Overseas expansion roundtable [Drapers]

Quantum Retail talks with leading fashion retailers

Passport to profits: Drapers and Quantum Retail invited retailers to hear about M&S’s international plans.

There is little doubt that international expansion is at the top of the retail agenda. With a flat market at home, overseas territories and developing economies, where consumers are enjoying increased spending power, are an attractive prospect for UK fashion retailers and brands.

However, due to changing shopping habits fashion businesses already have to adapt their practices for multichannel retail at home, so entering the international arena brings added complexities and fresh demands.

With this in mind Drapers, in association with retail software supplier Quantum Retail, brought together leading fashion retailers from Arcadia, Ted Baker and Dune Group over a dinner on June 26, at Fortnum & Mason in London, to listen to a presentation by Marks & Spencer’s then international director Jan Heere.

Heere, who was one of chief executive Marc Bolland’s first big hires and was formerly managing director of Spanish fashion group Inditex for five years, has since stepped down from his post at M&S, but spoke to the attendees about how he built the company’s international business in the three years since taking on the role in 2011. Heere is now said to be contemplating a job in Europe.

With 455 stores across 54 territories, M&S has grown its retail space by 41% under Heere and has built a formidable global business. Having famously exited the international arena in 2001, the company had its work cut out, said Heere. “When Marc Bolland joined in 2010 he said we want to become an international multichannel retailer. And we obviously have to catch up with what a lot of our competitors have been doing much earlier and much faster. Zara, for instance, decided to go global in 1988.”

He said the first step was establishing an international team with varied retail experience in and across different international markets, with the ability to speak the languages necessary to operate.

“We also wanted to focus our strategy in the first three years in the northeast quadrant of the world because we felt that going into the southern hemisphere or the Americas would create too much complexity. Within that area we focused on India, China, Russia, the Middle East, and to a certain extent western Europe as well,” he explained.

However, expanding overseas isn’t just about bricks and mortar. Just as the UK consumer is now a multichannel shopper, so are those in other international markets. Joe McManus, vice president of sales at Quantum Retail, which counts New Look, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s among its customers, said: “Today’s retailers are having to find new ways to address challenges when expanding internationally. These include understanding and balancing the needs of new customers with the retailer’s ability to place inventory where it will deliver the highest value across their organisation. Successful retailers are achieving this with advanced allocation and replenishment and expanded omnichannel exposure.”

For M&S – which operates 10 international websites mainly in Europe under a .eu address that then localises to the given country – assessing the multichannel potential of a market is of utmost importance. “When we evaluate every country we look at the potential of the stores and of the website, and we rank all of the markets around the world depending on the potential in the different channels. That is how we have created our priority list and have decided where we will start investing first.”

With its vast and increasingly wealthy population, China is a top priority for many fashion retailers. M&S has 14 stores there and this year launched online on Tmall, essentially an online shopping centre and China’s largest etail platform with 500 million users. “It was important for us to start learning how to trade on a website in China and that is why we wanted to go onto Tmall,” said Heere. “We have learned you have to be on Tmall – that is the place to trade. We have taken the lessons from this launch, seen our traffic grow and believe that will be the way to develop online there.”

One of the key decisions to make when entering a new market is how to do it, both online and on the ground. The choices include directly operated, via a joint venture partnership, wholesale or through a franchise agreement. The latter has been implemented successfully by the likes of Debenhams, Mothercare and M&S.

M&S has a target of opening 250 international stores in the next three years, and Heere said he expects 60% of growth to come from the franchise part of the business. However, he told attendees M&S will still directly operate some markets. “We believe it is important that if we want to be a good franchiser then we know how to operate an international business. So places such as France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium are direct ownership, but the growth will definitely come from franchise.”

The benefit of a franchise approach is it is less capital intensive, and the retailer benefits from a partner that understands local customs and consumers, and can navigate local bureaucracy. Conversely, when Heere directly operated the Russian market for Inditex, the national head office housed 80 accountants to service the country, more than at its main global headquarters in Spain. “That is a pressure we had as a business to have the right resource in place, which was heavy maintenance but very commercially rewarding.”

