Store Fixtures Blog

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UK Retailers Need Workers after Brexit

· Displays

Brexit

Retail stores in the UK are warning that shoppers across the country will see higher prices in stores unless the retail sector is able to retain all European Union (EU) workers after Brexit. While EU workers technically only account for around 6 percent of the retail industry’s workforce in the UK, they are concentrated in warehouse and distribution positions. Labor shortages in these positions could ultimately lead to price increases.

While the UK hasn’t yet officially left the EU, the effects of Brexit are already being felt. UK retailers are already reporting that some of their EU employees have left the UK during ongoing uncertainty regarding the status of EU migrants in the country after formal Brexit proceedings. Half of the retailers in the UK reported that this is a concern for their EU employees, and it is estimated that one out of every five retailers had already suffered staff losses as a result.

“It is not right that 16 months after the referendum these people still don’t have the security they need to continue their lives,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson recently told the BBC. “And from our data, it is clear that unless we have the right structures in place to support retailers to attract, recruit, and retain workers, consumers will soon start to see and feel an impact as they shop.”

The UK government has said that it remains committed to developing an immigration system that reflects the interests of Britain after Brexit and that it will consider the views of businesses in developing and implementing this. It remains unclear, however, what the government’s plans are, fuelling ongoing uncertainty.

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Shopping Trends Changing Retail

· Displays

Consumer shopping trends are changing – and that’s having a significant impact on retailers across the world. The biggest change? The shift from single-item seasonal pieces to modular multi-season purchases.

Historically, consumers have tended to shop for clothing based on the season – for example, going out to the stores with the purpose of refreshing their summer wardrobe in May before the weather got hot. But research suggests that consumers are moving away from this trend. Analysts say that consumers are more focused on making modular purchases – or purchasing items that can easily be paired with other items – rather than single-item seasonal purchases.

Retailers aren’t used to this – and it is having a negative effect on sales.

“There are twin evils at play here. The discounting going on and retailers not knowing their customers well enough to know what they want,” retail analyst Richard Hyman told the BBC this year. “In 90 percent of the trading weeks in 2016, more than half the retailers in the fashion market had some sort of sale going on.”

In other words, the seasonal sales don’t align with customers’ purchasing patterns, and that puts downward pressure on sales. First, it leads consumers to believe that if they just wait long enough, the item they want will inevitably go on sale. Second, it erodes trust between retailers and consumers, with consumers believing that items ultimately are overpriced to begin with.

So, what does it take for a retailer to be successful in this world? Well, it turns out that it is all about agility.

“The fashion retailers that are doing well right now are the ones that are managing to keep all the balls in the air at once – having the right product, at the right price, in the right place, at the right time,” retail consultant Graham Soult told the BBC. “It’s where chains like Uniqlo and Zara benefit from controlling their own supply chains, and being really agile in getting new stock into store quickly when it’s needed.”

 

 

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Are Perfect Mannequins Actually a Turn-off for Customers?

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Mannequin-02

Do perfect mannequins sell more clothes? Not necessarily, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Colombia (UBC) and the University of Alberta.

The researchers discovered that mannequins that evoke the body type widely idealized as “perfect” – those with long and lean legs, very thin waists, and perky busts – actually made the articles of clothing they were displaying less attractive to shoppers. This effect was particularly noticeable on shoppers with low self-esteem, the researchers reported. The study, titled “Standards of Beauty: The Impact of Mannequins in the Retail Context” was published in the Journal of Consumer Research over the summer.

“When that mannequin is an example of perfection, it reminds people who are vulnerable that they don’t measure up,” explained Darren Dahl, a UBC marketing professor and one of the authors of the study. “The problem is the beauty ideal that mannequins represent. When people feel they don’t meet that ideal, their view of the product dims as well.”

In the study, Dahl and his co-author, Jennifer Argo, a professor of marketing at the University of Alberta, first asked participants a series of questions relating to their body image and overall self-esteem. They then asked the participants to look at a bikini that was displayed on a mannequin. Participants whose self-esteem was lower were significantly more likely to have a worse opinion of the bikini.

