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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3

Retailers who do not offer their customers a free and easy returns process are likely to lose sales and customer loyalty, according to myriad pieces of research, which rather states the obvious.

Research from payments company Klarna found 75% of customers say easy returns are an essential factor in their choice of retailer, 78% say free returns mean they would buy more with a retailer over time, and 86% say the option of free returns will make them more loyal and more likely to keep coming back to a brand.

But at what cost to the retailer? Such are the levels of returns at clothing retailers – particularly at the fast fashion end of the market – that solutions are being sought to mitigate this margin-killer within their businesses.

In what can possibly be seen as a watershed moment for the industry Asos made a public statement that it was on the warpath to track down those customers who perennially order goods but never make a purchase.

It is on the lookout for – and I suspect it won’t be too difficult to find – unusual patterns of returns activity. This includes those people who actually wear the item before returning it as well as those serial returners who simply send back mountains of goods. The culprits will find their Asos accounts deactivated.

This is one proactive – stick-type approach – to the situation and it is likely to lead to others following suit (if they are not already doing it behind the scenes on the quiet). Around the world there are other initiatives being adopted by retailers who are working more on the carrot-type approach. In the US, Walmart-owned Jet.com has been offering discounts on orders when customers opt-out of the free return option.

This route to reducing returns has also just been introduced by India-based Myntra that offers customers at the checkout the option for their order to be non-returnable, which then gives them the item at a reduced cost. It calculates the discount on a product-by-product basis.

It is absolutely the case that more such initiatives will be introduced as the retail industry works towards a situation that is profitable for themselves and flexible and convenient for the customer.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail partners with businesses to provide connected technologies based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 so retailers can reach their goals now and in the future. In a size that best fits future plans wherever you need it – Cloud, Hybrid or On-premise. Our solutions drive more than 800 international retail brands from Charles Tyrwhitt and The White Company to Ryman and Sue Ryder, Hobbycraft, Wasabi and Ted Baker, K3 Retail is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and the UK’s leading Microsoft Dynamics retail partner.

The post Proactively facing up to the returns headache appeared first on Retail Insider.

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When I took a job with a US financial institution it involved making regular phone calls to its European offices during what was often a very long day with little time for lunch breaks, as the Americans wanted their pound of flesh. One day I called the Geneva office at 1pm to be answered by a receptionist who was surprised at my interruption as the whole office was out to lunch – along with the rest of the country.

That was 20 years ago. The situation today isn’t quite as regimented due to the wholesale dismantling of the fixed-time activities within people’s days – one of the most notable being meal times. The gradual disappearance of what were critical parts of the day has been going on for many years and the impact on foodservice continues to be felt.

Going back in time our ancestors lived and ate in sync with the rhythms of the seasons and the hours of sunlight, which determined when everybody stopped to eat. Schools and formal institutions still adhere to a timetable but everybody else has dropped into a much less strict regime as flexible working hours have become the norm and many people don’t even need to go to the office any more. The better restaurants are adapting to this new dynamic.

Flexible working clearly saves time and should allow people to commit more of their waking hours to vital activities such as eating – but things aren’t quite playing out that way. We seem to be increasingly strapped for time. However, this is merely a perception of the time we have rather than the actual reality – for most people that is. We think we have less time because there are so many things we can now do with our time – many of them social in nature rather than work.

Precious family time round the breakfast table

One element of this is social media, which voraciously eats our time. This is merely one manifestation of digital, which is also driving the expectation of immediate gratification. This gives the perception of having no time to waste. In reality, the digital revolution should be massively time-saving as it can remove the need to visit shops, banks, restaurants and travel agents. Everything can be summoned to your door without you even leaving the house.

The impact of this immediate mindset on meal times and eating habits has been catastrophic. According to Mintel, two-fifths (40%) of millennials think cereal is an inconvenient breakfast meal because it takes time to clean up the bowl after eating, which is leading to food decisions being made on the basis of convenience and speed to mouth.

Washing up breakfast bowls: Just too much trouble

This has led to the rise of fast food, vending machines, takeaways and today’s big trend, online delivery. What’s the problem with this? The issue is it’s leading to greater consumption of processed foods. This is hardly new and probably began with the invention of sliced bread but in recent years it has taken a real hold. What’s particularly worrying is some of these processed convenience foods are marketed as healthy options, while some pander to the latest fashionable diets.