He also recommended close working practices with franchise partners, citing M&S’s strategy in Russia. “Today we see Russia with a lot of pressure because of the depreciation of the rouble and the situation in Ukraine, and obviously we have to work very closely with our partner to keep the growth going, to keep their margins sustainable. Otherwise they might lose interest in the brand.

“We now treat that market as our own market so we manage those franchise stores as if they were our own stores.” Of course, the challenge comes when retailers are faced with, and bound into, long-standing agreements. There are also operational hurdles in terms of logistics and managing product life cycles.

The key is overcoming the complexities in their system to best leverage their inventory investment and garner the highest returns. “Retailers need to make sure they have the right systems in place to accurately predict demand so that products are located where they will meet the retailer’s business objectives and generate the highest possible returns,” said McManus.

New Look head of commercial Steve Challes agreed UK businesses have a lot of work to do to ready themselves for international growth: “The biggest challenges are actually understanding customer tastes and expectations coupled with details such as size ratios – every market is quite simply different. Support areas such as logistics, finance, IT and HR then need to pragmatically deliver. Thorough research is key and we’re steadily building an experienced team within New Look and some key trusted third-party partners.”

Debenhams trading director Adam Rose asked whether it is important to vary clothes sizing by market. Heere explained that at Inditex the strategy was trends are the same everywhere, and although there were some particularities by market, flexibility is the most important factor.

For Challes, international expansion will remain a key fashion retailer story over the coming years.

“Good fashion retailers will always seek to grow internationally both via online and where possible with stores – it’s a natural ambition. Being able to say we’re from the UK with the inherent fashion credibility is a strong selling point, although we need to tailor that to local markets. Global operators such as Inditex and H&M are huge and successful and have shown what can be achieved over time – they have set a very high benchmark for others.”

The overriding message from the evening was that retailers need to fully assess the multichannel opportunities presented by the different markets, and ensure the teams and systems are in place internally before pushing the button to make it happen.

Quantum Retail on M&S expansion plans

Retail Technology News: July 16 – 22, 2014

Which digital technologies provide the greatest near-term impact for retailers, why June’s “disappointing” retail sales figures actually point to an improving economy, how the Internet has affected brick-and-mortar store design, what assumptions about baby boomers and mobile commerce may be off target, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Augmented reality has impacts now in retail

                Image credit: Retail Dive

It’s all an illusion: How augmented reality is
changing the future of retail
(Retail Dive)

Change is hard, especially when retailers are forced to ask their customers to change habits to adapt.
But augmented reality—the technology that allows users to cast digital images on screens depicting
real-time situations—has very big implications of change for the better. Here are some ways retailers can use this technology to drive sales, both in
stores and out.

Retail apps with store mode drive up to 5x more interactions (Mobile Commerce Daily)

The demand for more mobile inside stores is being driven by both consumers and retailers. The use of mobile applications for in-store shopping purposes nearly doubled in the past year, and shoppers who use apps featuring in-store mode display a four to five times increase in interactions compared to users of apps without indoor location.

Why June’s ‘Disappointing’ Retail Sales Were Good News for the Economy (FiveThirtyEight)

What matters here isn’t the month-to-month moves, but the bigger picture. The economy hit a major roadblock in the first three months of the year. Since then, economists have been trying to figure out whether the slowdown was a blip or a reflection of a deeper problem. The most recent figures point strongly toward blip.

U.S. retail sales, manufacturing data point at firming economy (Reuters)

Echoing the story above, a gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose solidly in June, in the latest indication that the economy ended the second quarter on a stronger footing. Core sales, which strip out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, increased 0.6 percent last month after rising an upwardly revised 0.2 percent in May.

The Evolution of the Internet and Its Impact on Retail Spaces (Wired)

Omni-channel retailing has converged the online and offline shopping experiences. In this approach, prices are consistent in all formats, and consumers can choose between numerous options: shopping online with home delivery, shopping online and picking up at a store, shopping at a store and taking merchandise away, or shopping at a store and having it delivered to their home.

