell this very relatable story and encourage gift buyers to take advantage of all the inspiration of a physical shopping experience where you can see what’s available, feel the quality and buy as part of just one visit.”

“We have created an ad that shows how important a wide range of retailers is when it comes to discovering seemingly impossible Christmas gifts and that reflects the joy shoppers experience at intu centres. It’s intu’s job as owner of many of the country’s most popular shopping destinations to inspire, entertain and make sure customers discover the right stores.”

The campaign is being supported by a PR activation giving customers the chance to win impossible-to-buy Christmas gifts created by some of Britain’s best-known inventors that also launches this month.

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