Among the latest healthy foodstuffs hitting the market and gaining a following are meal replacement brands such as Soylent and Huel. The latter is a plant-based powder that promises to provide all the nutrition the body needs from a meal. The argument put forward by these brands is many people don’t have the time or money to get the nutrition they need in their time-poor lives. I personally find it hard to think of anything as joyless as a powdered meal replacement.

We’ve certainly come a long way from the dining habits of our ancestors and I hope the foodservice industry can turn things around and convince people they really do have time to eat proper meals, which is a natural, healthy, social and above all life-affirming activity.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

This piece was originally published on Propel Info where Glynn Davis writes a regular Friday opinion piece. Retail Insider would like to thank Propel for allowing the reproduction of this column.

The post Making time for meals appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Philippe Chainieux of Made.com and Andrew Ellis of McDonald’s

Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event of 2019 with Philippe Chainieux, CEO of Made.com, and Andrew Ellis, head of CRM at McDonald’s, who described how they are continuously adapting their businesses to satisfy customers in today’s dynamic market.

Philippe highlighted how the pace of change had accelerated as access to technology has become increasingly easy and solutions such as the tools from AWS (Amazon Web Services) are now affordable to all sizes of business.

This was recognised by Andrew who pointed out that this scenario has also made it easier for new competitors to enter the market. It was therefore paramount that established players are proactive in making changes that puts them in a more competitive position.

Senior executives from Amazon, John Lewis, Boots, Pret A Manger, Sofa Workshop and Tossed were among those gathered at The Delaunay in central London to hear how Made.com and McDonald’s are developing their models through continuous innovation.

At Made.com this has involved the creation of showrooms around Europe that complement its core online presence and incorporate a variety of developing technologies. These solutions are likely to be further enhanced following the recent formation of a Made.com Innovation Lab.

“We want to plug into external technologies. We can’t be innovative in all areas so we need other [third-partes] technologies. We’re incorporating the ‘tech scene’ into our business in the same way that we have done with the many product designers we work with,” says Philippe.

For McDonald’s the UK market has been a particularly fertile innovator, according to Andrew, who says such success in specific regions – whether it be around technology, marketing or food development – is being increasingly shared around the globe: “We are being encouraged to share a little bit more and to have hubs through which best practice can be shared.”

Evidence of the company’ intent can be seen from its building-out of a core data platform onto which can be plugged a variety of applications such as a campaign tool and the artificial intelligence decision engine Dynamic Yield that was recently acquired by McDonald’s.

The solution is initially being used to take data points around specific stores such as the local weather, traffic levels and demand for certain products. From this it can determine the insight that can then surface content including recommendations on the menu at its Drive Thru restaurants. Much more is planned in this area.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Philippe Chainieux and Andrew Ellis as well as the morning’s sponsors Womble Bond Dickinson, PCMS Group, Webloyalty, and H.I. Executive Consulting. Without their much appreciated support this event would not have been possible.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider

The post Retail Insider Breakfast – Philippe Chainieux, CEO of Made.com, and Andrew Ellis, head of CRM at McDonald’s appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Welcome to our brand new section of the site which is going to focus on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical.  From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one use plastic, excess packaging to food waste – this is where the real action is.

In a nutshell: Reverse vending machines were the talk of the town last summer as a flurry of the biggest supermarkets in Britain launched their own drinks container trials in selected stores up and down the country to see if the public took to the idea.

According to the government, which has just launched a consultation to run until mid-May on the subject of a national deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, UK consumers go through 14 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, of which shockingly only half are recycled.  Another nine billion drinks cans are used while glass bottles total five billion.

One of the first off the mark was Iceland, which installed the UK’s first reverse vending machine (RVM) in May 2018 in Fulham, South London. Users were able to load in any Iceland plastic bottle and received a 10p voucher to spend in store as the reward. That trial was also then extended to several others stores and its head office in Deeside.

Iceland’s reverse vending machine

Shortly afterwards Morrison’s followed suit in two stores – one in Skipton and the other in East Kilbride. This scheme rewarded the consumer with loyalty points and accepted all plastic bottles with a barcode and Morrison’s own brand bottles either with or without a barcode. Users were limited to returning 20 bottles a day and for each bottle returned received 100 Morrison’s More points in coupon form to be spent in-store.

