Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category

Lovett + Judge flagship store opens at the Mailbox

January 15th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Independent furniture brand, Lovett + Judge has launched at the Mailbox, a premier shopping and lifestyle destination in Birmingham.

The contemporary 3,000 sq. ft. showroom provides the perfect backdrop to Lovett + Judge’s range of furniture, treasures, oddities and curiosities.

Every piece is handpicked by the brand’s team of interior designers, alongside bespoke options where customers are encouraged to be bold and create pieces uniquely personal to them.

Tim Lowry, founder and director of Lovett + Judge, said: “We felt a real synergy with the Mailbox, with its impressive line-up of home and interiors brands. In such a central location, it is the perfect place for us to launch our new venture.”

David Pardoe, head of retail, marketing and tenant engagement at the Mailbox, said: “Independent retailers are vital to the retail mix bringing exciting new brands and unique ranges, valued by our discerning customers. We are delighted to welcome the brand to Home at Mailbox.”

Lovett + Judge flagship store is based in the 20,000 sq. ft. Home & Interiors department on Level 1 of the Mailbox.

For more information, visit www.mailboxlife.com.

Icon Outlet reports significant footfall and spend growth over the festive period

January 14th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

ICON Outlet at The O2, the 210,000 sq ft premium urban outlet developed by AEG and Crosstree Real Estate Partners, has reported bumper Christmas trading with like-for-like sales growing by 39% during the holiday period from 23 December – 5 January, benefiting from a 34% increase in destination footfall to The O2 (excluding customers to The O2 arena).

Across all stores there was particularly strong like-for-like performance growth over the Christmas period, with beauty up 71%, accessories up 52%, footwear up 39% and fashion increasing by 33%. In addition, Boxing Day far exceeded expectations, bucking the national trend to set a new record sales day for ICON Outlet.

Food and beverage sales in the Entertainment District at The O2 also saw a 33% growth across the same period year-on-year, with overall sales for 2019 up 10%. This follows the opening of the Street Food Quarter, expanding the range of bars and restaurants available to visitors to over 30, and introducing some grab-and-go options for customers on the move.

Managing Director of ICON Outlet and the Entertainment District at The O2, Janine Constantin-Russell, commented: “We are delighted Christmas has been such a huge success and that we welcomed so many customers. Many chose to make a day-out destination visit to The O2 for outlet shopping at our premium brands, whilst also enjoying our enhanced experiences, including live music and performances, free gift wrapping, home delivery and our free parking incentives.”

CBRE and CWM are the retail leasing agents for ICON Outlet, with Lunson Mitchenall leading on the food and beverage leasing.

GPUs and the Need for Effective Inventory Management

January 14th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Adrian Thompson, Global VP of Marketing at SAPPHIRE Technology

One of the biggest pain points for consumers is when products are not available in store, therefore it is crucial for retailers to have a well-planned inventory management method. With brand loyalty becoming more important than ever before, ensuring products are available to purchase when the customer wants is a key part of retaining customers.

Today, technology is driving both disturbance and opportunity. Technology is playing a huge part within the retail industry and realistically the sector would not function without it. Combining both online and in-store inventory management is a way retailers are able to blur the line between competing models and offer their customers the best of both. Whichever way customers prefer to shop, it is vital that retailers are meeting their needs and demands, meaning inventory needs to be managed efficiently.

In the past, a retailer would manage its inventory manually – meaning that store staff would stay late to manually count and record each individual item. However, in today’s fast-moving environment, manual inventory management is no longer good enough, even though there are still businesses who either do not track inventory at all or do so manually. Manual inventory management does not provide an accurate record which can be detrimental to retailers.

Through the adoption of GPU powered databases, retailers are able to track and analyse large volumes of assets, due to the need to analyse large numbers of inventory across the entire supply chain in real time. GPUs provide immense processing power and the ability to offer retailers an improved inventory management solution. They work by accelerating the performance of IoT data, whilst being able to operate significantly faster and more efficiently than CPUs. GPU powered databases are able to support analytics and queries across millions of rows of data, whilst responding in milliseconds. Additionally, these sophisticated databases are able to help retailers forecast future purchasing behaviours.

