Archive for July, 2010

Wales debates alcohol warnings at point of sale displays in petrol stations

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Point of sale displays with drink-drive warnings should be placed at petrol stations and garages that sell alcohol, says Welsh charity Alcohol Concern Cymru.

The charity has released a briefing paper hoping to “stimulate wider public debate” about alcohol sales at roadside retailers. The charity has questioned whether alcohol products belong at all on shop shelving in petrol stations and garages, as though such sales are banned at motorway service stations they are commonly available at petrol stations and garages.

“Petrol stations, by their very nature, are strongly associated with driving and attract significant trade from motorists,” the charity’s policy manager Andrew Misell told BBC News.

“Of course, motorists have many opportunities to purchase alcohol from premises other than petrol stations such as off licenses and supermarkets, but we need to think carefully about whether making alcohol available at petrol stations is in the best interest of all road users.”

According to a snapshot survey of petrol stations in eight Welsh counties this May, some 33% sell alcohol. The charity says that it recognises that an outright ban, such as was recently introduced in France, would present difficulties but it hopes that alternative measures such as cautionary shop signs will be considered for implementation.

“Drink driving is still one of the major causes of death on our roads,” said Clive Wolfendale, former deputy chief constable of North Wales Police and the chief executive of drugs and alcohol charity CAIS. “We should avoid placing before motorists even the temptation to consume alcohol behind the wheel.”

Currys and PC World to host Phones 4u shop-in-shops

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

DSG International, the company behind specialist electrical retailers such as Currys, Dixons and PC World have brokered a deal with mobile phone company Phones 4u.

The deal means that around 50 Currys stores could house Phones 4u retail display units, after a series of successful trials in the company’s flagship Hedge End, Thurrock and Birmingham superstores. The agreement could also see computing store PC World becoming a destination for additional Phones 4u shop-in-shops.

With US firm Best Buy arriving on our shores, hand in hand with mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, it seems this move from DSG is a bid to rival its closest competition. According to Reuters, Best Buy plans to open 8-10 stores in the UK by Spring 2011 to further challenge home-grown retailers.

Chief executive at DSG, John Browlett, was cited in Moo!News as saying that the partnership with Phones 4u has received positive feedback from consumers, ”offering unbeatable service, choice and value” with the collaboration creating even more of a draw.

Meanwhile smaller, more independent electrical retailers are being forced to up the game, using promotional activities such as innovative shop signs and point of sale equipment to encourage consumers to stay local. Nevertheless, industry experts believe that competition will create more choice and better deals.

Apple files patent that could combine iPhone and retail display for unprecedented visual merchandising

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

A recent patent application filed by Apple could combine consumer smartphone technology with retail shelving to create a unique and original consumer experience and unprecedented opportunity for visual merchandising, albeit through a secondary device.

The Register reports that the company has filed a patent application for a technology suite that would provide iPhone users with a range of real-time information at the point of sale – product information, special offers, sales opportunities, related in-store services and possibly more.

In the application Apple describes a system that would use two different methods for obtaining information on products or offered services.

The first proposes that upcoming iPhones or Apple media devices could include near-field communication technology, which would allow to them to read data from an RFID tag attached to retail shelving, shop displays or products themselves. The second involves a matrix bar code on display units or retail shop fittings that could be read by the smartphone camera and decoded by an application on the device.

Described as “unusually comprehensive” by The Register, the patent filing is 83 pages long and includes several suggestions on what “benefits associated with a product or service” the technology could help bring to customers and retailers.

In addition to displaying product information (for example for electronic devices where most information is found in the manual post-sale), the technology could add visual merchandising elements with the addition of digital content such as videos via the the iPhone, or offer information or discounts on items related to the product or service in question. Several examples are given in the filing, including the ability to walk down a supermarket aisle and see recipes related to items on the shop shelving, or reviews of products such as games, movies or novels.

In Apple’s own words though, “it should be understood that the benefits described…are intended to be exemplary and not exclusive.”

Food chains drop calorie counts from point of sale displays

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

A proposal by the Food Standards Agency to display nutritional information in restaurants and fast food chains has been dropped by retailers.

As reported by The Daily Mail, many of the country’s largest food chains had calorie counts on point of sale displays but have since decided not to extend the trials and have removed them.

This means that now only 3% of the 6,000 major fast food and sandwich shops in the country display calorie counts next to their products. Many retailers provide the information in store, and a few offer an in-store leaflet upon request.

The FSA says that only five companies are committed to displaying the nutritional information on point of sale displays in the long-term.