And then in September, Tesco joined the party with the biggest roll-out of all with stores in Borehamwood, Birmingham, Swansea, Edinburgh and Manchester all taking part. Also offering a charity donation or points reward, Tesco issued a maximum return per day of 10 bottles and allowed bottles up to 750ml.

Tesco: Closing the loop on plastic bottles

Cut to this spring and a new variant of the scheme was launched in the King’s Cross development Granary Square where waste company Veolia and food company Leon teamed up to offer a 10% discount voucher for the chain for every can or bottle deposited. This machine also took containers of up to 750ml to target the ‘recycling on the go’ problem of people just throwing away their drinks containers rather than taking them home to recycle with the weekly collection.

Old bottles for sandwiches: Leon’s reverse vending idea

And as the results from the various trials come in, it shows that so far people are very, very keen to recycle wherever they are. The Iceland scheme reported that more than 300,000 containers had been returned in the first trial period meaning that £30,000 worth of coupons have been issued – on average 2.5k+ bottles were handed in every day.  The company has extended its scheme for another six months and will report again after that. A spokesperson for Iceland confirmed that the trial has also been extended to Northern Ireland with a machine installed in the Belfast area in January 2019.  Tesco also reported successful results and increased the bottle size it accepted up to three litres as it revealed 100,000 containers had passed through its trial vending machines.

Most positively it seems that children are leading the charge on this. Consumer interviews done by Iceland showed that the pressure and education to recycle one-use plastic comes from the younger generation who urge their parents to use the machines.

It will be interesting to see if the much more recent Leon/Veolia iteration, which rewards the customer in a slightly different way will be as successful as the more standardised versions which focus more on in-store recycling/rewards. But perhaps the biggest test of all will be to see if any national scheme creates widespread consumer confusion around the country – as household recycling has done.

The post Sustainability Focus: Reverse vending machines appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Brought to you by Retail Insider and PCMS

Name: Bottletop

The Place: Regent Street, London

The Story: Ring pulls from cans turned into luxury bags. What’s not to like?

Sorry, did you say ring pulls? I did.

Did you say luxury bags? I did.

In the same sentence? I did.

OK, just checking: The germ of an idea, which began in 2002 as the Bottletop Foundation, part of a collaboration with Mulberry (more of that connection later) and others in Africa, Bottletop the shop was actually founded in 2012 by two men by the names of Cameron Saul and Oliver Wayman. They are passionate about upcycling and recycling and all other things eco.

Amazing what you can do with ring pulls.

But who collaborates with ring pulls? Listen up, with your non-sustainable ways, this kind of weaving or crocheting of thrown away ring pulls into a kind of chain mail is totally a thing in many countries where people make a lot more use of their rubbish then we do. Saul and Wayman did not invent this. Wayman explains to us: “The special woven technique has existed in Brazil for a long time and we happened to be working there after developing a Brazilian music album.” But what they have done is take it to the next level.

The more expensive one? The more luxury one and added the design element. And these bags are not just practical and beautiful, they are virtuous. Wayman says: “There is a definite change in consumer consciousness and people are increasingly seeking answers to the product’s materials and their supply chains.”

Well I can’t deny that. But the shop looks a bit wowzer too: Not that many brands open their first unit on Regent Street but that’s what has happened here. And not content with their wares scoring high brownie points for sustainability, the shop fit-out does too.

Tell me more: Firstly it is apparently the world’s first 3D printed store.  AI Build’s doing. All done with robots.

Blimey, I didn’t know you could do that: And secondly, the interior material is made by Reflow, which is impeccably green. They identify a waste plastic source, break down the plastic, use their special tech to produce a new filament material, and then boom! Away you go designer people.

How to make your shop look fabulous: upcycled drinks cans

And the result is: Amazing. And the customer reaction has been “very positive, people have been fascinated to see how such a futuristic technology can be producing a beautiful aesthetic using upcycled materials”. Undulating plastic curves made from the Reflow material and a ceiling of hundreds of re-used drinks cans. It’s classic Bottletop – ethical design all the way along. The flooring is repurposed old tyres too.

