S-CUBE Fixtures

 S-CUBE Publication
February 2016: Issue Three
What's in Store...
 a division of specialty store services

Color Me Pink… and Blue.

Balance and mindfulness seem to be the themes of 2016 and, in keeping with that, Pantone has selected not one but two colors this year to emphasize that motif. Rose Quartz and Serenity are the colors chosen to symbolize this symmetry. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” (http://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2016)

Rose Quartz & Serenity

To introduce the color combo, Pantone used a balanced approach itself: social media in the form of Instagram and street artists in LA, Miami and New York. Each of the artists used their creativity to send the message of not only congruity of Rose Quartz and Serenity but also their influence “in fashion, art and design, as they were frequently used together in home decor, fashion and naturally occur together in nature” according to Macala Wright on her blog by the same name.

Décor will strive to bring nature inside. One of the hot trends on Pinterest is tenting an entire bedroom to bring the outside in. Wright also found that Nate Berkus sees the trend that minerals are going to be at the forefront of home interior design this year but not in the traditional way. His vision is one that aligns itself with nature: moving away from the polished and smooth and moving toward these treasures in their organic state. Rose Quartz and Serenity complement these trends by offering a calming and tranquil palette-a stark contrast to the outside world.

In a world of increasingly blurred gender lines the fashion colors this year are unisex: “…there are truly no perceivable distinctions in color choices between the men’s and women’s collections, both of which focus on a desire to breathe and reflect, then play”. The colors offer a sense of serenity and openness for consumers.

The choice of these two colors provide an opportunity to mute the cacophony of the ever-demanding techno-world by offering equilibrium, tranquility and calm in not only in fashion but home décor both inside and out.

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Table of Contents

Sweet Sixteen Predictions

Sweet Sixteen Predictions for the Year Ahead

It’s a tad early for March Madness but the National Retail Federation has put together their own “Sweet 16” for the upcoming year. The horizon looks promising: consumer confidence numbers are reassuring and the risk of recession seems minimal. True, it’s an election year but past data indicates that “…historically they tend to have little impact on spending, which bodes well for retailers”.

Highlights of this retail forecast include “…desire for speed and convenience”. In this Uber-bidding, Apple-paying, instant-couponing world, consumers are looking for ease in their shopping experience. Think same-day delivery, subscription services and Instacart. Regardless of whether you’re standing in a brick and mortar store or behind the computer as a member of an e-commerce team, technology and its seamless utilization is the continuing driver for both.

Customer Shopping with Technology

Shoppers now expect personalization. Retailers will need to invest not only time but money in understanding their customer analytics. This effort needs to be a “…consistent omnichannel effort”. Dovetailing with this personalization is the absolute need for a digital core. This core “…gives companies real-time visibility into all mission-critical business practices and processes around customers, suppliers, workforce, big data and the Internet of Things”. Real-time is the key as shoppers are connected in so many ways and retailers need to respond quickly and efficiently.

Baby boomers, Gen X, Millenials now onto…Gen Z. This group of new consumers was born in the late 1990s and by “2020 will be the largest group of shoppers worldwide”. This group is culturally diverse (think 4 continents) and their consumer fingerprint is that of a self-reliance, problem-solving and impatience. “…they are quick to dismiss companies that can’t cater to their whims”. The jury is still out, however, as to which retailers will be favored by this capricious group.

Partnerships are the new juggernaut for retail. Not only in terms of delivery (Instacart, Doordash) but also in terms of designers. High-end designers are now teaming up with Target, Kohl’s and H&M and are reaching a multitude of consumers beyond the designer’s traditional 1%. Another “partnership” of sorts is the “mobile-equipped associate…tech-empowered associates have insight into available inventory across stores and distributions centers and can save a sale in seconds”. This is the proverbial tool that can help build and strengthen brick and mortar retail sales. Shoppers will be given a personal experience, utilizing time-sensitive technology, that immediately meets their needs.

There’s good news/bad news on the shrinkage front. Yes, there are announcements of stores closing in the coming year but with this new leanness, experts predict, comes more profitability. Smaller stores and rebranding are beginning to launch with CityTarget and WalMart’s Neighborhood Markets, to name a few.

A final sampling of the NRF’s Sweet 16 is cybersecurity. Hackers loom ever-present in consumer and retailers’ lives. The step toward the chip-based credit cards is an encouraging one; however, the NRF, along with many others, feel that not requiring a PIN while using these cards compromises its intended security. Unseen cyberdangers lurk beyond the immediate consumer, though: “Merchant data warehouses, unencrypted transmissions and card-not-present transactions will be under greater scrutiny”.