However, when the bikini was just displayed on a hanger without any mannequin around or when the bikini was displayed on a mannequin that was somehow damaged, customers had a much higher opinion of the bikini, particularly those with lower self-esteem. Interestingly, this effect was only noted with apparel. When mannequins modeled merchandise less related to appearance, such as umbrellas, this discrepancy disappeared.

Dahl and Argo think this could have huge ramifications for the retail industry and the use of mannequins. “A lot of us experience low self esteem to some extent. We all have bad hair days. Those consumers actually have a negative reaction when they see beautiful mannequins on display,” Dahl explained.

In other words, the retail industry might actually be able to sell more if it shied away from using “perfect” mannequins. Dahl suggested that retail stores might be able to increase sales if they use half mannequins, which are not only less expensive but also perceived by consumers to be much less threatening.

Quote source:

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-mannequins-turnoff-consumers.html

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AI in Retail

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AI in Retail

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence, often simply abbreviated as AI, is one of the hottest technologies out there. But AI isn’t just revolutionizing the world of computers and electronics. Believe it or not, AI stands to have a significant impact on the entire retail supply chain.

AI is an incredibly strategic asset for retailers around the world – particularly as the sector continues to face disruption from new consumer shopping patterns – and it can help retailers to make better (read: more profitable) decisions. So, how exactly is AI influencing the retail sector? Let’s take a look.

Hyper-Personal Recommendations

It’s no secret that personalization is often touted as the secret to retail success in today’s competitive world. And when it comes to personalization, retailers are often reliant on AI to get that competitive edge. Companies today are using AI algorithms to sort through thousands and thousands of different products to come up with individual recommendations to increase conversion rates and boost sales.

Enhanced Omnichannel Service

Essentially, AI is improving retailers’ ability to offer omnichannel service, making it easier for a customer to order a product online and then pick it up in the store. AI can accomplish this by helping retailers to link their physical inventories to online inventories, increasing the efficiency of services like click-and-collect and in-store returns.

Improved Pricing Strategies

When combined with machine learning, AI can actually help retailers ensure competitive pricing of products. Basically, retailers can use big data tools that combine AI and machine learning to power a rule-based engine that can optimize a product’s price based on a range of different variables, including inventory, competitors’ discounts, and competitors’ stock. For example, a brand could charge more for a product that a competitor didn’t have stocked, but if a competitor has a surplus of stock of an item and was offering a steep discount, it would probably make sense to slash prices. By refining their pricing, retailers can sell more, driving up profits.

The bottom line? The use and impact of AI in the retail sector are growing – and AI is only likely to continue to grow. Today, a number of major retailers out there, like Asos, Urban Outfitters, John Lewis, and Nordstrom, all use AI to increase their profits. Retailers will have to stay ahead of the AI curve if they want to keep up with the competition.

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UK Retail Sales Picking Up

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Retail UK

British retail sales were up 2.4 percent in August, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Sales Monitor – the greatest level of growth since April and almost a full percentage point higher than the 1.4 percent growth in sales recorded in July. Analysts say that the increase can be attributed to higher levels of consumer spending on fall apparel, on homewares, and related to children’s return to school, including on children’s apparel and school supplies.

The question remains whether sales growth can be sustained. In the UK, retailers have been struggling with the devaluation of the pound since Brexit and consumer spending has come under mounting pressure due to inflation. Analysts actually predicted that sales will begin to shrink over the course of the next few months, largely because of inflation pressures.

“Stark challenges lurk around the corner for the retail industry. Purchasing decisions are very much dictated by a shrinking pool of discretionary consumer spend, with the amount of money in people’s pockets set to be dented by inflation and statutory rises in employee pension contributions in a few months’ time,” Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, told the Independent earlier this month. “These figures tell a less positive story about the health of consumer spending than it might seem at first glance.”

So, what can be done to relieve pressure on UK retail sales? Analysts say that securing a tariff-free trade deal with the European Union in Brexit negotiations will be key to helping facilitate the sustained growth of retail by helping to keep costs down, ensuring that there are still affordable quality products available in the UK. If such a deal isn’t obtained, tariffs will only put more strain on the sector, likely driving down sales and growth.