I expect customers feel virtuous just walking in to that shop: You certainly can do. But this shop is on a serious tourist route and most of the trippers will probably be blissfully unaware of the use of waste plastic in the shop walls. What they are interested in, however, is ring pulls.

And who is that core customer? Ah. Now this is a surprising one. According to Wayman: “We have quite a wide demographic, especially from fashion and design-led customers, and those who have an interest in the story behind the product.” Sales staff also confirmed that a lot of Arabic women are particularly interested in Bottletop bags. They appreciate the artisan workmanship and the metallic finish and lap them up. Also the Chinese consumers who examine the articles very, very closely for imperfections, don’t find them, and then buy.

Considering they have to use the same material which could be limiting, the range is pretty impressive: Too right. As the company says: “Our clients buy our product first because they love the aesthetic. Our sustainability and ethics are an added bonus.” But it’s definitely a very important added bonus and before we forget, can we add that the leather on all these products is zero deforestation leather from Brazil.

You can. What is the most wanted? Easy. Wayman confirms it is the Luciana clutch purse. Retailing at £125. Also among the top sellers is the Bellani bag. But although it is a luxury brand there are plenty of easy access points and the belts and purses are very affordable.

The Luciana: In all her glory

You know what I’m wondering… What the future holds for Bottletop?

It wasn’t. But as you’ve mentioned it: More shops for one thing. Wayman tell us Japan opens later this year and then New York in 2020. The online market is a growing one for the company and a series of pop-ups will open at the end of this year and beginning of the next to expand the international side of things.

It was: these bags – where do they get these blinking ring pulls from actually? Finally, you want to know about the important stuff. The ring pulls are collected by homeless people in Salvador, Brazil who are paid a good wage for their services. They get them from landfill and just from the streets, wherever they can find them really. After that they are given to a proper atelier for production.

Err. Atelier – remind me: Just a posh word for a workshop. Around 25 ladies work here and do their artisan thing. But the company is also working on collections in Nepal, Indonesia and Kenya.

Could you use anything else though? The founders admit that “the ring pulls defined the basis of the collection” but add “we are constantly challenging ourselves to use new and pioneering sustainable materials and techniques”.

And another thing, why is it called Bottletop when they are in actual fact ring pulls? OK, now this is going to take a bit of explaining. Remember at the beginning I talked about Mulberry.

Vaguely: Well, Cameron Saul’s father Roger is the founder of Mulberry – and it was those two that originally launched the Bottletop Foundation to fund various aid projects. And the central idea was launched around a handbag made of recycled bottle tops from Africa coupled with Mulberry leather from Europe.

Got it: Cut to a short time later and the other founder, Wayman, discovered the whole ring pull thing going on in Brazil. The bag that was created after that discovery ‘the Bellani’ created such a kerfuffle in the fashion world that it led to the whole Bottletop as a fashion brand concept in 2012.

So, essentially you are saying that if the ring pull artisans had been discovered first it would have been called Ringpull instead: Probably.

Know what – whatever it’s called. I’m in: Me too. 

PCMS is a global provider of IT software and services for the retail industry. PCMS offers a full-range of integrated commerce solutions across selling touch points and also provides turnkey managed services and cloud hosting. Its client list includes John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Whole Foods, as well as Walgreens in the US and fashion brands including Prada and Ferragamo across Europe

The post Innovative Retailer: Bottletop appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3

Automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have been driving the narrative around the retail industry in recent years whereas the people element has been somewhat sidelined. It has certainly not been seen as a central plank of the future for the sector.

But we are seeing evidence of a growing realisation that it is people that are the real differentiators for retailers and that they are the most valuable component in generating loyalty among shoppers for retail businesses and brand owners.

This reappraisal of the value of people is taking place across entire organisations – from stores to call centres, and from senior management to those lower down the ranks. In the store environment their value is clear, according to recent research from Reflexis, which found 78% of people say good service drives loyalty and 87% find the ability of store associates to guide and advise them during the purchasing journey as important.

Gucci: Opening six call centres for its customers

This sort of evidence is driving change at companies including Gucci, which is opening six customer call centres that resemble the luxury brand’s shops. They involve hundreds of people handling calls and online queries. The objective is to create personal relationships with customers who are increasingly buying online, which replicates the personalised experience they would have enjoyed in-store before the emergence of the smart-phone. Gucci recognises the value of bringing people into the online mix as half of its revenues are derived online.

