Archive for June, 2011

Initiative encourages locals to get involved

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Retailers operating in Bridgwater, Somerset have been encouraged to get involved with a local campaign that will ask residents to shop locally.

According to, the Bridgwater Retail Initiative has suggested local retailers add the ‘Your high street needs you!’ poster to their shop displays.

It is thought this would help promote the initiative and also its Independents’ Day – an event where residents of the town will be prompted to make at least one of their purchases at a regional independent retailer.

One local shop owner, Andrew Bradbury, welcomed the news. He said: “Independents need support from the local community. Whilst we value our regular customers, we all need to raise our game to encourage new shoppers in.

“I am behind any good campaign that helps raise the profile of smaller businesses. With the support of the local media, it is sure to be a hit with both retailers and the public.”

His thoughts were echoed by a spokesperson for the initiative, Alan Hurford, who told “We hope that the people in Bridgwater will follow this campaign in a positive way.”

Hurford added that if residents want their town to thrive, and want new stores to continuing opening in the area, then they’d be wise to get on board with the initiative.

Intel Labs developing ‘personal mannequins’

Friday, June 24th, 2011

New technology is being developed to allow shoppers to view images of themselves wearing the latest fashion as they walk past shop windows.

The system would work by recognising details stored in consumers’ mobile phones and producing life-size images of them dressed in clothes from the store.

Motion tracking technology would even allow the image to mirror shoppers movements so they can see what they would like from all angles without even having to enter the shop.

Computer chip producers Intel Labs are behind the invention which could revolutionise visual merchandising as we know it.

Nola Donato, who is part of the team working on the ‘personal mannequin’ revealed that there was a lot of work left to do before the product was ready for the high street.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said: “We are also working on how to make the clothing look realistic as it hangs and as they move to give the best possible idea of how an item would look on them.

“It takes the idea of the shop mannequin, which is a fixed plastic shape, and personalises it for people.”

According to The Drum, the service will only be available to those who sign up and register their body measurements via a mobile phone app.  

“Next generation” John Lewis to open in Westfield

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The “next generation” of department stores is set to open soon in Europe’s biggest shopping centre, reports London 24.

While the builders and electricians continue about their tasks, preparing the store shell for its imminent shopfitting, the Westfield Stratford City John Lewis store will be the first the company has built in the capital for 20 years.

Managing director of the store, Noel Saunders, made the exciting claim that “it will feature 70 per cent new concept and design.” 

Spread across 150,000 square feet, the £40 million John Lewis will carry 350,000 different product lines and will be the biggest shop in the new Westfield mall. It will share retail space with 300 other shops and restaurants.

According to its website,, Westfield claimed the Stratford City mall is “Europe’s largest urban shopping centre at 1.9 million sq ft…attracting a 4.1 million catchment population with a £3.24 billion weighted spend.” 

Celebrating its proximity to the Olympic Park, the store design features an extruded glass prow, which will become the restaurant and provide diners with panoramic views. There will also be a dedicated Olympics shop on site.

The construction has generated 750 jobs and 400 have been guaranteed to local unemployed residents. Mr Saunders commented: “When John Lewis opens a new shop we feel we have a vital role to play in contributing to the long term prosperity of the local area.

“Our aim in the local community is to build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships and employing those who live in the area ensures we are truly part of this community.” 

Paper-thin electronic shop signs a reality

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Shops signs in the north of England could be changed forever after a centre specialising in paper thin digital signage expands in Sedgefield.

The Printable Electronics Technology Centre (Petec) gives firms working in the design, print and packaging industries the chance to start integrating the technology into their products.

The Northern Echo reports that the £1.5m expansion of Petec’s existing centre will use traditional print machines and modern electronics that allows components to be attached to everyday signs.

This removes masses of wiring that are seen in use today in visual merchandising and electronic POS display units. Instead, circuits are printed onto a film no thicker than a sheet of paper.

