28,000 product Magento site now live

Newly launched – our latest Magento site Designed and developed for Altham’s, an international ships’ supply company, the website will facilitate their 24 hour, same day offering. New retail features will continue to be developed within the retail framework.

Olympic effect on online retail sales

The post-Olympic figures are out showing a disappointing decline in online retail sales. Whilst many anticipated a hike owing to the number of Londoners working from home for the month, sales in fact fell 11% from July. Maybe people were simply taking advantage of the break from the office because M-commerce (mobile) sales saw a massive increase rising by 294% year on year or 280% if you extract travel.

(Source IMRG Capgemini retail sales index)


Online traffic experiences sharp fall

Interestingly visits to major search engines in August also decreased – by 100 million (when compared with July) and 40 million when compared to August 2011. This is the first month in 2012 when there hasn’t been an increase in search activity.

(Source Experian Hitwise)


Top August 2012 search terms not what you’d think

Another surprising statistic relates to August search terms. Olympic related terms didn’t feature within the top ten searches, the second most popular of which was ‘Prince Harry Vegas Pictures.’ No prizes for guessing what September’s top term will be.

Free wine on a Friday – we’re chuffed!

Enjoying dinner in a restaurant with clients last night, the conversation turned to Social Media. We thought we’d play around with the Wine Demon app and rated the wine we were drinking (a Mirror Lake Sauvignon Blanc which was incidentally very good). Imagine our surprise today when we received an email from Wine Demon saying that we were the daily review winners and they were sending us a cheque for the wine.

This set us thinking. Wine Demon is an app operated by Naked Wines. Why would they not simply offer us a wine of their own as a prize to incentivise us to buy a new case? This is the channel that most retailers take, using social to create revenue.
However that would have taken the social joy away from our interaction with Wine Demon. This is an example of somebody really understanding the social element. Our whole team is now inspired to review every wine they come across (it’s the weekend, there will be many!). Naked will start to gather more market and customer intelligence, we’ll have fun with the app. A win:win all round.

Is Barbour International the new Burberry check?

Having done a great job of reinventing themselves with a new tailored cut and a snazzy yellow gold International logo, it appears that Barbour may have scored an own goal. We all remember Burberry’s check being adopted by the masses in the late 90s. Now the International is becoming streetwear, worn increasingly by TOWIE followers.

Although a high turnover of sales must be welcome, it presumably isn’t what Barbour had in mind. With jackets costing a minimum of £180, price obviously isn’t a barrier. So what is it that is appealing to a new working class demographic?

Listening to conversations in stores, it appears that customers are justifying the jackets to themselves as a practical investment that will last, so maybe the new austerity message of buying less but better is a driver. If so will we suddenly see Primark’s profits tumble? Unlikely. The clincher, it appears, lies in the high level branding. Burberry’s check and the yellow gold International logo are identifiable at 20 paces. So although middle England is apparently embracing thrift, in the depths of recession it appears that C2DEs are still looking for a visible emblem of consumerism.

Will it damage Barbour as a brand? Well it has certainly derailed their intentions of targeting urban ABC1 customers who will be dropping the International like a hot rock. Long term though they will simply be able to shear the range off and return to core, unlike Burberry who held the check at the heart of the brand. Next one to watch: Hunter gloss wellies? Let’s see.

Who’s doing well on Facebook commerce?

As Facebook continues its drive for world domination, savvy businesses are already using F-commerce tools to drive brand presence and sales.  Whether with a simple link to their main site, or with full transactional capability, here is a handful of the most inspirational FB shops:

Alton Towers – prebook tickets online

Diesel – perfect integration of Social Media for an expanded digital footprint with their DieselCam – yes they did it before Mary Portas.

FC Barcelona – leading the way with merchandise

The Boston Tea Company – making it easy

Heinz – our favourite – particularly clever.  They create limited edition items for Facebook fans and the page can only be accessed if “liked” first

Malaysia Airlines – book seats without leaving Facebook

Schuh – reaches its target audience via the best medium, as does Threadless

The key, of course lies in building an effective strategy that integrates both on and offline marketing from the outset. Different routes to market on Facebook are highlighted on Janice Diner’s ecosphere chart below which outlines strategies for direct sales on Facebook and other approaches that drive traffic to main sites via Facebook.

It’s fascinating and it’s certainly just the beginning.

Retailers doing the Royal Wedding

London stores are decked out in their wedding finery – so who’s doing it well?  The Apparatus role of honour goes to:


Liberty wins our vote for its dry British humour

Runner Up: New Look for being bang on the mood of the nation.

Point Of Sale

Body Shop


John Lewis

Budget Busting


Booby prize

Shockingly for us goes to Selfridges for not trying very hard and being too commercial

Should B2C marketing strategies take rising fuel costs into account?

Delivering a course on marketing strategy at Lancaster University Management School today, I was surprised at how few B2C businesses were preparing for the effect that fuel price rises will have on the 2011 customer.

Every business had factored their own fuel costs into their budgets but ignored the impact that it is likely to have on their target market.  We are developing a full PEST analysis for each industry sector but responding to immediate issues regarding retail and tourism:


Footfall is likely to be down.  Focus on e-commerce, ensure that your online business is a truly rewarding experience.  Take the opportunity to delight the customer in their home environment by ensuring that receiving and unpacking delivered items is a delight.


Domestic tourism will change.  People will become doorstep tourists, looking to take short breaks and daytrips nearer to home.  There is a huge opportunity to be creative here and drive people to revisit where they live but it will mean that tourism authorities need to take a completely new focus, not easy we know when budgets and staffing levels are down.

Possible marketing solutions

In both cases, social media, guerilla marketing and customer engagement would be the centre of our strategic focus – where you see lost customers we see the opportunity to attract new ones…