How Old-Fashioned Are Baby Boomer Shoppers? (eMarketer)

When a marketer ignores aging baby boomers, this typically reflects an assumption that boomers have made their choices as purchasers and will stick with them to the grave. In fact, though, many boomers have introduced a digital element into their shopping process, and prepurchase research online is now common among boomers.

Digital Top Priority For 54% Of Consumer Goods Firms (European Supermarket Magazine)

More than any previous year, the focus of executive attention has shifted from economic uncertainty to data, technology and the supply chain. As the consumer demand for digital experiences and ecommerce grows, retailers and manufacturers are looking at how they can meet these needs and operate in this new era of disruptive technology.

CHART: A Lot Of People Who Buy On A Smartphone First Browse On A Tablet Or PC (Business Insider)

Smartphones account for a greater share of mobile commerce purchases than tablets. However, as we know, the path to purchase begins long before someone clicks “buy.” And, as it turns out, 41% of e-commerce purchases made on a smartphone began with a shopping session that occurred on either a PC or tablet. In contrast, for purchases made on a PC, nearly all — 95% — originated on that device.

Further Reading:

A Guide to Creating a SKU Rationalization Strategy that Works (white paper)

SKU rationalization may be a popular buzzword, but it is not something to be taken lightly. This guide will delve into examples of strategies that have worked, and some that haven’t. With a proper strategy, this process can be both beneficial for you as well as your customers.

Retail Technology News: July 9 – 15, 2014

If there is one word for this week’s top retail technology news, it is “mobile.” How consumers are using mobile devices across the shopping journey, why mobile is the top area for technology investment in e-commerce, what brick-and-mortar stores can do with mobile technology to battle online sales, which age groups are the most active users of shopping apps, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Shoppers use mobile technology across the purchase journey

                    Image credit: Retail TouchPoints

65% Of Shoppers Visit Stores After Viewing Mobile Ads (Retail TouchPoints)

Shoppers are using their mobile devices more frequently to browse and buy. As a result, mobile advertising is motivating consumers to take action throughout the shopping journey. In fact, 65% of mobile consumers say relevant mobile ads would inspire them to visit the store.

Survey: Mobile is top e-commerce technology investment (Chain Store Age)

Mobile is the most popular technology for e-commerce retailers to significantly invest in, according to the 14th Annual Merchant Survey from The E-Tailing Group. 42% of respondents have made significant investments in mobile optimization; omnichannel integration was the second-most-popular ares for investment at 30%.

Beacons Will Be A Critical Way In-Store Retailers Combat The E-Commerce Threat (Business Insider)

Even though physical store locations still account for most retail sales in the U.S., the online channel is driving the majority of growth, and influencing sales across channels. But beacon technology offers bricks-and-mortar stores an opportunity to fight back.

Mobile Ecommerce: Now a $40 Billion Market (MediaPost)

Mobile ecommerce is now more than a $40 billion market, double from the previous year, and on track to hit $50 billion by year end. The trend is clear: more than a third (37%) of online store visits came from mobile. Back in 2010, it was 3%.

What social customer service is really worth: stats (Econsultancy)

Providing customer service on Twitter and other social channels is not only becoming a necessary part of a brand’s social media presence but also one forced upon it by consumers. There are many brands out there totally nailing social customer service. However, if you need extra persuasion that bringing customer service to you social strategy is the right thing to do, here’s a collection of stats and infographics to give you that final push.

90pc identify smartphone as easiest-to-use in-store shopping device (Mobile Commerce Daily)

Mobile devices are used in several ways along the path to purchase – a process than is no longer as linear as it used to be because mobile devices facilitate discovery and planning on-the-go. When marketers are able to deliver localized, personalized, and relevant content to mobile shoppers, they will untangle and enhance the path to brick-and-mortar.