Petec programme manager Bela Green was quick to warn that the technology was not quite ready for the realms of sci-fi, saying that a rolled up television for example was a long way off.

“This is looking at closer to market applications,” she said. “I think other platforms we have got are looking at a longer time line, but this one was something we can do now.”

The new facility is a part of the technological innovation group, The Centre of Process Innovation (CPI), according to It will appeal to today’s display systems providers precisely because of the manufacturing methods used.

Green said: “It is going to use traditional and established print and packaging processes. What you can do is use this to make smarter packaging pretty much immediately, because the processes are already there.

“The big thing about the facility is that it will have print equipment recognised by the print industry, which is important if you want them to invest in this, as they don’t have to make many changes,” she added.

Green believes that the technology will start to be seen in shops and public places within the next year.

Visual merchandising a great choice for fashion professionals

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Although most people who study fashion at university do so with the aim of becoming a designer one day, there is another very rewarding career path they can take – visual merchandising.

Angela Foster, a career specialist at, claimed that this is one of “many options” for fashion graduates, and shouldn’t be discounted.

Foster confirmed: “Graduates will have covered topics such as merchandising, buying for retailers, brand management and marketing during their degree as well as the rudiments of design and the history of fashion.

“But while not everyone will follow McCartney on to the runways of London and Paris, there are plenty of options for fashion graduates.”

Foster isn’t the only one with this opinion, with careers advisor Margaret Holbrough arguing: “Jobs as buyers, merchandisers or managers within the fashion retail industry could utilise their creativity and knowledge of customers’ preferences and fashion trends.

“Visual merchandising – displaying fashion and accessories in store – may be another option,” she concluded on

Foster agreed, and added that other avenues to explore are becoming a stylist, writer, illustrator or PR officer for a fashion house. Whatever they choose to do, fashion graduates will have a high chance of landing work – as around 70 per cent find full-time jobs upon graduating from university.



Budweiser cash-card promotion launches

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Budweiser is offering cash prizes through an innovative use of a cash card promotion alongside some traditional POS marketing.

Customers have a one in 60 chance of winning up to £1,000 from the Budweiser cash card; due to arrive in 4.5m bottled and canned packs this month.

Pre-loaded cards with values of £10, £100 will be also offered in addition to the top prize and the promotion will be supported nationally by poster advertising, in-store merchandising and point-of-sale materials.

The Drinks Business reports that there will be an extensive broadcast campaign encouraging Bud-fans to “Grab Some Buds”. The prize-winning bottles will be promoted through TV, outdoor and radio advertising.

Iain Newell, Budweiser UK marketing director, spoke to The Drum about the rationale behind the project.

He said: “The promotion supports Budweiser’s ‘Great Times Are Waiting’ positioning by giving consumers the chance to treat themselves or splash out on their mates this summer with their very own Budweiser pre-loaded cash card.

“It’s a great way to create interest and excitement around the brand and gives consumers a desirable prize mechanic that will drive footfall into retailers and increase rate of sale,” he added.

The promotion is open to customers 18 and over. Promotional codes can be entered online at the Budweiser website and the closing date for code entries in 31st December 2011.

Sandy Town Council looking for “best kept” areas

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Town officials at Sandy Town Council, in Biggleswade, have announced plans to search for Sandy’s “best kept” roads, shops, pubs, gardens and allotments.

According to Biggleswade Today, the council will reward local residents who impress with their visual merchandising, green fingers or perfect pints.

This was confirmed by councillor Nigel Aldis, who is the chairman of the ‘Best Kept Competition’, as it is named. He told About my Area: “We are searching for businesses or individuals to provide trophies or prizes.”

Reports have confirmed that individuals or businesses can either nominate themselves for an award, ask someone else to nominate them, or can be pro-active and nominate their favourite best kept area. The annual event is a favourite with locals, who compete each year to win the top accolade.

