Friday, 21 August 2015

Tesco setting a new KPI in fine wine appreciation?

The Guardian’s report on the retailer’s decision to close the Tesco Wine Community website on 28 August, and the slimming down of its in-store and online wine range are all part of chief executive Dave Lewis’s re-set quest to reduce the overall product range.

The key issue for suppliers is how these moves by the UK’s biggest wine retailer will impact alcoholic drinks’ off-trade sales, particularly as the website focused on blending wine-loving customers with other experts and wine-bloggers. 

Therefore, the resulting vocal response should come as no surprise as disappointed members urge more enlightened retailers like Lidl to leap into the gap…

Think also of the tell-a-friend implications resulting from alienation of this special-interest network…

Seriously, whilst Tesco’s current priority has to be profit performance, its buyer-led drive to educate UK palates to more subtle appreciation of what really matters in wine selection may result in unintended consequences in terms of how discerning shoppers view the retailer's other post-cull categories… 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Boarding passes - still a storm in a glass tea-cup?

Any airport operators and retailers in any doubt as to the depth of consumer feeling need only read the comments-section of the many news reports that continue to cover the issue. Unfortunately for airport retailers, it does not stop at the checkout... 

This tip-of-iceberg boarding pass issue is now causing savvy consumers to bring their normal high street shopping behaviours into the airport. In other words, when mobile phones might have been left off as part of the pre-holiday wind-down process, price-comparison apps are being consulted to reveal price-gaps that are even wider than the ‘same as high street prices’ assurances being issued by airport  retailers, as the issue escalates...

More importantly, with plenty of time to spare, airport travellers are able to indulge themselves in texting their feelings to friends. In practice this means applying the tell-a-friend rule: If a brand exceeds my expectations, I tell one friend, if short-changed, I tell ten friends... 

Then think plane-loads of passengers continuing to spread the word at destination airports currently unaffected by this uniquely UK issue... 

In other words, what was meant to be a shop-window for leading-edge retailers and brands is morphing into an outlet for pent-up frustration by vocal savvy passengers that fall out with the staff and vote with their feet...

Meanwhile, suppliers have to ask whether their brands’ presence in airport shops, and possibly the innocent target of consumer anger, is worth the damage, cost and growing inconvenience of travelling by air... 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Morrisons sale of C-Store Chain - a phoenix chicken under new ownership?

Details are obviously sparse at this stage, but logically, at breakeven on sales of say £300m, it is probable that the 160-outlet chain will change hands for no more than £250m - a financial relief for Morrisons, and an exciting convenience-challenge for the new owners.

The issue for suppliers has to be where the M local chain goes from here. 

Morrisons have already addressed the viability issue by selling off unprofitable outlets, but it is probable that some branches in high-rent areas will be prioritised in terms of driving footfall and basket-size to improve the bottom-line, before decisions are made re lease-forfeiture/closure, with attendant write-off costs.

The key will be to establish a consumer-franchise to capitalise on small, local and more frequent shopping. This means that, having refined the formula, the focus will be on extending into neighbourhood areas, ideally with lower rentals and possibly going a franchise route…?

Either way, suppliers might usefully support a chain that will make an interesting 160-outlet investment-backed convenience chain customer firing on all cylinders, and possibly even realise a ground floor opportunity in what could become a significant player as it rises from the ashes of structural change in the grocery sector…   

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Kids born in the 60s & 70s, and their clean dinner-plate neuroses?

His mother's insistence that no food went to waste has stayed with Colm O'Regan all his life. The ritual of dinnertime shaming and being made to finish his dinner will inevitably be repeated when he has his own children, he writes in this week’s BBC Magazine.

Some great insights but key was the fact that days spent in unsupervised outdoor pursuits soon burned off any excess calories resulting from clean plate ‘over-eating’, and more importantly, were vital in helping us manage uncertainty in a world without patterns...

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, and tuna from a tin.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun. We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, ipads,  had no video games at all, no 200 channels or catch-up on TV, no DVDs, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no text-messaging, no PCs, no Internet or social networking.......... WE HAD REAL FRIENDS and we went outside, found them and talked to them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Local teams had try-outs and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!?

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all…….. !

So, the continuing unprecedented times are simply challenges and opportunities for many of us…

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Boarding Pass checkout - the ultimate fall-out?

Think about it:
  • Retailer brand equity haemorrhaging...
  • Higher than High Street running costs
  • Turnover-based rental
  • High Street prices subsidised by non-refund VAT
  • 'Free' insight re shopper-behaviour cut-off
  • Boarding Pass refusal-issues at checkout
  • HMRC queries...and attendant re-funds
  • Political platform emerging...
  • Shopper alienation...
In other words, what was meant to be a shop-window is morphing into an outlet for pent-up frustration by vocal savvy passengers that fall out with the staff and vote with their feet...

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Grocers as Media Outlets for CPGs Suppliers?

In culling times when retailers don’t need more categories, retailers are in danger of missing a unique opportunity to add media-access to their instore range.

Simply by putting their existing customer analytics and communications assets to work more effectively – and then marketing these assets to their suppliers – grocers have the ability to generate significant revenue for their business, while also helping to support their customers through each stage of their purchasing journey. See more at The Progressive Grocer.

Given their extensive range of communications channels, combined with physical access to the consumer in the shopper-marketing aisle, grocers are in a unique position to hand-hold the shopper throughout the entire purchasing process, and beyond...

However, David Buckingham in the Progressive Grocer makes the point that the opportunity will remain dormant unless retailers optimise their unique advantages over other media by tying suppliers’ marketing initiatives back to each stage of the shopper’s purchasing decision via the retailer’s customer analytics tools.