GPUs are able to power deep learning and artificial intelligence which can further enhance the efficiency required of retailers. “Omnichannel” and “BOPIS” (buy online pickup in store) used to simply be buzzwords. However they have now become part of a fully-realised retail strategy. With its popularity growing rapidly, maintaining an accurate view of inventory is essential in delivering on the promise of these shopping experiences. E-retailers are realising the true value of GPU powered databases and the benefits they hold. Online retail engines require a high speed database in order to analyse the most popular items customers are purchasing and correlate it with the number of those products in the supply chain. By doing this, retailers are able to ensure they have enough stock and as a result keep their customers happy.

One technology that has seen an increase in adoption across the retail space is radio-frequency identification (RFID). RFID technology makes reference to whereby digital data is integrated into RFID tags or smart labels, which are then captured using a radio wave reader. These tags are attached to products at the manufacturing process or when arriving at a retail store, allowing retailers to track products as they move across different stages of the supply chain. RFID enables retailers to keep up with customer demands and meet their expectations. Although it can be an expensive solution, the benefits can outweigh the costs and retailers who have adopted RFID usually see an increase in improvement in accuracy of inventory and profit margins increasing. GPU technology can be combined with RFID to further enhance performance.

With the number of retail stores closing, it is more important than ever for retailers to ensure they are maintaining an accurate inventory procedure and remain competitive against competition. Retailers that are equipped with fast and efficient decision making technology can not only meet their customers’ needs and improve their journey but also increase their profits and reap the awards.

Store events raise money for more than 100 local causes

January 14th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

More than £105,000 has been raised by co-operative colleagues and customers in 2019 for local causes close to their hearts.

Every year, each convenience store part of Southern Co-op, partners with a special local cause chosen by colleagues.

In 2019, 130 difference local causes were chosen from primary schools and food banks to hospitals and scout groups.

The Co-operative Food store colleagues then have a year to hold fundraising events in aid of the cause.

After a year of awareness days, family fun days, bake-offs and cycling challenges, 136 stores are now in search of their next charity partner.

Jessica Hughes, Community Investment Manager at Southern Co-op – the regional, independent co-operative, said: “Each of our stores has a budget which they can donate to special projects but this total is separate. Every penny has been raised by colleagues and customers who want to help the store’s current charity partner.

“A lot of the causes are really small and may simply need help letting people know what they do. Then others have been running for years supporting hundreds of residents in their time of need.

“We are so proud of our colleagues who work tirelessly to give back to these causes. Thank you.”

Local causes are invited to apply to become a charity partner in 2020-21 as part of Southern Co-op’s ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’ programme.

The programme aims to create greener, safer, healthier or more inclusive neighbourhoods.

Amanda Gallagher, Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser for Children’s Hospice South West, said: “The support we’ve had from Southern Co-op in 2019 was phenomenal. From sponsoring our Rainbow Run to the teams getting involved and volunteering at our shops, I really can’t thank them enough for their enthusiasm and determination to make a difference.

“Their fundraising helps support our three hospices across the south west and will help to make sure that we can continue to be here whenever families need us.”

Causes are encouraged to visit their local store as soon as possible to request an application form. To find out more about Southern Co-op’s charity partners, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/makingadifference/local-partnerships.

Vend announces partnership with Klarna

January 13th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Vend has today announced a partnership with global payments provider Klarna. The collaboration gives customers of boutique retailers more flexible payment options, levelling the playing field for small business to compete with enterprise retail and offer Klarna’s smooth and easy payments in-store across the United Kingdom. The role out will later follow in the United States in 2020.