Mobile/in-store shopping getting intertwined (RetailWire)

41 percent of consumers now actively use mobile apps while shopping, nearly double the 21 percent that did so in a similar survey last year. Overall, most consumers of all ages indicate that they have two to four shopping apps installed, proving mobile isn’t just for Millennials.

Further Reading:

4 Strategies to Optimize Assortment Planning (white paper)

Assortment planning is one of the first areas retailers should assess in order to increase profit and margin. This free guide takes you through the top four strategies to optimize assortment planning: SKU rationalization, clustering, forecasting and financial plans.

Retail Technology News: July 2 – 8, 2014

Why retailers need to invest in advanced mobile capabilities, what stores are doing to gain real-time insights into consumer brand perceptions, how New Look supports rapid growth and keeps customers happy, where the science of shopping is headed, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Survey: 41% of consumers actively using mobile apps while shopping (Chain Store Age)

The use of mobile applications for shopping purposes doubled in the past year, according to a recent CFI Group survey. And almost half of all respondents say they would favor a store with advanced mobile capabilities – which would encourage them to shop with the retailer more, buy more per visit and even pay slightly more.

Retail Social Media: Top 10 Facts To Know (NCR Retail Blog)

Retailers using in-store social media

Image credit: NCR Retail

52% of retailers report they now use social media to gain a more accurate understanding of how consumers perceive their brand. 36% of U.S. consumers say that they consulted social media on
a significant portion (30% or more) of their 2013 holiday purchases. How social is your store?

New Look Makes Fast Fashion Even Faster (Apparel Magazine)

Starting from a single store in 1969, the British firm New Look has become a $2.5 billion retail powerhouse. New Look prides itself on responding instantly to fashion trends, boasting a typical 10-week turnaround from design to shop floor — an achievement made possible by a global supply chain and a deep understanding of what its customers are looking for. Discover their secret to boosting profitability.

The science of shopping: digital innovations shaping the future of retail (The Guardian)

Stroll the boutiques of Milan without leaving home, lay a bet by voice, try on a dozen frocks without taking your coat off… Technology will soon make all these possible. A group of retail entrepreneurs are brainstorming about how their industry will look in 30 years’ time.

Moody’s: Physical stores key to retailers’ online growth strategy (Chain Store Age)

A physical store presence is key to most retailers for their online growth strategy, according to a new report. Online Presence is a longer-term credit-positive for U.S. retail. A viable online channel is becoming more critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to maintain and strengthen their competitive positions.

Five Key Components to Omnichannel Retail (Epsilon Blog)

The explosion of digital channels has created unprecedented complexity. And the virtual and physical worlds are continually converging in conjunction with technological advances. So how can retail marketers motivate consumers? Today, retail marketing strategies must include five core components to succeed.

Click and Collect Connects with UK Commuters (eMarketer)

Click and collect has been rising in popularity in the UK for some time. The success of click and collect has been such that something of an arms race has begun among retailers—the aim being to take the service closer to the customer, making pickup even easier and more convenient.

Further Reading:

Maximizing performance in the fast-moving world of fashion retail (white paper)

Download this free white paper to learn strategies to help retailers maximize performance in fast fashion. Learn best-practice strategies to unlock your competitive advantage.

New Look Makes Fast Fashion Even Faster [Apparel Magazine]

New Look relies on Quantum Retail’s Q platform for allocation and replenishmentStarting from a single store in 1969, the British firm New Look has become a $2.5 billion retail powerhouse specializing in
fast fashion. With nearly 600 stores in the UK (about half its total store count), the company is the No. 1 value retailer for under-35 women’s clothing and accessories in that country
and holds leading positions in other categories. It operates internationally in 23 countries and is expanding rapidly into China, Poland, Russia and Germany.

In terms of getting the right merchandise to the right stores at the right time, New Look is leading the trend. For seven years, the company has used Quantum Retail’s Q platform for allocation and replenishment, and over that period it has continued to find new ways to use Q to boost its profits.

Read the full article here.