The prizes on offer have been kindly volunteered by Frosts Garden Centre in Willington, which is the event’s main sponsor and will provide particularly special awards for the best kept gardens. Although to be in with a chance of winning, entries will have to be in by July 2nd.

Awards will be divvied on August 20th, at a special ceremony to take place at the Sandy Horticultural Show cheese and wine evening. This will be held at Sandy Place Middle School.

Jacob’s Creek served up at Wimbledon

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Jacob’s Creek has revealed an extensive marketing strategy ahead of this year’s Wimbledon partnership that includes a meal with former competitors.

The wine maker has teamed up with crowd favourites Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic to launch their sponsorship as the Official Wine of Wimbledon at the All England Club.

Lucky crowd members can win Centre Court tickets and a chance to dine with the aforementioned greats through instant win prizes placed on one million bottles of wine. Another 4,000 instant win prizes are also up for grabs, Offlicense News reports.

The extensive advertising and awareness campaign will be seen throughout Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

POS kits containing bunting, drip mats, bar-runners and promotional posters will be distributed to over 500 outlets that also offer customers a chance to win No 1 Court tickets.

Retailers will also give away branded stress balls and watches with selected bottles of wine between June 6th and July 8th.

Speaking to, Simon Thomas, deputy managing director at Pernod Ricard UK, owners of Jacob’s Creek, said that “this is the perfect partnership for us to showcase our premium credentials” and show off some new products.

He said that Wimbledon sponsorship “provides a fantastic opportunity to highlight the diversity and True Character of the Jacob’s Creek range to consumers including our new premium Jacob’s Creek Regional Reserve range.”

Imperial Tobacco appeals against cigarette display laws

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

A leading tobacco company has appealed against Scottish retailers being banned from displaying cigarettes.

Under a new laws passed by Scottish Parliament, tobacco products will soon be removed from shop displays all around the country.

However, sources from Imperial Tobacco have argued that the power to implement such laws should rest solely with Westminster Parliament.

The appeal has led to a delay in the introduction of the laws until the legal action launched by Imperial Tobacco has been resolved.

MSPs had agreed that the law would take effect on October 1.

According to The Scotsman, Imperial Tobacco had asked for a judicial review of the laws immediately after they were passed in January, but it was ruled that none of their challenges were “well-founded.”

Retailers will still be able to sell tobacco products as long as they are hidden from customers’ view at all times.

Speaking to BBC News, a spokesman from the Scottish Government stated the laws would help prevent youngsters from taking up smoking.

They said: “Each year in Scotland, 15,000 children and young people start smoking and a child who starts smoking at 15 or younger is three times more likely to die of cancer as a result than someone who starts smoking in their mid-20s.”

Virtual trade show could rival traditional exhibitions

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

The launch of a virtual trade show could transform exhibitions forever and provide small businesses with an essential online retail platform.

That’s according to David Dresner of Merton IT services, whose creation the VB2B exhibition, could revolutionise the way we think about ‘traditional’ shop displays.

Mr Dresner envisions an international community coming together for the free event whereby exhibitors use virtual point of sale displays to advertise their wares from the comfort of their PC.

According to the Manchester Evening News, exhibitors can upload information and videos to their virtual stands, and visitors can download them to their virtual briefcase.

Exhibitors man their stands remotely from their computer, interacting with visitors via instant messaging or video chat using a webcam. Goods are then available for 90 days after the VB2B exhibition for purchase.

Mr Dresner explained that he found the cost of real exhibitions prohibitive in his early days of business: “It can cost thousands of pounds just for the floor space,” he said.

“I thought that there had to be another way for smaller firms to showcase their products and services,” he added, explaining that the VB2B concept was purchased of the back of an American initiative.

“Virtual events are popular in the States because of the huge distances people have to travel to attend, but this is the first time it has been done in the UK.”

According to, there will also be opportunities for 30 minute business presentations and keynote speeches from business speakers in the official auditorium.

VB2B will be held between the 15th and 17th of November.