The Independent discovered that the plans were “quietly sunk” earlier this week.

This is a worry for public health because many people are unaware of how quickly the calories can stack up when eating out. According to The Independent, one Pizza Hut pizza can exceed the daily allowance of calories for men, at over 2,600 calories. A large milkshake from Burger King, or some carrot cake from Starbucks, both exceed a quarter of a woman’s recommended daily intake of calories which stands at 2,000.

“It’s deeply disappointing,” said Jacky Schneider, a spokeswoman for Sustain – a food and farming group. “Providing a calorie count is a simple way to pass on information to people to make decisions. With Andrew Lansley’s comments about people taking personal responsibility, it’s imperative that companies give calorie information.”


Deli renamed after trademark issues

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

A deli owner forced to change the name of his shop, after a TV chef with the same surname registered it as a trademark, has finally revealed the new name.

Matthew Coxon originally named his delicatessen in Saltaire, near Bradford ‘Coxon’s Kitchen,’ but 18 months ago TV chef Alan Coxon, wrote to Matthew asking him to come up with a new name as he had registered ‘Coxon’s’ as a trademark.

Mr Coxon said locals flooded him with ideas for the new name after local newspaper The Bradford Telegraph and Argus, first reported his story in June. He revealed that even a former resident of Bradford that was now living in Scotland, contacted him with a suggestion.

He told the local paper: “We’ve got all sorts of ideas from customers. Somebody suggested Cheese and Chives, people have suggested names like Matt’s Kitchen.

“I even got a guy ringing up from Scotland who used to live in Bradford. People have been very supportive,” he said.

The shop has now been renamed ‘Cheese and Chutney of Saltaire. The chutney specialist shop provides customers with around 100 different types of cheese and chutney which they can buy. The new shop signs have now been mounted and Cheese and Chutney of Saltaire, will have its official opening at the end of the month.

The event will include wine tasting chilli jam tasting and customers will be able to take advantage of a special 10 per cent discount off all chutneys and cheese.

“We think the name really screams out what we are all about. We’ve been here 20 months and people come in and say they didn’t know we were here. And I still answer the phone as ‘Coxon’s Kitchens’ sometimes!” Mr Coxon added.

Tobacco companies ramp up point of sale marketing at music festivals

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Tobacco companies are increasingly using point of sale marketing to promote their brands at the UK’s major music festivals, reports The Guardian.

In a strategy deemed by health experts as a means of getting around bans on cigarette advertising, major tobacco product companies are ramping up their use of point of sale activity at music festivals around the UK. According to a survey by Ash, such events have become a key target for the tobacco industry.

Music festivals give tobacco companies a key chance to take their visual merchandising to levels unseen in normal retail environments. The special events give brands much greater freedom in their tactics for promoting their brands to the festival-going demographics. It allows them to use methods that would be impossible in a high street setting, for example the use of eye-catching shop display stands such as Marlboro’s illuminated black-and-red kiosks, seen at this years Latitude festival, or limited/special edition packaging and promotions such as JTI brand’s ”festival packages” which included a lighter and glow sticks as well as two packs of cigarettes. 

The use of eye-catching or visually distinctive display units was popular among tobacco companies marketing strategies. For years Rizla has been selling tobacco at festivals at customised camper vans, whilst at the Wakestock Festival JTI sold products through stylish porthole displays erected on a split-level stand.

Although health groups such as Ash have criticised these strategies, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco – sponsor of the Lovebox festival in Victoria Park – said that it was “all part of creating brand awareness and it’s entirely legitimate.”

Council throws Christmas party in July

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Christmas will be celebrated early in one English town, as the council is throwing a Christmas party in July.

For three days at the end of month, Rotherham town centre will be given the Christmas feel complete with artificial snow, decorations, fairy lights and festive themed shop displays.

A hotel will be offering customers turkey dinners and Christmas pudding, whilst shop windows will dressed with the kind of retail display usually found in December. Even bar staff are expected to get into the festive spirit by wearing Christmas themed outfits at work.

The eye catching event was launched in a bid to boost trade in the town centre, but some locals have condemned the Christmas party calling it ’crazy’. The event, promotes July 30 as Christmas Eve and July 31 as New Year’s eve.

Lee Mills, a bar manager and chairman of Rotherham Licence Watch, came up with the idea. He argues the celebrations will bring much needed fun at a time of stress caused by financial pressure.

“The idea is to do something novel and create a spectacle to bolster trade for the night time economy and show visitors what we can offer when we all work together,” he was cited as saying in The Daily Mail.

