ERT Awards include Cromwell customers

Two Cromwell customers have been shortlisted in the 2012 ERT Awards.

PRC in Ilford, Essex, is up for the “Consumer Electronics Showroom of the Year” award, sponsored by EchoStar, while Peter Harvey, an employee at Hughes Electrical in Norwich, is up for the “Salesperson of the Year – Independents” award sponsored by Samsung.

The winners will be announced on October 22nd.

A mobile & tablet Christmas

The latest eCustomerServiceIndex from eDigitalResearch and IMRG suggests that 96% of online consumers expect to make at least some of their Christmas purchases through retail websites. The survey, of 2,000 consumers, also found that around 26% will do more Christmas shopping online this year compared to last year.

The results showed that 41% of smartphone owners will consider making Christmas purchases from their mobile devices this year, a rise of almost 20% in just 12 months. Even more would shop via mobile if given free wi-fi access. In addition, 71% of tablet owners will also consider doing some of their Christmas shopping from their tablet device this year. Some 21% of UK online consumers now own a tablet device.

Fastest-growing online products

Parcel company DPD has just released research showing what will be the fastest growing online sectors in the next 12 months. The results, by product percentage growth, are:

Sporting equipment: 69%
DIY equipment: 67%
Garden & outdoor: 58%
Software & games: 53%
PC/tablet computers: 45%
Kitchen & home goods: 44%
Electrical & photographic: 37%
Toys & games: 32%
Mobile phones: 29%
Beauty & healthcare: 24%

Mobile shopping grows again

The IBM 2012 Smarter Consumer Study has revealed that consumer desire to use mobile devices while shopping has more than doubled to 138% within twelve months. Of the 1,800 UK consumers surveyed, 39% wanted to use their mobiles to receive personalised promotions; 42% to seek out lower prices; 44% to find promotions; 52% to check out and 42% to locate products in-store. Clearly, consumers are becoming more comfortable with sharing personal information with retailers so that services can be tailored to their individual preferences, location and lifestyle.

The survey also showed that social media and online sources need to be a fully integrated part of the shopping experience. Some 39% of UK consumers rely on websites for comparative shopping, but still value the ‘touch and feel’ aspects of a store: 83% say they prefer to research online prior to browsing for a product during an in-store visit.

Shoppers love click & collect

A study commissioned by retail communications specialist Quail Digital has revealed that 44% of online shoppers who buy from DIY and ‘out of town’ retail brands would rather collect their goods themselves from a store than have them delivered to their homes. The main reason was convenience, followed by cost savings and not being tied to a delivery time. However, once opting for click and collect the vast majority of customers want fast and efficient fulfilment without queuing and, often, with assistance to load their cars and designated parking.

BRC calls for government help

The British Retail Consortium is calling on the government to help restore consumer confidence by controlling the costs it imposes on households and businesses. The plea comes on the back of figures published by the BRC that show retail sales growth is now averaging half what it was before Lehman Brothers collapsed four years ago. Year-on-year growth in the total value of retail sales has averaged 2.1% over the last two years compared with growth of 4.5% over an equivalent period before the financial crisis. The BRC has proposed freezing Business Rates in 2013 and abandoning the fuel duty increase due in January.

Charity lunch raises £200

The Strawberry Tea

Well over half of the Cromwell team were treated to a fabulous home-cooked buffet lunch yesterday – all in aid of Breast Cancer Care. The brainchild of Jude Prophet, Management Accountant, and Marie Whittle, Head of Planning, the lunch comprised a Ploughman’s lunch and a “Strawberry Tea” with strawberries and cream, home-made cakes, brownies, scones and meringues. All the cakes and sausage rolls were baked by Jude in a marathon 13-hour baking session on Sunday. At just £5 a head this was an incredible bargain and the opportunity to contribute to an immensely worthwhile cause. The lunch raised £200 from participants and donations. If you fancy running your own “Strawberry Tea”, which is an annual fund-raising event for Breast Cancer Care, see www.breastcancercare.org.uk/strawberry.

Valuable Deloitte insights

You don’t often get something for nothing, but there are several valuable insight reports available for free on the Deloitte website. The latest, “Rightsizing the Retail Estate”, is on: http://internetretailing.net/2012/09/retailers-must-rethink-store-estates-as-the-nature-of-the-high-street-changes-deloitte-report/

It focuses on the fact that retailers should not stay fixated on stores when online sales are growing apace and already represent the equivalent of 60m sq ft in retail space. However, rather than simply closing stores when leases expire, retailers should develop a strategy that defines their ideal retail footprint. Hugo Clark, director in Deloitte’s real estate team and author of the report, says: “Given the rapidly changing retail environment and the speed with which new technologies are emerging and impacting on the use of physical space, the biggest challenge facing retailers is to continually test and challenge the size, shape and purpose of their store portfolios. This is likely to be a constant but critical process of evolution for retailers seeking not just to survive but to flourish.”

UK Internet users up to 38.8 million

The UK now has 38.8 million Internet users, up from 36.9 million in 2011 according to figures from UKOM/Nielsen. What’s really interesting is that more than 50% of those 2 million new users are over the age of 50.

Mobile Retailing Summit

Recent research from the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index shows that the percentage of UK online sales made through a mobile device could reach 20% by this Christmas and the percentage of site visits through the mobile channel could increase to 30%. This forecast follows research showing that the percentage of sales through mobile devices rose to 11.6% in Q2 2012, up from 8.2% in Q1. To help retailers better understand mobile retailing, the Retail Bulletin is holding its second Mobile Retailing Summit on 26th September. For details visit:

http://www.mobile-retailing-summit.co.uk/