Sources:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-retail-sales-august-rise-consumer-secotr-stress-brexit-inflation-rise-british-retail-consortium-a7929106.html

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Mannequins Come to Life in Holland’s Annual “Live Mannequin Night”

· Displays

Each year on an autumnal night in September, the storefronts and windows of local businesses in downtown Holland, Michigan, come alive with dozens of “live” mannequins. During the event, known as “Live Mannequin Night,” dozens of people try to pose completely still just like mannequins in front of local businesses.

“I think it’s just a really fun event for the whole community to be involved in,” Niki Kloosterman, the Downtown Holland event coordinator, told local newspaper the Holland Sentinel. “It’s so fun to come out and try to see if you can see your neighbor or friend. It’s a way for downtown businesses to try to show what they have in their stores. It’s really a way for people to get more creative with their window displays. Now they can really do what they want and be really extra creative with their displays.”

In 2017, more than 20 local businesses in Holland’s downtown participated in the event, according to local news media. Some businesses reportedly integrate participants into their already existing displays, while others take the opportunity to do something different or eye-catching along the lines of a theme. For example, this year’s event featured an array of different displays drawing on pop culture from across the decades, including a “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” display and a “Wizard of Oz” display. There was also a “Trolls”-themed display and dog party display.

For some stores, brainstorming and executing the perfect display took months. “As soon as downtown says they’re going to do Live Mannequin Night, we have to start brainstorming and think of an idea,” Apothecary store manager Taylor Ensign explained, adding that once an idea is identified and refined, the setup itself for the big night can take hours. “Getting all the props and setting it up and doing the makeup tonight, it was easily five hours into it. You’re looking at a good 8-hour chunk. It’s not that simple because you’ve got to think about your costumes, your props. It does take some time.”

Those who participate in the Live Mannequin Night say it is a great way for the community to come together and enjoy something fun. Participants say that there is something there for people of all ages. The night is completely free and tends to draw quite a crowd, with estimates of attendance numbering in the hundreds.

“It’s nice for the Holland community,” Ensing said. “People come down for a special night, and it’s free. They can walk around and view all the windows, and it’s a good family activity.”

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Brexit Sparks Retail Mergers in the UK

· Displays

Analysts say that Brexit is driving a new wave of UK takeovers in the retail sector as retailers seek to avoid having to raise prices amid increasing inflation. Brexit has significantly driven down the value of the British pound. As a result, the price of imports is rising, and consumer confidence is increasing. Analysts say mergers are a natural response to these economic conditions.

British supermarket Tesco, for example, is currently making an attempt at a merger with wholesale provider Booker, while Sainsbury’s, another British supermarket, is reportedly considering acquiring Nisa, a group of independent retailers and wholesalers in the UK. Maintaining sales volumes are key to keeping costs down, so by consolidating, retailers can better control costs and retain market shares.

“Any business looking at their cost base can see the advantage of consolidation, I think everyone’s very mindful that the small advantage that companies may get by passing through inflation, [which] could be absolutely mitigated by a drop in demand and creating inefficiencies in their supply chain. It’s quite a balance for manufacturers and retailers, but at the end of the day, volume is very important,” said Steven Esom, a retail veteran and the manager of British supermarket Waitrose. “People are looking at making their businesses more efficient and clearly any type of inflation passing through – that’s got be mitigated. So I would think that businesses are doing this to mitigate the effects of inflation. Businesses are now looking at every way of increasing volumes to mitigate costs.”

In the long term, it is expected that Brexit-related economic pressures on the retail sector will subside, and companies will hopefully be able to recover their sales growth. In the short- to mid-term, however, inflation remains a key concern for retailers, and the level of inflation, currently at about 2.6 percent, is expected to continue to outstrip wage growth.

Quote source:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/brexit/retail-to-see-many-mergers-and-takeovers-due-to-brexit-36078464.html

http://www.insider.co.uk/news/new-wave-retail-mergers-driven-11071990

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Which Retail Stores Can Weather the Amazon Apocalypse?

· Displays

Online retail giant Amazon completed its $13.5 billion takeover of Whole Foods last week, promising to cut prices for customers and increase convenience. This milestone has led many analysts to the conclusion that Amazon is kind of retail apocalypse for many smaller stores, predicting that it will inevitably buy up the most valuable retail store out there while simultaneously crushing all competition. But is the bleak forecast really accurate? It would seem that the reality of the situation is a bit more complex.