Independent retail is celebrated for ‘retailtainment’ and experiential concepts that continue to draw shoppers to stores. While workshops, local events and initiatives attract loyal customers, innovative use of retail technology is key to support the success and profitability of these small businesses. The use of new, innovative tech frees up time for staff to focus on their unique, winning formulas that ensure local high streets can thrive.

Vend’s collaboration with Klarna puts an enterprise tool in the hands of small business retailers, so that ‘hard to find’ items stocked by independent retailers can now be sold using buy-now-pay-later flexibility in-store on Vend ePOS, and online.

Small businesses can create a flexible checkout experience that’s easy to set up. Connecting to any smartphone, customers will be able to pay with Klarna by scanning a QR code or using a payment link provided by SMS or email, before filling out their details and selecting a payment option. Klarna then makes a real-time decision made in just seconds and Vend’s ePOS system will automatically reconcile Klarna sales at the end of the day.

Jake Jarvis, co-founder of Shoreditch-based sunglasses and apparel retailer, Hot Futures, said: “Klarna is a great additional offering for our customers. Breaking down the payment of slightly larger investments over three payments is an attractive proposition and something our customers appreciate us being able to do. It means our customers can make decisions based on their personal cashflow.

“Having Klarna on Vend in-store gives our work flexibility and creates a better customer experience. We’re always looking to make the customer experience better and as flexible as possible. Vend and Klarna help us do just that.”

Higor Torchia, Managing Director, EMEA at Vend comments: “Consumers love to buy at independent retail shops, and the ability to pay flexibly with Klarna gives shoppers more opportunity to do this, and retailers the ability to attract more customers.

“Vend’s cloud-based software allows independent retailers to manage their inventory on-the-go, running reporting analytics for users that gives insight on customer loyalty and what’s selling well. Getting Klarna set up on Vend is very simple and can be done in two simple steps. It will ensure retailers can keep track of what’s been sold should customers wish to buy in the moment, but pay when more convenient.

Luke Griffiths, UK General Manager at Klarna said: 

“One of the most exciting things about working in this space is the opportunity to partner with other fintech and payments services who are also seeking to revolutionise the shopping experience. Our partnership with Vend shows our commitment to supporting small businesses. Combining our flexible payments with Vend’s ePoS system offers a superior shopping experience  for customers and retailers alike.

As we grow as a business and redefine the way people pay, we’re excited to continue these partnerships and bring flexible payments to more shoppers and retailers globally.”

Primed and ready: how to embrace AI in retail marketing

January 13th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Mike Harris, International Vice President and General Manager at Bluecore

Artificially intelligent (AI) retail solutions are quickly gathering pace around the world. Whether it’s facial recognition scans to find the perfect make up or robots scanning supermarket shelves, many brands are changing the in-store shopping experience to benefit customers and improve efficiencies. But what is happening in online marketing? In an era where technology is getting smarter, retailers are in the eye of a perfect storm but are they embracing AI to help their marketers communicate with consumers?

The explosion in customer data over the last decade has left us at a stage where AI is no longer a choice. Modern email service providers (ESPs), for example, incorporate machine learning to address this growth in customer information and help marketers deliver effective campaigns that meet consumer expectations for personalised messaging.

A shift in artificial expectations

AI technology can sift through the vast amounts of data associated with retail much more efficiently than humans can. AI analyses data exceptionally quickly, makes smart decisions on how to use it and takes action without the manual work that currently takes place behind the scenes. This enables retailers to see the forest through the trees and understand the complex tapestry that is consumer data overlaid with a variety of product and behavioural attributes.

Retail will see more potential from marketing and sales AI applications because the frequent digital interactions between business and customers generate large data sets for AI techniques to tap into. Given this potential, marketing is moving from the era of customer lists to the era of AI. Having previously worked in siloed channel execution teams which were using separate lists created from a single source (that do not offer context about customer behaviours), marketers can now operate in an integrated environment where they can observe all data in one place and decide and act accordingly at the drop of a hat.