The value of the personal touch is also being recognised among even the most disruptive of businesses. The upstart bank Revolut is tearing up the old banking playbook but even it is now considering giving its customers the ability to call a number and speak to an actual person if they have a problem. The big complaint from its clients was the slow and impersonal way it has dealt with issues.

Such is the move towards focusing on the people perspective that work is being done on creating metrics for rating and valuing human capital. David Fairhurst, chief people officer at McDonald’s, says there needs to be a measure for the quality of the leadership and culture within a business. With the formation in the US of the ‘human capital management coalition’ he reckons the financial community will have developed a rating for businesses based on the quality of its leadership and culture.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail partners with businesses to provide connected technologies based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 so retailers can reach their goals now and in the future. In a size that best fits future plans wherever you need it – Cloud, Hybrid or On-premise. Our solutions drive more than 800 international retail brands from Charles Tyrwhitt and The White Company to Ryman and Sue Ryder, Hobbycraft, Wasabi and Ted Baker, K3 Retail is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and the UK’s leading Microsoft Dynamics retail partner.

The post Valuing people in an automating world appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Retail Insider is delighted to introduce and profile its judging panel for our third ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards. We hope you will agree that we have an outstanding line up ready to cast their eyes over the entries, in fact although we are biased we would argue that there is not an awards in the whole of the UK retail industry with a stronger panel. You need to get your company in front of these people. So here they are:

Paul Clarke, CTO, Ocado

Paul Clarke, CTO, Ocado

Paul has been with Ocado for 13 years and served as its chief technology officer for seven and a half years. He initially worked on warehouse control systems before joining the team designing Ocado’s next highly automated fulfilment centre. Since taking on the role of CTO in early 2012, Paul has focused on growing Ocado Technology to over 1,300 engineers and building an acclaimed technical brand. He has played an instrumental role for the vision behind and the development of the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP). He is a champion for disruptive thinking in areas such as AI, robotics, infrastructure and education.

Clodagh Moriarty, Group Chief Digital Officer, J Sainsbury

Clodagh Moriarty, group chief digital officer, J Sainsbury

Clodagh has been the group chief digital officer at Sainsbury’s since 2018 when the role was created for her. She is in charge of delivering a consistent and first-rate digital experience for customers across Sainsbury’s, Argos, Sainsbury’s Bank and Nectar. She joined Sainsbury’s in 2010 from Bain & Co management consultants and worked for two years as head of strategy. Later she moved into Food Commercial as Category Manager for Meal Solutions and then became head of online trading before being promoted to director of online in 2016.

 

Paul Wilkinson, head of product for space, range and display, Tesco

Paul Wilkinson, head of product for space, range and display, Tesco

Paul was Tesco Labs’ head of technology, research and open innovation for four years. He was previously Tesco’s technology leadership graduate from 2010 to 2012 and IT specialist – research from 2012 to 2014. In 2018 he moved from the post at Tesco Labs, which tests new technology ahead of its roll-out in the retail business, and took up a new role within the commercial team at Tesco as the supermarket’s head of product for space, range and display. Paul has also played a key part in introducing Tesco’s voice shopping offering on Google Home smart speakers and Android phones.

Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount

Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount

Edwina is best known as co-founder of the international data analytics company Dunnhumby, a business she launched from her kitchen table with her husband Clive Humby in 1989. Dunnhumby were the innovators behind the creation of Tesco Clubcard and widely credited with redefining the relationship between retailers and customers worldwide. Edwina is currently CEO of Starcount, a digital start-up that measures the global tastes and trends of 1.7 billion people across 12 of the world’s largest social networks, before applying a progressive view of data science to help brands navigate their social media journey.

Martin Newman, Founder, Customer First Group

Martin Newman, founder, Customer First Group

Martin is a renowned keynote speaker, columnist, author, and expert advisor on customer-centric transformation and consumer experience. His lengthy biography includes 37 years of working in the consumer-facing sector, founding and chairing e-commerce consultancy Practicology, and heading up multi-channel operations for brands such as Burberry, Ted Baker and Harrods. He is also a columnist, author, expert and advisor on customer-centric transformation.