It’s true that e-commerce is an ever-growing retail segment, now comprising close to 10 percent of all retail sales in the US – an estimated $111 billion dollars. But while online retail as a whole is worth $111 billion in the US, Amazon brought in around $22 billion in North American revenue, meaning there is still another $89 billion up for grabs. And there are indications that several of Amazon’s competitors are well placed to grab it.

The market is consistent, valuing some of Amazon’s competitors at a value equal to or better than the value given to Amazon. Amazon’s equity and debt are valued at about 1.5 times its projected 2020 revenue of around $300 billion. But some of its competitors have even higher valuations. For example, Home Depot is valued at 1.8 times projected sales. A long-time star of the hardware and home category, 40 percent of Home Depot’s online sales are actually picked up in stores, suggesting that the company has managed to strike a strategic balance between online and brick-and-mortar retail. Similarly, AutoZone is also trading at 1.5 times projected 2020 sales, while Ross Stores is trading at 1.4 times.

Ultimately, the rise of Amazon does certainly mean major changes for the retail store – but it is far too pessimistic to suggest an imminent apocalypse is on the horizon. Some stores can and will survive the Amazon storm.

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The Psychology of Store Design

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Psych

It’s no secret that retailers put a lot of time, effort, and money into getting a deep understanding of the psychology that drives consumer behavior. And it is easy to see why: there is a clear relationship between sales and store design. An ideal store layout can have a significant impact on customers’ purchasing choices, either pushing them to make a purchase or deterring them from going for a particular product. A thorough understanding of the psychology of store design is, therefore, key to driving sales. So, how can you tap into consumer psychology to drive sales when it comes designing your retail store? Be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind.

First Impressions Matter

First impressions always matter, and in the world of retail design, they matter quite a lot. To pique your customers’ interest, make sure you have a dazzling window display – ideally with mannequins if you sell any type of apparel – and a compelling entrance. These two elements of store design are essential to making a good impression and getting people through the doors of your store.

Avoid Long Aisles

Long aisles that go on across your store uninterrupted aren’t good for driving customers to make purchases. The majority of people out there have fairly short attention spans, and when customers see rows and rows of merchandise, they’ll tend to breeze right through them, assuming everything on the shelves is the same. You need to physically break up aisles to signal to customers where there are different types of merchandise and ensure they see everything that you have to offer in your store.

Pay Attention to How You Stock Your Shelves

When it comes to product positioning, the middle shelf is prime real estate. This shelf is at eye level, and the products here are therefore most likely to be noticed by customers. Place your best-selling products here, including your high-value merchandise and leading brands. The top shelf is less likely to attract attention, so place your slower-selling items here. Discount items and own brand items should always be placed on the lower shelf.

The bottom line is that store design can have a huge impact on retail store performance. If you want to maximize your sales, make sure you consider the psychology of store design when designing your own retail store.

For more information and for retail store equipment, please visit subastralinc.com

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Trophy Display Cases: The Best Way to Showcase Awards and Celebrate Excellence

· Displays

Trophy-blg

Every award and trophy that is won in life is hard earned – and it deserves a special and visible spot to be displayed. Whether it is a collection of soccer championship trophies or stacks of academic awards and accolades, accomplishments and achievements should be showcased in a place that both honors them and protects them. That why trophy display cases are the perfect option, boasting the ideal combination of security and visibility.

Wondering about the advantages of trophy display cases? Let’s take a look.

  • Excellent visibility: Trophy display cases boast high-quality glass paneling, meaning your awards and trophies can be displayed for all to see. Many trophy display cases are even fitted with lighting to maximize visibility.
  • Security and protection: With trophy display cases, there isn’t any trade-off between visibility and security. Your trophies and awards will be safe and secure behind glass, and many trophy display cases can be locked. That means that while all eyes will be on your trophies and awards, all hands will be off of them.
  • A range of types and styles: Trophy display cases are available in a vast array of types and styles. From modern to classic, from wood finishes to metal, trophy display cases are available in a range of different looks and materials. There is bound to be something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Overall, a trophy display case is an excellent option to display your trophies and awards. To check out all of our offerings, be sure to take a look at our website – www.subastralinc.com and visit our Trophy Display Cases catalog.

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