Category Archives: retail

Why marketers need to be directors of their brand’s online story

story booksDuring the course of the 19th century, writer George Polti compiled a categorical list of every dramatic situation which might occur in a story, which is now known as The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.

Although there are only 36 possible narratives, there have of course been countless different films, novels and plays produced. This responsibility of crafting a single dramatic situation into a great story that people want to watch and engage with lies with the director, writer or producer, and their unique interpretation of a plot. Read More »

Why being a contrary browser could fuel new discoveries

ForgotifyIn the ever-growing and expansive world of apps, I love the ambition of a new entrant in particular. Forgotify promises to rescue the music that sits in Spotify’s extensive and vast library having never – yes, never – been listened to. Because it has been deprived of its opportunity to impress, this poor, undiscovered music is all too easy to dismiss as unworthy for human consumption.

In fact, one prospective listener callously suggested that there is a good reason why no-one has listened and that these unheard compositions are underserving of an audience with ‘your earhole’ (as he put it). It’s an easy argument to make, of course, but it can’t always be right. Read More »

Premium, brands and why Mark Twain was wrong

ChanelI’ve been thinking a lot about ‘premium’ recently. And Mark Twain – he of the “Clothes make the man” adage. Can a brand ‘put  on’ premium like a man puts on clothes and hey presto, it’s premium? Or is there something deeper going on?

At its most basic, premium is a price people are willing to pay for a product in excess of what they would consider paying for other similar products because of something extra that they want. Read More »

Field Notes: On the road to the truth about European affluence

LuxuryOver the course of the past month, I have made several stops on a tour across Europe presenting my team’s global report, ‘The Truth about Affluence‘. Throughout the tour, I have partnered with regional thought leaders to develop a keener understanding of the drivers, the barriers, and the values that undergird the lifestyles of affluent individuals in Europe today.

The backbone of the tour is based on an online study of the top 20% of populations in key centers of commerce, from Buenos Aires to Warsaw. We supplemented our survey with a series of dinner parties that we hijacked and converted to focus groups in the homes of affluent individuals in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In cities where such dinner parties were not feasible, we invited ourselves to tea and conducted interviews with affluent tastemakers in their sitting rooms. Read More »

How Karl Lagerfeld is changing the role of technology in fashion

KarlLagerfeldKarl Lagerfeld has just opened a new flagship London store and the brand looks to crack the UK marketplace by placing digital at its core. It is laying down a new vision of social shopping by placing iPad minis on clothes rails and iPads in the changing rooms, enabling customers to send a photo of themselves through social networks to seek a second opinion.

At the heart of this is an attempt by the fashion brand to tap into typical shopping behaviour (getting a friend’s opinion) through digital means, a trend that is no doubt going to spread like wildfire. Read More »

Did the Wearable Tech Expo deliver the goods?

Smartwatch by janitorsLast week saw London’s Olympia host the UK’s first ever Wearable Technology Conference and Expo, dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in smartwatches, wristbands and other wearable devices. With speakers from Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Intel, the show promised a lot, but did it live up to the hype?

The show floor at Olympia reflected an industry that is still in its infancy with a clear split between sport and leisure wearable gadgets. The most commercially successful wearable tech category so far is that of sports-focused devices, and the plethora of health and fitness-trackers on display at the show underlined the consumer demand for these products. Read More »

Waitrose forces us all to examine the true nature of loyalty in the digital age

Waitrose Loyalty CardFor some time now loyalty schemes have been prevalent on the high street and online as brands do their utmost to prevent customers straying to the competition. The challenge all brands face is that now it’s easier than ever before to compare prices online in a few seconds and purchase anywhere. As consumers in a multi-channel marketplace, we aren’t tied to any one brand or purchasing channel.

An informed consumer has complete freedom of choice: we shop when, where and how we want, and this is what makes loyalty so important but also uniquely challenging. Although on the surface it may seem fairly straightforward, the concept of loyalty raises some very interesting questions for brands. Read More »

Formula 1 in conversion optimisation – on the tracks of Sebastian Vettel

sebastian vettelSebastian Vettel (pictured) is the ultimate Formula 1 driver. He is the youngest four times world champion of all times and currently breaks all the records. With his eighth victory of the season he even broke the age-old record of his idol Michael Schumacher and this certainly won’t be his last achievement.

What is Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s secret? Vettel said it with a smirk, and an idiosyncratic turn of phrase: “When the others go home to hang their balls in the pool, we’re still here working on the car trying to squeeze out that little bit more.”

His team boss Christian Horner thinks along the same sort of lines: “It happens way too often that people become complacent and think that Red Bull victories are a given. But this is not the case, every race is a challenge.” Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel never settle with the status quo. They always try to better themselves and therefore always push themselves to the limit. Read More »

Why brands should care about getting ‘omnichannel’ right

laptop mobile tabletThe idea of having an ‘omnichannel’ retail business has been gathering pace exponentially over the past couple of years. Referring to a consumer’s journey across all shopping channels; such as email, phone, chat or in-store “going omnichannel” is something there has been much discussion about – should retailers do it or not?

Unfortunately it’s not retailers’ decision to make; it’s already been decided. Customers are already using multiple channels to take care of all their daily needs, including shopping and contacting brands. In research conducted for Zendesk recently it was revealed that globally, 67% of consumers admit to using more than one platform before deciding on a purchase.  It’s a given that in today’s world, most, if not all of those customers will be using at least one social platform to share and communicate their experiences. And as smartphones become as essential to consumers’ pockets as wallets and drivers licenses they are increasingly being able to do all of it on-the-move. Read More »

The end of mindless consumption and rise of conspicuous production

ShoppingArcadeIn the course of a recent co-creation session conducted in our London offices for our next global study, The Truth About Shopping, we asked a diverse group of participants to pitch concepts for the retail store of tomorrow. All of the pitches that the teams provided were daring in their potential for shoppers of the future. And, all of the pitches of the day pointed to an unexpected truth about the contemporary shopping experience.

Let’s begin with the winning concept chosen by the workshop participants, “The Driv-Inn.” We, of course, loved the witty title for the store concept. “The Driv-Inn” was a hybrid venue:  part car dealership, part boutique country hotel. The insight that the team drew from was the fact that when purchasing a car, looking at it in a showroom is not nearly enough; the buyer really needs to drive the car. Moreover, simply driving a few kilometers around town is not nearly enough experience to make such a massive purchasing decision. Read More »