Retail Technology News: June 25 – July 1, 2014

How retailers can better connect the consumer experience across physical and digital channels, why tablets are playing a bigger role in shopping and dining, what impact Google’s smartwatches could have on retail sales, upbeat news from the U.K., and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Repaving the customer journey: preparing for the future of multichannel (Econsultancy)

Modern businesses are facing the challenge of creating cohesive, relevant user experiences that connect the dots between the growing gamut of channels and devices. Here are three ways that your business can more effectively navigate this multichannel landscape and serve up meaningful user experiences that support evolving customer expectations.

Tablets are optimizing shopping and dining experiences

Image credit: PSFK Labs

How Tablets are Optimizing the Retail Experience (PSFK Labs)

Tablets are playing a bigger role both in online shopping and inside restaurants and retail stores, helping retailers to provide better customer services and dial up shopper delight with new experiences,
all while helping their business hit the bottom line.

91% retailers with analysis capability expect benefits from tech investment (Real Business)

According to recent research from Qmatic, 91 per cent of the retailers with the ability to track customers within their stores, analyse this data and share their findings with colleagues, but “Retailers who haven’t yet mastered the ability to properly analyse the valuable data that they are collecting are missing a significant trick.”

How Google’s smartwatches will boost retail sales (FierceRetailIT)

With the speed of Google’s smartwatch technology, consumers could quickly and easily order products from their favorite online retailers, as well as local stores and restaurants. For example, a Google engineer demonstrated an app that let him swipe to the pizza restaurant he wanted to order from, then swipe to decide what he wants to order, and then tap to pay. He ordered a pizza in about 20 seconds.

UK consumer confidence reaches highest level since 2005 (The Retail Bulletin)

UK consumer confidence in June has risen to its highest level in nine years, according to figured just released. The change is viewed as psychologically important in that the index moved into positive territory for the first time since March 2005.

44% of British shoppers now use mobile to browse a retailer’s website (Internet Retailing)

29% of shoppers would rather visit a physical store than make a purchase via their mobile, a tacit endorsement of a retail strategy that blends “bricks” with “clicks.” With 7 in 10 (72%) of people in the UK owning a smartphone, there is huge scope for retailers to reach out even further.

Further Reading:

Effectively managing the evolving retail eco-system (white paper)

This white paper will give retailers strategies of how to better understand their customers and deliver the right products to the right channel at the right time and at the right price.

Retail Technology News: June 18 – 24, 2014

What’s in store (pardon the pun) for the future of retail, how social media impacts online shopping behavior, where consumers are reading an increasing share of marketing emails, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

iBeacons Usher In The Contextual Shopping Era (TechCrunch)

If the writing was not on the wall already that the use of proximity-aware beacons was the future of retail, now we have some data to back it up. According to a recent study, the use of beacons in retail stores caused a 19x increase in interactions with advertised products, a 16.5x increase in app usage in-store and a 6.4x increase in the likelihood that a shopper kept an app that sent them a beacon message on their phones. If those improvements could be tacked onto existing mobile efforts, marketers have a huge opportunity here.

How Locationing & the Internet of Things Will Reshape Retail (Chain Store Age)

Four stories on the Future of ShoppingThe combination of the Internet of Things and locationing technology (tracking shoppers who opt in
to a store’s Wi-Fi network for connectivity and use a Bluetooth smart-triggered mobile app) is expected to have a significant impact on brick-and-mortar stores, creating a personalized environment for shoppers.

Recent research suggests this combination of technologies will increase in-store sales: 45% of shoppers reported they would buy at least 50% more merchandise from retailers that provided better customer service, such as immediately offering to locate items not currently in stock and arranging free shipping to their homes.

What other developments does the future hold for retailers? The Boston Globe predicts increased use of holograms in dressing rooms, on-demand coupons, and 3D printing, while the Huffington Post suggests (tongue in cheek) that shopping may eventually become a thing of the past, as our Internet-connected refrigerators, freezers, and pantries become enabled with the intelligence to restock themselves.