Brick and mortar retailers will be very much in the game in 2016. Utilizing personalization, technology and a frictionless experience will help them to continue to win customers and improve sales.

All quotes courtesy of National Retail Federation https://nrf.com/news/our-picks-click#comment-for

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And the Winner Is...

And the Winner Is...

What do Sunday, February 7 and Sunday, February 28 have in common? Entertainment and entertainment dollars. On Sunday, February 7 a half-century of football makes its mark with Super Bowl L (that’s Roman Numeral for 50 for all you Latin dropouts). Thirty second commercials are said to be going for close to 5 million, according to Leslie Moonvies, NBC President and Chief Executive. Impressive, yes? Not so fast…numbers can be deceiving. Three weeks later the 88th Academy Awards will be telecast and, if history is any indicator, advertiser’s dollars are better spent with glitz and glamour than with pass and punt.

Oscars vs Superbowl

So here’s how the numbers crunch: according to the survey of more than 84,000 consumers by Extreme Reach, a TV ad distribution software and research firm, found that “31.1% of viewers who watched last year's Oscars said they were more likely to buy the brand after seeing its Oscar show ad. That compares to 6.87% of viewers of the most recent Super Bowl broadcast”. Interestingly both shows are unique in that they are real time entertainment. This time sensitive entertainment discourages viewers from taping it and fast-forwarding through commercials.

So what could be the reason behind Oscar’s success of a more productive advertising dollar? One is “category exclusivity”. This simply means that Super Bowl viewers are exposed to a myriad of beer, soda, car and truck ads while Oscar viewers see only commercials about one soda. The Academy Awards have a much more targeted audience: females with slightly higher incomes. This makes it much easier to target ads than to the mass audience of the Super Bowl. Lastly, the ad competition isn’t as intense with the Oscars and gets less press. Each year the price of a 30 second Super Bowl commercial is all the buzz thus driving up the price but who can tell you how much a commercial went for at last year’s Oscars?

Information courtesy of http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/02/19/oscars-academy-awards-super-bowl-advertisements-commercials/23677375/

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Trust Breeds Empowerment

Trust Breeds Empowerment

The NRF’s Annual Convention & EXPO, more widely known as “Retail’s BIG Show” just wrapped up its 105th convention in NYC. The event offered four-days of education, networking, and an enormous EXPO Hall full of technology and solutions. The BIG Show also featured visionary leaders with game-changing ideas to help elevate the perspective of the industry and individual businesses.

Colin Powell

On January 19th Colin Powell, U.S. statesman and retired four-star general, addressed the packed North Hall with a message of respect, appreciation of diversity and investing in youth.

Sharing his own stories of time spent working retail as a teen in the Bronx, he credits that experience to shaping his leadership philosophy. He summarizes it as one of valuing others, inspiring trust and respect — leadership tenets as important in retail as anywhere else.

“If you trust your people, you empower them. Then they will believe in you and in the power of your organization.”

For a video highlight of Retails Big Show, visit bigshow16.nrf.com. And save the date for next year: January 15th – 18th, 2017

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Dont 4Get About Me

Don’t 4Get About Me

Forget our furry friends? Never! That’s the premise behind the canine snack and supplies project “Don’t 4 Get About Me”.

The challenge? Create a freestanding and countertop displayer to feature 3 sku’s of pet treats and supplies including USA made, All Natural 3 ounce Peanut Butter and Banana Crunch Bones, 4 ounce bags of Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soft Bites and 15 count Waste Bag Rolls. In addition, the Client also specified that the displays be packed in one box per unit. Each display was designed accordingly and a planogram was created to facilitate set-up.

Dont 4Get About Me Fixture 1 Dont 4Get About Me Fixture 2

S-CUBE manufactured the units overseas to minimize cost. Both displays are constructed of metal with steel plates in the feet for stability and include hooks & wire baskets. The logo is screen-printed onto the display header. In addition, S-CUBE created a digitally printed outdoor sign for retailers that offer a pet walking area.

The initial rollout of 350 floor units and 150 countertop units shipped to a variety of retailers and industries including 140 Jewel-Osco Stores, all of the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) sites, 25 convenience stores, and others. This is an on-going program as S-CUBE continues to manage the inventory of not only the displayers but the treats as well.

Woof! That’s Dog for good work!

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