Lawrence Shaw, CEO, Sitemorse

Lawrence Shaw, CEO, Sitemorse

Lawrence founded Sitemorse 27 years ago and has been its CEO for the bulk of that period. Sitemorse aims to replace sporadic and often manual assessment and searching of digital content. His expertise lies in his understanding of how to improve online user experience – while simultaneously increasing agility, improving optimisation and reducing risk.

Craig Smith, digital commerce director, Ted Baker

Craig Smith, digital commerce director, Ted Baker

Craig was brand communication director at Ted Baker for 23 years before moving to his current role of digital commerce director nearly two years ago. As brand director he was responsible for international brand strategy encompassing all marketing, PR, social, CRM, e-commerce, digital and creative functions.

Simon Calver, head of venture investments, BGF Ventures

Simon Calver, head of venture investments, BGF Ventures

Simon has a broad breadth of experience including in 2015 becoming one of the founding partners at BGF Ventures, an early stage £200m early stage investment company focusing on the UK which has completed 24 company investments to date. Prior to that he spent seven years at LoveFilm as CEO where he oversaw the sale to Amazon in 2011 before taking up the role of CEO of Mothercare where he worked from 2012 – 2014. He has also had stints with other multinationals such as PepsiCo and Unilever.

Sarah McVittie, CEO, Dressipi

Sarah McVittie, co-founder, Dressipi

Starting out as an analyst with UBS, in 2010 Sarah co-founded Dressipi, an innovative fashion and online styling service helping customers to find clothes that match their ‘digital fashion fingerprint’.​ It uses technology to challenge the status quo and raise the bar on consumer services. The business combines online tools with the expertise of leading fashion stylists and journalists to ensure customers make smarter shopping decisions.

The post Transforming Retail Awards 2019: The Judges appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Retail Insider is delighted to introduce and profile its judging panel for our third ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards. We hope you will agree that we have an outstanding line up ready to cast their eyes over the entries, in fact although we are biased we would argue that there is not an awards in the whole of the UK retail industry with a stronger panel. You need to get your company in front of these people. So here they are:

Paul Clarke, CTO, Ocado

Paul Clarke, CTO, Ocado

Paul has been with Ocado for 13 years and served as its chief technology officer for seven and a half years. He initially worked on warehouse control systems before joining the team designing Ocado’s next highly automated fulfilment centre. Since taking on the role of CTO in early 2012, Paul has focused on growing Ocado Technology to over 1,300 engineers and building an acclaimed technical brand. He has played an instrumental role for the vision behind and the development of the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP). He is a champion for disruptive thinking in areas such as AI, robotics, infrastructure and education.

Clodagh Moriarty, Group Chief Digital Officer, J Sainsbury

Clodagh Moriarty, group chief digital officer, J Sainsbury

Clodagh has been the group chief digital officer at Sainsbury’s since 2018 when the role was created for her. She is in charge of delivering a consistent and first-rate digital experience for customers across Sainsbury’s, Argos, Sainsbury’s Bank and Nectar. She joined Sainsbury’s in 2010 from Bain & Co management consultants and worked for two years as head of strategy. Later she moved into Food Commercial as Category Manager for Meal Solutions and then became head of online trading before being promoted to director of online in 2016.

 

Paul Wilkinson, head of product for space, range and display, Tesco

Paul Wilkinson, head of product for space, range and display, Tesco

Paul was Tesco Labs’ head of technology, research and open innovation for four years. He was previously Tesco’s technology leadership graduate from 2010 to 2012 and IT specialist – research from 2012 to 2014. In 2018 he moved from the post at Tesco Labs, which tests new technology ahead of its roll-out in the retail business, and took up a new role within the commercial team at Tesco as the supermarket’s head of product for space, range and display. Paul has also played a key part in introducing Tesco’s voice shopping offering on Google Home smart speakers and Android phones.

Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount

Edwina Dunn, CEO, Starcount

Edwina is best known as co-founder of the international data analytics company Dunnhumby, a business she launched from her kitchen table with her husband Clive Humby in 1989. Dunnhumby were the innovators behind the creation of Tesco Clubcard and widely credited with redefining the relationship between retailers and customers worldwide. Edwina is currently CEO of Starcount, a digital start-up that measures the global tastes and trends of 1.7 billion people across 12 of the world’s largest social networks, before applying a progressive view of data science to help brands navigate their social media journey.