Seizing opportunities

The era of AI offers retailers an abundance of opportunities. Now, it’s possible to make data more accessible and actionable to all business users – gone are the days of endless back and forth between IT, CRM, and marketing teams in order to communicate with customers. With AI, the manual work of observing, deciding, acting is taken care of and frees digital teams up to be more strategic. Marketers can focus on campaign goals – such as increasing email revenue and pushing individual products – rather than tactical, time-consuming tasks like pulling customer lists. AI and machine learning (ML) technology also delivers feedback insights, making the data more useful because it can be used to optimise campaigns in real time. For instance, if a customer clicks on a certain product within an email or does not open the email at all, that data is automatically fed back into the system to make the next message more relevant.

Seizing such opportunities means overcoming a few hurdles – which is natural with new technology. For instance, introducing any new technology requires approval from multiple stakeholders, so finding a tool that is proven to deliver results quickly is an important factor to secure buy-in. And for AI-driven tools in particular, it’s important to debunk misconceptions about the technology making autonomous decisions that may damage the integrity of the established relationships with consumers or be misaligned with brand standards. Whether it’s responding to shopper behaviour (subscribing to email marketing) or meeting customer demands (only wanting to receive two emails a week), AI relies on existing data to function properly and will not distort live campaigns.

Instead of worrying about potentially being overwhelmed by the capabilities of their AI-enabled campaigns, the appropriate tool ensures marketers remain in the driver’s seat and can ease into the level of control they give to the technology. The proper AI tool empowers marketers to manage and optimise campaigns effectively, deliver on achieving targets and be more efficient.

Simplifying tasks, conquering complexities

The era of AI has come but marketers are more ready than they may think they are. New technologies are both exciting and carry new challenges but adopting AI in retail marketing is progressive, not disruptive. AI will help solve internal complexities – both technological and organisational – and ensure digital retail growth happens faster.

To successfully move into the era of AI, retailers need a system that provides data analysts and marketers alike with visibility into customer data and the ability to act on those insights quickly. Marketers are only just beginning to unlock new opportunities that will help them improve their own performance and as well as reap the business benefits of AI in retail.

Carrefour acquires Dejbox

January 10th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

The Carrefour Group has announced its acquisition of Dejbox, a pioneer in lunch delivery for business employees located in suburban and outlying areas.

With this acquisition, Carrefour expands its e-grocery offerings to include both a new product segment (ready-to-eat meals) and a new customer base (B2E, or the business-to-employee market), while furthering its ambition of becoming the leader in the Food Transition for all by providing an active clientele with balanced, everyday meals at prices that everyone can afford.

Founded in 2015 by two talented entrepreneurs, Adrien Verhack and Vincent Dupied, Dejbox is an online canteen for business employees. They can choose their lunch from a wide range of fresh, cooked and seasonal dishes for the cost of a restaurant voucher (€5.90 to €8.90) and have it delivered to their workplace at no charge. To capture this huge, fast-changing market, Dejbox created an intuitive online and mobile user interface as well as top quality, inexpensive menu offerings and a streamlined logistics operation – all designed to meet the needs of the more than 10 million French employees who work in the urban hinterland and very rarely have access to an onsite dining service.

Operating in Lille, Lyon, Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes and Grenoble, plus more towns and cities located near those metropolises, Dejbox delivers over 400,000 meals each month. Its growth has been spearheaded by more than 300 workers, including 140 food preparers and delivery personnel employed directly by Dejbox – a factor that sets the company apart from other meal delivery platforms that rely heavily on gig-economy workers.

As part of the Carrefour Group, Dejbox will be able to expand its French operations at a rapid pace and very quickly move into international markets as well. In addition, one of Dejbox’s next steps is to speed growth in B2B services, an important growth driver insofar as it lets companies assume a portion of the cost of employee lunches simply by transferring funds virtually to each employee’s online Dejbox account.

By drawing on a system of smart delivery routes and a unique network of partner caterers and merchants from local communities, this food tech company has successfully created a positive business model that is ideally suited to the recent trend towards food delivery, particularly among millennials.

