Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2016 | Eighth Issue
S-CUBE Fixtures What's In Store this month

Table of Contents

Human Touch
Shopping Carts
The NEW Mall


Human Touch
Never underestimate the power and value of your sales associates.


Mindtree, a technology services company, recently completed a study that found that interactions with sales associates are the key to a successful shopping journey. Over 70% of shoppers were interested in interacting with a sales associate. Once this communication occurs, “40% of shoppers make a purchase after positive interaction with a sales associate, a 43% increase from the 28% of shoppers who make a purchase without interaction”. This enthusiastic employee also skyrockets an average sale 81%! Take that you omnichannel, app-loving, customer-tracking world!

So what’s the downside? Often there aren’t enough sales personnel to meet the needs of the customer: “Forty percent of shoppers say they are never able to find a sales associate”. There is no real science behind knowing when a customer needs help. Sales associates work on gut feelings and visual cues. These would include “a shopper looking for help (64%) and a shopper seeming lost or confused (55%)”.

In terms of the product categories in which customers most desire personal assistance, they rank in this order: sporting equipment, automotive products, consumer electronics, home décor/furnishings, home improvement, apparel/fashion, beauty/personal care and children’s products.



Chad Olsen: Cheif Opperations Officer & Ron Olsen: President of NTY Franchise Company


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Shopping Carts
While it may seem a cart is just a cart is just a cart-details do matter.


Metal or plastic? Hefty or lightweight? Deep or shallow? Single or two-seater? These are just some of the choices that greet shoppers when they go about the task of shopping.

As shopping habits have changed, so, too, have the carts that accessorize it. Gone are the standard metal carts that clanked their way down the aisles of the A & P and in their place are small, easy maneuverable ones for the city market or the extra large jumbo one that can hold 36 rolls of toilet paper and a college fridge as one cruises the aisles of the megastore. Interestingly, culture plays a role in the style of shopping carts too. Americans and French consumers, tend to shop less often so their carts tend to be jumbo in order to accommodate the large grocery run. If one lives on the Mediterranean Sea, most likely a more expensive plastic basket will be the receptacle of choice as the metal is more likely to corrode in the high humidity.

Another factor to consider is generational. Does a family of five really require the same cart size as a millennial or a senior? With the increase in twin births more twoseaters are available or outfitted with different seat options to accommodate different aged children. Of course the cart outfitted as a small, child-sized cart is available as well. These options help to develop customer loyalty at a very young age. There is also a variety of combo carts working to meet the needs of all customers. There’s the smaller cart with the removable basket on top with room for larger items on the bottom. Baby boomers are aging and a basket that looks much like a walker with wheels has a small seat and “feature[s] an integrated brake as well as magnifying glasses and brackets for bags and canes”. Retailers are also more aware of shoppers who bring those who are disabled to their stores. In Germany, “a barrier free” model is being offered to those who have children with physical disabilities. Imagine a cart without a push bar but an open seat with the child facing the parent. Two handles are used to push the cart throughout the store.

Surely carts will gain some high tech features soon? Ah, fear not! The smart cart isn’t for just the internet anymore. There are already carts out there “with a navigation, search and payment function… Digital signage solutions that can be integrated into the cart-at the handle or the front-add display pricing as well as add up the total amount… They are either simple barcode scanners or smart labels that have already been attached to the the products during production and simply need to be deposited in the basket”. And, like the smart car, the smart cart is coming. A Portuguese company, Follow Inspiration, showcased a prototype cart that was self-driving, had facial recognition that faithfully follows its shoppers throughout the store. Autonomous grocery carts, who’d have thought?



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Is that a…food truck? Nope. It’s a pop-up shop. On wheels. That’s right-a pop-up shop.


If pop-ups didn’t want to go the way of the flash mob then they needed to add more dimension to their typical model. Pop-ups are, by their nature, seen as more creative, more cutting edge, more je nais se quoi - hence the pop-up motorized vehicle. Consumers expect something more unique and specialized from a pop-up than a traditional brick and mortar. "For example, 61% of shoppers list seasonal products as the main reason to shop at a pop-up store, according to a Pop-up Republic poll. Popup shoppers also are looking for unique services/products, localized assortments, optimal pricing, convenience and a fun experience.”

The key to all of this is to choosing the right the model. There’s the store-within-the-store that is often the easiest and most economical. Major retailers such as Best Buy or J. Crew partner with relevant brands “to introduce their products in an atypical store offering, with the goal of broadening their appeal among new consumers”. Nordstrom inverted the model with a “Pop-In@Nordstrom” and introduced luxury products from Liberty, a London based store, allowing them to sneak in the back door to a brick and mortar store. The advantage to these store-within-a-store is that there are fewer labor costs.

Finding your target audience builds the success of these gems. Location, location, location…it’s the holy grail of real estate. So, too, it is with retail. Due to the short expiration date of this kind of store, its placement in relation to its potential shoppers is crucial. “Tailor your location not necessarily to heavily populated areas of towns or cities, but rather go into places where your target market exists and build a following that way.” Marketing also plays a pivotal role in the outcome of these shops. Social media is a pop-ups best friend. Marketing utilizing bloggers and “unofficial spokespersons” and “influencers who are advocates of the company’s message and products”.

Underneath all the glitz and the guerilla marketing the success of the pop-up is measured in people. Of course immediate sales are a fine metric but ultimately, it’s the cultivating of future customers and making connections beyond the product.



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The NEW Mall
The mall of tomorrow has arrived today!


It bears little resemblance to the Muzak induced ones of yesteryear. This mall offers itself up as providing community experiences, fitting rooms that can be personalized, and apps that actually improve the parking experience (as opposed to just being fun to play with). Think the Jetsons, only with sleeker animation.

Maybe you’ve seen them at outdoor malls: the stand-alone glass cube rising amongst the buildings. One week it’s parading as a demonstration spot in the mall, the next week it’s dressed up as a pop up store. This is Westfield Labs brainchild named Bespoke.

Westfield is working hard to create new ways for shoppers to use malls. These spaces in malls “allow traditional online companies the chance to try out brickand-mortar in a safe space”. Westfield isn’t the only one mixing it up. Been to a mall lately? Gone is the row of traditional stores and instead you might find yoga classes being offered or a gym instead of a cavernous department store. Food courts are being replaced with popular restaurants and even “a web-based food ordering service that allows local residents and office workers to get delivery from the mall”. Bye, bye One Potato, Two Potato...

And, of course, technology is part of the scaffolding of this new mall order. (But you knew that, didn’t you?) Let’s start with finding a parking place-hey, let’s not! There are now apps that enumerate parking options and personalized parking reminders to eliminate endless wandering after a day of shopping. Count on Rebecca Minkoff to take her store to an even higher level. Shoppers are offered a “connected glass shopping wall” that invites them to change the lighting in the dressing room (sigh), “to questioning sales associates — who are updated via RFID tags as to what’s in the fitting rooms and can fetch similar items”. Nordstrom now outfits its stores with kiosks for easy returns. It’s hoping the stress-free return trip encourages consumers to walk deeper into the store and explore.

The real trailblazers are companies such as Tesla parking their showrooms in the mall. We’re not talking about the sexy sports car parked near the entrance. We’re saying there’s a full-fledged-look-at-the-new-electric-car-Pops! Store inside the mall. Or what about those randomly placed outdoor kitchens? These are the sirens meant to woo the online consumer back to the mall. It’s what the internet isn’t: face-to-face human contact creating a community by taking a cooking class and reconnecting again-just like you used to do outside the Just Pants Store.



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