Martin Newman, Founder, Customer First Group

Martin Newman, founder, Customer First Group

Martin is a renowned keynote speaker, columnist, author, and expert advisor on customer-centric transformation and consumer experience. His lengthy biography includes 37 years of working in the consumer-facing sector, founding and chairing e-commerce consultancy Practicology, and heading up multi-channel operations for brands such as Burberry, Ted Baker and Harrods. He is also a columnist, author, expert and advisor on customer-centric transformation.

Lawrence Shaw, CEO, Sitemorse

Lawrence Shaw, CEO, Sitemorse

Lawrence founded Sitemorse 27 years ago and has been its CEO for the bulk of that period. Sitemorse aims to replace sporadic and often manual assessment and searching of digital content. His expertise lies in his understanding of how to improve online user experience – while simultaneously increasing agility, improving optimisation and reducing risk.

Craig Smith, digital commerce director, Ted Baker

Craig Smith, digital commerce director, Ted Baker

Craig was brand communication director at Ted Baker for 23 years before moving to his current role of digital commerce director nearly two years ago. As brand director he was responsible for international brand strategy encompassing all marketing, PR, social, CRM, e-commerce, digital and creative functions.

Simon Calver, head of venture investments, BGF Ventures

Simon Calver, head of venture investments, BGF Ventures

Simon has a broad breadth of experience including in 2015 becoming one of the founding partners at BGF Ventures, an early stage £200m early stage investment company focusing on the UK which has completed 24 company investments to date. Prior to that he spent seven years at LoveFilm as CEO where he oversaw the sale to Amazon in 2011 before taking up the role of CEO of Mothercare where he worked from 2012 – 2014. He has also had stints with other multinationals such as PepsiCo and Unilever.

Sarah McVittie, CEO, Dressipi

Sarah McVittie, co-founder, Dressipi

Starting out as an analyst with UBS, in 2010 Sarah co-founded Dressipi, an innovative fashion and online styling service helping customers to find clothes that match their ‘digital fashion fingerprint’.​ It uses technology to challenge the status quo and raise the bar on consumer services. The business combines online tools with the expertise of leading fashion stylists and journalists to ensure customers make smarter shopping decisions.

The post Transforming Retail Awards 2019: The Judges appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Welcome to a monthly column within our broader sustainability section which is going to focus on what fashion is doing to address the issues in its industry.

H&M laying out its sustainability credentials – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box

Fast fashion is a byword for poor sustainable practice – whether it is fuelled by consumers’ insatiable demands or by clothing companies telling people they really need a new OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) every day is probably an unanswerable question. What is clear, however, is that pretty much neither side is valuing clothes as durable goods but choosing to see them as disposable items.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has done research with truly shocking results – from 2000 to 2015 the number of times a garment is worn has decreased by 36% with a large number now worn fewer than 10 times before being disposed. Even worse, and almost incredible, is the fact that global clothing sales doubled in the same time frame from 50 billion units bought every year to 100 billion. Unsustainable in every sense.

Every part of the chain needs to do its part and this column looks at what H&M is doing, arguably more than some of its competitors, to combat the worst excesses and to tell us about it.

Pernilla Haldin, public affairs and engagement lead for climate and circular sustainability at H&M, has outlined the company’s purpose-driven approach as follows “We want to be 100% renewable, 100% fair & equal and 100% leading [on sustainability].  We need this for us to survive and be a successful company.”

On recycling it has been at least making efforts since 2013 when it began offering a garment recycling service. All H&M stores worldwide take part and customers bringing in a bag of clothes for the scheme will receive a £5 voucher to spend in-store. It is the perennial conundrum – to reward the customer for recycling unwanted clothes involves giving them money to buy yet more clothes.

Shoes made from waste pineapple leaves

But potentially more interesting is its use of sustainable materials to make the clothes in the first place. Currently around a quarter of the stock is made in this way with the aim of reaching 100% by 2030. The clothes are sold under the Conscious Exclusive brand line and this year features shoes with soles made of repurposed algae bloom called BLOOMFoam, a leather alternative derived from waste pineapple leaves and a silk type material from discarded orange peel.