“This acquisition, which reflects Carrefour’s desire to become the leader in grocery ecommerce, is a strategic one”, says Amélie Oudéa-Castera, Executive Director Customers, Services and Digital Transformation at Carrefour. “It will give us the opportunity to expand our customer base to include employees of medium-sized, small and micro businesses and also invest in the fast-growing food delivery segment with an offering rooted in quality and
affordability.”

In the words of Dejbox co-founders Adrien Verhack and Vincent Dupied, “We made the strategic decision to join with Carrefour because we firmly believe it’s the best possible partner for helping us achieve our ambitious growth plans for Dejbox and for offering as many people as possible an online, affordable, sustainable and tasty alternative to a sandwich or a home-cooked meal.”

Survey: 2019 holiday shopping online

January 10th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Duncan Keene, UK Managing Director for Contentsquare.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday having happened later in 2019, retailers may have been negatively impacted by the 2019 holiday shopping period being a full six days shorter than last year. But, as digital experience platform Contentsquare’s research into that shopping season revealed, many brands still saw online success, thanks to UK shoppers being ready to spend.

Contentsquare surveyed 314 million+ user sessions between 15 November and 23 December and the results proved there is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a peak in conversion during Black Friday (BF) and Cyber Monday (CM) sales day compared to the rest of the 15 November to 23 December shopping period. Purchases on tablet were 53% higher, mobile were 42% higher and desktop 33% higher.

The majority of purchases for the whole period were made on tablets and mobiles over desktop, but mobile browsers and buyers made up 68% of traffic to sites, which could support the premise that buyers were browsing and buying while on the go or out and about. 

The average checkout cart was 10.54% higher during discount days and 11.89% higher during BF/CM than the whole holiday period. Visitors spent on average one minute per page viewed (or 7 mins over an average of 6.33 pages) and more than half of the traffic to retail sites was made up by new visitors. 

So, retailers should prioritise customer retention during this shopping period, as the research also found that the average bounce rate drops from 48% to 39.2% on tablets and desktop. This 8.8% improvement didn’t hold true for mobile bounce rates though, which were higher at 41%, meaning retailers need to work on retention on mobile as a first step next year to increasing overall mobile conversion rates.

Although retailers had less time to grab shoppers over the 2019 holiday shopping period, our research report reveals that online buying habits over the Christmas shopping period are continuing to increase, with UK buyers taking full advantage of the discounts on offer and the ease of shopping using their tablets and mobiles while out and about or at home, alongside their PCs. With most retailers investing in upgrading their omnichannel strategy, it’s essential for brands to consider new channels in order to help them to connect with their customers in another unique way over this busy traffic period. With the Christmas shopping season remaining one of the most competitive for all retailers, leveraging CX personalisation brands that add standout value for consumers is just one way for brands to come out on top of the customer engagement and retention game.

Pure players have leveraged their omnichannel strategy better than anyone – global data shows that digitally native brands have 5% more returning visitors and 107% more logged-in visitors than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. In 2020, we anticipate an upsurge in stores increasingly integrating more channels to connect with their consumers, including a digital experience into brick-and-mortar locations, while physical stores bringing their presence online to drive hyper-personalisation.

RPMI Railpen secures major 20 year letting for Iceland at Livingston Industrial Estate

January 10th, 2020 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Iceland has officially signed for a lease of 20 years for its regional distribution centre at Houston Industrial Estate in Livingston.

The letting of the 284,000 sq ft warehouse, at a rent of £6psf, marks a significant transaction for the Scottish industrial market.

Owned by RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30bn Railways pension schemes, the Livingston site will continue to serve as a base for Iceland’s national operational logistics.

Alastair Dawson, Senior Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are very pleased to have agreed a secure, long-term commitment from Iceland at this facility which ultimately delivers returns for our 350,000 members.”

Poseidon Developments advised Railpen in the deal.

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