Rotherham Council plans to spend £4,000 on the illuminations and £1,000 on advertising the Christmas party.

“As with most town centre economies, Rotherham is struggling. People might say why aren’t you spending the money on potholes or other areas, but this brings people into the town centre and will have long-term benefits,” continued Mr Mills.

Waitrose in store promotions and retail display tactics voted best by Grocer

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Waitrose has been voted the best supermarket for in-store promotions and retail display in a new survey commissioned by retail industry magazine The Grocer.

Each year The Grocer polls executives at 83 leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) suppliers on the quality of in-store promotions at the UK’s supermarkets. Boosted by highly visible point-of-sale displays, promotional offers are a key source of sales for products across all different types of consumer goods.

According to the survey promotional spend is an “all time high”. 43% of suppliers said that more than 40% of their sales were made on promotion, almost three times the figure given five years ago (16%).

Despite Waitrose only running half as many promotions as its main rivals in the UK supermarket sector, suppliers have praised it for a more focused approach, communicating effectively to consumers through proper use of display units and shop shelving. Ian Fermor, director of Billetts, said that Waitrose’s approach contrasted with “indiscriminate and often inappropriate activity” seen at “some retailers.”

Out of the major UK supermarket chains, Asda placed last in the survey. According to Fermor, its stores have become a “very confusing place to shop” with poor use of shop shelving and an “obsession with round-pounds”. He says that the Billetts analysis showed that in some categories there was “almost a breakdown in the price-volume relationship” as consumers are becoming confused about what the discount is.

Meanwhile Tesco, which came 3rd place, was praised for “big improvement over last 18 months” but suppliers noted that it still needed better in-store support such as point of sale displays to clarify deals. Each month the chain changes six million labels on store shelving as new promotions come in.


New shop display stands expected to boost magazine sales

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

McColl’s and Martin’s stores across the country have undergone a massive refurbishment, according to Talking Retail.

300 newsagents and convenience stores were spruced up recently, with the upgrade of shop display stands. Martin McColl believes that the refurbishment will help the stores increase the sales of newspapers and magazines. It’s hoped this could translate to a 5% boost in sales figures.

Across the stores a number of bays were installed, including 11-tier magazine bays and 64-face wave displays for specialist titles, as well as vertical news-stands. McColl hopes this will make it easier for the customer to see what is on sale, and get to the publications more easily, as well as increasing the volume of stock on the shop floor.

“We are always looking at ways to enhance the retail experience for our customers, both in terms of the ranges we stock and how appealing and easy they are to view or select from,” said Paul Taylor, general marketing manager for Martin McColl.

“The revitalised newspaper and magazine bays look great and showcase the extensive range of specialist titles, alongside the daily and weekly publications,” he added.

“We expect that the refurbishment will help us achieve increased sales in this sector.”

According to the company who installed the new retail display units, a similar project with another retailer lead to a 40% increase in magazine sales. By moving magazines to the impulse purchase location of 450 stores, the retailer saw the massive increase in sales in the three months following the change.

New tourist information centre is best of its kind

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Manchester’s new visitor centre will be the ‘best of its kind in the country’, according to Marketing Manchester’s chief executive Andrew Stokes.

Mr Stokes said the £800,000 facility found at Bruntwood’s Piccadilly Plaza, ’is an industry-leading best practice example of how visitor information should be provided.’

The centre was designed by BDP and will use the latest technology to promote all the city of Manchester has to offer. This includes a number of surface tables, which are computing platforms that respond to touch, hand gestures and other objects being placed on them.

The surface tables touch screen displays will publicise a plethora of information including maps and interactive features, which will help visitors discover the city.

A digital ‘ticker’ will feature in the window display which will be on 24 hours a day 7 days a week and will inform visitors of what’s on in the city. The centre’s interior design moves away from traditional shop fittings and will also feature a video wall, which will be used to highlight the cultural side of the city by showing a collection of promotional films on a loop.

Jasper Sanders, head of design at BDP’s Manchester studio was cited on Place Northwest as saying: “In the age of the iPad and ‘always on’ flow of news and information, the idea of a tourist information office with people queuing, piles of what’s on leaflets and a ‘you are here’ map on the wall seemed antiquated.

“We also wanted to reflect Manchester’s accessibility and openness, its tradition of embracing new ideas and the city’s inherently cool image. To do this meant adopting a ‘less is more’ approach to the space and to let smart technology and knowledgeable and enthusiastic floorwalkers tell the story of the city- rather than offer customers a rigid bureau counter and racks of guide books often found in more traditional tourist information centres.”