Online Shopping Behavior: Data from Smart Phones and Social Media (Social Media Today)

According to recent studies, up to 64% of people who own smartphones use their phones to shop online, with social media playing a powerful role. Facebook has an integrated shop function that users can look at when they’re at the Facebook page of the brand they like. And 51% of Pinterest users admit to checking for coupons and deals like voucher codes, free shipping and freebies that come with their orders.

Almost Half Of All Retail Marketing Emails Opened On Mobile Devices (Integrated Solutions for Retailers)

Formatting emails for small screens is now essential. A study by mobile marketing firm Knotice found that 49% of retail marketing emails were opened on mobile devices in the second half of 2013, up from 43% during the first half of the year.

The long and short of America’s consumer holidays (National Retail Foundation)

It’s hardly news to anyone in retail that consumer spending over the winter holidays (Christmas, Kwanza and Hanukah) dwarfs any other time of year—but do you know what annual event accounts for the second-highest spending period? Or where Father’s Day ranks for retail sales? Or which two holidays each account for about twice as much retail sales revenue as the Super Bowl?

Further Reading:

A Guide to Creating a SKU Rationalization Strategy that Works (free guide)

SKU rationalization may be a popular buzzword, but it is not something to be taken lightly. This guide will delve into examples of strategies that have worked, and some that haven’t. With a proper strategy, this process can be both beneficial for you as well as your customers.


Retail Technology News: June 11 – 17, 2014

How shopping is being transformed by technology (and what retailers need to do to adapt), which omni-channel capabilities consumers expect from retailers, why connected consumers are coming back to brick-and-mortar stores, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

The Evolution of Retail: What Brands Need to Know [Infographic] (SteamFeed)

The evolution of retailThe evolution of retail is developing as quickly as the technologies and the media driving the change. It’s
vital for retail brands to embrace new trends to avoid being left behind. Here are five trends that are transforming the retail industry, and three quick fix digital media solutions to help retailers cover the basics.

15 Stats to Explain Why Omni-Channel is More Than Just a Buzzword (Business 2 Community)

Forrester Research recently completed a study to identify the challenges and obstacles that middle-
and large-market multi-channel retailers face when deploying a successful omni-channel commerce strategy. Among the findings:

  • 25% of consumers say they use store pickup so they can collect their orders on the day they purchase them (thus avoiding the wait for shipping).
  • 50% of consumers expect to buy online and pick up in-store.
  • 69% expect store associates to carry mobile devices — in order to perform simple and immediate tasks such as looking up product information and checking inventory.

Read the full article here.

Five Key Components to Omnichannel Retail (Epsilon Blog)

Consumers have taken control over how they engage with retailers. To connect with today’s mobile, highly-informed consumers, retail marketing strategies must include five core components.

Looking Beyond Engagement, Retailers Embrace Social Media As A Selling Tool (Retail TouchPoints)

Retailers have embraced social media to get their brands in front of target consumers. Social networks are now playing a role in several stages of the buying cycle. However, a new trend is emerging.

Why ‘Webrooming’ Could Bring Customers Back Into Stores (Fox Business)

New research shows consumers are increasingly heading to local stores to purchase items that they’ve researched online. Despite the relative prevalence of showrooming, webrooming (browsing for items in a store and purchasing them online later) has actually become the new norm; “88 percent of shoppers regularly webroom while only 76 percent showroom,” according to RetailWire.

(UK) Retailers bask in first quarter of growth since 2010 (My Retail Media)

High street stores saw a rise in sales in the past three months for the first time since 2010, according to the latest figures from BDO. The firm’s high street sales tracker found like-for-like sales were up 1.1 per cent in May, and not only is growth coming from all sectors, it’s coming from the majority of retailers.

Further Reading:

4 Strategies to Optimize Assortment Planning (white paper)

Assortment planning is one of the first areas retailers should assess in order to increase profit and margin. This guide details the top four strategies to optimize assortment planning.