This will provide a means of directly measuring return on marketing investment, hopefully over-riding the distractions of back-to-front margin moves… 

By treating this ‘access and fulfilment bundle’ as an individual category and offering it as such to suppliers, the retailer can stimulate the collaboration necessary to raise its potential profile in both organisations.

It then simply takes communications-imagination on the part of supplier to add this new ‘category’ – a retailer’s unique channel, role and revenue stream - to their brand portfolio, and think accordingly…   

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Boarding Pass checkouts - the unintended consequences?

Reports in The Independent indicate that Airport retailers demand boarding cards from travel-shoppers to avoid paying 20 per cent VAT on everything they sell to passengers travelling outside the EU, as there is no purchase tax due on such goods.

Research by The Independent also suggests most of these stores don’t pass the savings on to customers.

Apart from the inevitable damage caused to retailer brand equity, and possible questions from the authorities re inappropriate VAT collection, the real issue has to be the knock-on effect of most airline passengers refusing to submit what is a valuable source of shopper insight at checkout...

In other words, think about the value of knowing name, destination, flight class and frequent-flyer details of every travel-shopper making a purchase...especially if linked with loyalty-data to optimise shopper marketing strategies in some of the world's most expensive retail real-estate...especially if it can be shared with the airline...

Think also about the fragility of shopper-retailer relationships, in a world where passengers held overlong in the security security-process, already suspicious that the indirect route to the plane is deliberately designed to encourage shopping, are known to 'punish' the airport by refusing to enter, let alone buy from airport shops...

Time for a grand gesture - and some overdue damage limitation - via VAT discounts at the checkout?

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Savvy NAMs guide to Best-by dates and food safety

A new article by Business Insider makes a point that the "sell by" dates indicate not whether foods are safe to eat - they simply tell you when food will reach its limits for "optimal quality".

They link to a fully searchable site that gives guidance re. the safe-life of most foods, along with advice on prolonging life-time by category

Well worth a check over the weekend…

Meanwhile, it might be worth contemplating on the implications of savvy consumers adopting ways of reducing waste - $165bn/annum - thus effectively reducing consumer demand by even half of that amount, in a flat-line environment…

The way forward for food suppliers?
Why not embrace the inevitable and promote ways of prolonging the life of your brand, and grow credibility and market share at the expense of more defensive competitors, even in flat-line…?


..........or a fat-cat worried sick?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Amazon not clicking with Click & Collect?

Some recent research conducted by Instantly, a provider of audiences and insights tools, came out with an unexpected conclusion that Tesco is leading the way in click & collect at 60%. However, a surprise was that Amazon scored so badly at 16%....

Given that their home delivery is well-nigh perfect, it seem unusual that they are missing such an obvious trick on the more economic alternative from an online supplier’s point of view.

Unless Amazon are cooking up a radical alternative to collection-boxes in stores? 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Aldi-man new fashion range launch

Having landed a few heavy punches on the grocery mults, Aldi is now squaring up to the High Street clothing giants M&S and Next, with its first fashion range for men.

The new summer clothing range includes linen trousers (£9.99), smart chino shorts (£7.99) and Oxford shirts (£6.99), and for those NAMs wanting to avoid being recognised by other Aldi-NAMs, marl zipped hoodies are a must-buy @ £8.99….

Worth at least a store visit, but if you cannot afford to be seen in Aldi, some good in-use pics are available here.

Where is this headed?
Sharp-eyed followers of mens’ fashion will remember that Lidl beat Aldi to it via their launch of a men's fashion range in November 2014.

However, apart from resulting in a little headline-grabbing skirmishing, taking both initiatives together gives another indication of the extent of the discounters’ ambitions in the UK.

In other words, someone at Aldi/Lidl has to be assessing potential opportunities category by category, seeking the right blend of complacent-pricing and tunnel-vision that might respond to a Lidl proper discounting...

It costs little to try, and one discounter’s success automatically provides a pointer for the other…

Meanwhile, one can only imagine the additional disruption in the men’s fashion world should Poundland find a way to follow suit…?

Monday, 3 August 2015

Webification - how The Entertainer is taking the shop floor to new heights in Toy Retailing

If your kids have not already pointed it out, a visit to a branch of Gary Grant’s The Entertainer Toy store will convince you of the merits of experimenting with alternative tech-driven experiences, increasingly integrating e-commerce functionality with in-store environments – a ‘webification’ pointer for other retailers?.

With sales of £107m, ROCE 22.7%. and Net Margins BT of 5.7%, and growing at 13% in the current climate, they are one of the most innovative toy retailers we analyse.

The Entertainer is significantly improving both customer enquiry resolution and conversion, and Click & Collect performance by deploying shop floor tablet devices.  The independent toy retailer is now able to offer a 30 minute Click & Collect service, a development that saw sales via this channel grow by more than 80 per cent over Christmas 2014, accounting  for 35 per cent of the company’s online sales.

The shop floor tablets used by The Entertainer are a great starting point (more at ItProPortal). For example, they can be used to enable easy review of a store’s entire inventory, the traditional in-store equivalent of which would be incredibly laborious, even with the help of a shop assistant.

By arming assistants with a tablet, retailers can provide the shopper with an ‘endless aisle’ experience similar to that of e-commerce. 

Moreover, the devices can also allow assistants to process payments anywhere in-store, and even provide personalised recommendations.

Obviously, exposing your kids to a retailer’s entire inventory carries its own risks, so perhaps a solo store-check might be wiser this time…?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Getting mad, even for seagulls?

                                                                                                                                Pics: Brighton Argus

More about the dog-killers here