It sounds amazing but even this is not a panacea however because turning anything including plant waste into new clothing is energy and resource intensive, difficult to scale and doesn’t touch the main ongoing problem of massive overproduction no matter how eco-friendly. But no-one can say H&M is not being inventive and many items in the range are sold-out, which is encouraging.

Tencel: wood pulp fibre is used to make this jacket

The Fashion Transparency Index monitors how open companies are about their sustainability and production practices. In the 2019 index H&M came fifth overall with a 61% rating with the top performing brand Adidas only three percentage points ahead of it.

And in April 2019 H&M announced it was going to put the provenance of its garments on the website and scannable garment tags for consumers to be able to view. Details such as the country of production, supplier names and even factory names and addresses along with worker numbers will all be viewable.

H&M’s head of sustainability Izak Roth noted: “We want to show the world that this is possible. By being open and transparent about where our clothes are made we hope to set the bar for our industry and encourage customers to make more sustainable choices.”

Over to the consumer now to make sure they use it. The ball is definitely in their court.

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The post Sustainable Fashion: H&M laying out its sustainability credentials appeared first on Retail Insider.

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Rising demand for home delivery is changing the foodservice landscape as consumer appetite for meals brought to them in a matter of minutes continues to grow at an exponential rate. Spending on delivery increased 19% in 2018, according to Cardlytics, compared with a mere 3% for the overall dining market.

There’s no doubt aggregator market places such as Deliveroo, UberEats and Just Eat have brought food brands to a much wider audience by hosting their menus online and, in many cases, providing the delivery infrastructure.

What’s not to like? Well, there’s the fact they charge a hefty commission for their efforts – about 30% of each order – and sever the link between food company and customer, starving the operator of important data.

This troublesome combination means foodservice brands are finding it tough to make a profit on a transaction they feel they have little control over and that isn’t necessarily driving loyalty to their brand. According to CGA, less than one-fifth (19%) of business leaders reckon this disconnected home delivery scenario is having a positive impact on consumers’ brand perception.

To steal the well-worn slogan of the Leave camp, it might be time for the restaurant and foodservice industry to “take back control” of home delivery. This is certainly happening in the US, where Chipotle, Papa John’s and Dig Inn among others are working hard on driving more home delivery transactions via their own apps.

Chipotle: now encouraging customers to order through its own app

They are partnering with specialists such as Olo and ChowNow, which help them develop online and app ordering platforms through which they can tap into third-party delivery providers such as Relay and DoorDash. Orderswift provides a similar service in the UK.

A flat fee is charged by the ordering platform provider and also the delivery company, with the benefits indisputable, according to Orderswift co-founder Matt Gilbert. He says: “Every order that can be funnelled through an in-house service means significantly more profits versus orders from third-party market places.”

Orderswift: One of those leading the UK charge against delivery companies

The total cost per home delivery order could be closer to an average of 15% for a restaurant that uses its own ordering platforms and the services of specialist delivery companies in the UK such as Stuart versus the typical 30% charged by the market places.

The reality for many food firms is they will find it tough to wean themselves off the delivery companies. However, there’s evidence from Luke’s Lobster in the US that shows offering better menu pricing, exclusive offers and promotions, and menus optimised for delivery (which arrive at customers’ homes in prime condition) can provide an opportunity to migrate some people from market places and on to the restaurant’s own app or website when placing their order.

Foodservice companies taking back control in this way might become increasingly important because it’s clear the big move by Deliveroo and UberEats is to develop their own virtual brands with food produced in purpose-built dark kitchens. Many of these in-house brands have been created to satisfy demand for a particular cuisine in a specific geographic area.

The growth of these brands could lead to a Google Ads-type scenario in which restaurants are fighting (paying) for a high position in search results against in-house brands when customers type “Thai food in London N8”, for example.

This paints the picture of a potentially harsh environment and suggests an increasingly fractious relationship between market places and the restaurants and foodservice companies. Perhaps it’s time for them to consider how they handle the food delivery phenomenon and assess their relationships with the delivery companies.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

This piece was originally published on Propel Info where Glynn Davis writes a regular Friday opinion piece. Retail Insider would like to thank Propel for allowing the reproduction of this column.

The post Time to take back control of delivery appeared first on Retail Insider.

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