Retail Technology News: June 4 – 10, 2014

How (and where) to reach “transumers,’ which mobile technologies will actually help brick-and-mortar stores, why retail sales increased in May, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Retailers Seek To Capture Dollars Of Consumers On The Go With Shoppable Windows, Storefronts (Forbes)

ebay-sony-storefrontWith the rise of mobile commerce, retailers are testing ways to capture the dollars of shoppers on the go, or, “transumers.” As more shoppers are commuting vs. driving to work, there’s a big opportunity for retailers to grab “the consumer interest in those in-between places,” like subway stations.

Why the future of retail is exciting, not gloomy (Retail Customer Experience)

As consumers have become increasingly reliant on mobile devices and embraced online shopping, the future of brick and mortar retailers once seemed bleak. But new advancements in mobile technology point to
a new retail future that will bridge the divide between online and physical storefronts, giving customers the best of what both worlds have to offer.

9 Ways Retail Will Radically Change In The Near Future (Business Insider)

In another take on the complimentary evolution of mobile technology and physical stores, Business Insider reports on how the lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurring, and how the ease, convenience and excitement previously reserved for online shopping will soon be pillars of tomorrow’s shops.

Weather, discounts boost May retail sales (MarketWatch)

Retailer sales continued to improve in May as warmer weather and a surge of promotions helped to boost traffic. Overall, seven retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters reported a 4.4% increase in May sales. Total retail sales also rose by 2% in the UK.

Is this the connected fitting room of the future? (The Telegraph)

Trying on clothes in a store fitting room is often the worst part of shopping. But that could all change with a new fitting room solution created by Avanade and Accenture, in collaboration with Microsoft.

Further Reading:

Adapting to the New Retail Marketplace (NEW white paper)

Evolving consumer path to purchase patterns are creating a new set of challenges for retailers that their existing infrastructure may not support. This white paper examines options for addressing those challenges and details methods used by innovative retailers to leverage these opportunities.

Retail Technology News: May 28 – June 3, 2014

How the role of mobile commerce is evolving, where retailers need to focus their online customer service efforts, what four out of five affluent consumers prefer to do online, where New Look is looking for new growth opportunities, and more—welcome to this week’s edition of Retail Technology News, a weekly wrap-up from Quantum Retail of some of the top stories in the retail industry. Here’s what was news last week:

Over a third of online retail sales now via smartphones and tablets (The Retail Bulletin)

Mobile devices now account for a third of online salesOver a third of all online retail sales are now made on
a mobile device according to new research. This compares with just 1% m-retail penetration during
2010 and represents growth of 3,400% over the past four years.

Physical assets underpin mobile’s next phase of in-store growth (Mobile Commerce Daily)

With the bulk of discussion about mobile commerce now moving towards how the medium can influence in-store sales, physical assets including kiosks and signage will play a key role in how brands and retailers weave mobile into every step of the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

Caring For Customers In A Noisy Social World (Retail TouchPoints)

More than 1.2 billion people worldwide use Facebook and more than 500 million tweets are sent every day. As consumers continue to gravitate to social networks, it is imperative that brands and retailers are present and accessible on these sites, and use social networks to improve customer service.

80pc of affluent consumers prefer to research online: report (Mobile Commerce Daily)

Forty-seven percent of consumers also prefer to make purchases online, according to a report from the Shullman Research Center. The report also calls attention to the retailers where affluent consumers across generations like to shop.

New Look eyes more UK space and accelerates overseas expansion (Retail Week)

New Look boss Anders Kristiansen is looking to add to its UK store estate as he eyes entry into Russia and Germany. “I see the opportunity for us to take more space in the UK in cities where we’re underrepresented,” he said.

New Look underlying profits rise as it looks to offload French business Mim (Retail Week)

New Look operating profit rose 11.3% to £128.5m as it revealed it is exploring strategic options for its loss-making French business Mim. Despite the potential offloading of Mim, New Look powered ahead with international expansion during the year. It launched in China in the year, and also bought back its Polish franchise and 10 stores as it prepares to grow the estate.

Further Reading:

Maximizing performance in the fast-moving world of fashion retail (white paper)

Download this free white paper to learn strategies to help retailers maximize performance in fast fashion. Learn best-practice strategies to unlock your competitive advantage.