+100%-

IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

A Tailored Shopping Experience

  • 30 Dec 2013
A Tailored Shopping Experience
Shopping is getting personal and retailers are recognising that creating a more personalised experience will not only improve customer satisfaction but also increase sales.  Technology and the advances in it are fundamental to this providing an ability to track and monitor a customer’s online behaviour.  Using a combination of techniques in online, social media and spending patterns a consumer profile can be established and a personal experience be created. Mobile and tablet devices are expected to play a growing role in customer insight and eDigitalResearch suggests it is therefore imperative that brands and agencies work together to create a seamless and robust mobile optimised strategy. Consumers are looking for a flawless experience, whether it be when they are researching, purchasing or receiving a delivery; they want retailers to deliver a seamless, omni-channel brand experience across all touch points. Retailers have long been able to segment consumer data but with the constant evolution of technology it is becoming much easier to not only group consumers according to their likes and dislikes, but filter them as individuals.  It adds another dimension to online shopping, helping customers locate relevant products quickly, and ultimately leading to further sales.  It provides customers with a more target driven online shopping experience, offering a selection of specially filtered items, by brand, colour and style, in tune with individual tastes. The personalisation of websites connects the consumer with the retailers helping to develop a stronger brand affinity.  It creates a bespoke view of the same website for everyone, making individual consumers feel special.  Product images and site banners can be edited depending on the customer’s preference creating a fully interactive and exclusive experience.  Throughout the industry there is a move to behavioural targeting and it can only be a good thing, helping to keep customers happy and loyal to the brand, checking out with larger shopping baskets.  The future is about bringing a helpful sales assistant in to the digital age, personalising every aspect of the online shopping experience, from the homepage to the delivery.…
Read more
  • 23 Dec 2013
2013 Highlights
It has been a very busy year for Retail Assist in 2013.Not only is it our 15th Year of trading but we’ve had some exciting new product developments and clients on board, so we thought we would provide a recap of our activity throughout 2013. In January we attended the NRF Expo in New York, where we came across omnichannel solutions to facilitate both the personalisation of message and the development of more joined up communications to customers. The Expo gave us a great insight into current solutions available and the future technologies that are available to retailers. In February we gained some new clients, and extended service provision with others.Supermarket retailer Morrisons selected our supply chain solution Merret to support the launch of their new children’s wear brand ‘Nutmeg’. The JacquesVert Group who had recently merged with the ‘Irisa’ group also decided to extend our Merret supply chain solution, already implemented at Jacques Vert, across the entire group of brands.This saw Merret fuelling the supply chain of the entire group, expanding from 4 brands to 9. March saw omnichannel and international growth amongst Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen brands.With the support of our supply chain solution, Merret, we were able to underpin their future strategies with Merret’s inherent omnichannel functionality, scalability and international trading foundations. April was the month of award nominations, being shortlisted in both the ‘Sales and Marketing’ and ‘Company of the Year’ categories at the Nottingham Post Business Awards. We were also shortlisted with Jacques Vert Group Plc in the ‘Supply Chain Excellence’ category at the Retail Week Technology Awards. The results of the Nottingham Post Business Awards were revealed in May, and saw us win Nottinghamshire’s ‘Company of the Year’.We were delighted, as is evident in the video.Check out the winning moment here. Keeping up our award success, in June we were delighted to win the‘Supply Chain Excellence’ category at the Retail Week Technology Awards. In July we held our first ‘Help Desk Advisory Board’.This enabled us to find ways of continually improving our service provision, by developing a closer relationship with end users of our service, allowing us to further understand their requirements. The first ‘Help Desk Advisory Board’ meeting went so well we followed up with a second in August with key topics such as; ring time vs. resolution time, methods of logging calls, help sheet usage and the effectiveness of call categorisation being discussed. With 17th September marking 100 days until Christmas we developed new exclusive research conducted by OnePoll, revealing shopping strategies that consumers planned to use to deal with Christmas shopping.The research concluded that people weren’t shopping online simply to save time and money but to avoid hectic shopping conditions. September also saw us awarded ‘Supplier of the Year’ at the Best Food Logistics (Formerly Bidvest) and 3663 internal awards. This was a fantastic achievement for us, and one we were very proud of as we were put forward by Best Food Logistics themselves, and subsequently won from the…
Read more
  • 16 Dec 2013
What’s Under Your Tree?
Christmas is just around the corner, and everyone seems to be getting into the festive spirit. With just over a week to go until Christmas Day, there is still plenty of time to get into the Christmas swing of things and finish your festive shopping. We have loads of great ideas from our clients to help you stuff those stockings and bulk out those Christmas trees. Karen Millen – White Stuff – Oasis – Whistles – Cath Kidston – Paperchase – Coast – The White Company – Jacques Vert – Warehouse Hopefully with the help of our clients we have inspired you to finishing your Christmas shopping.Once it’s all bought and wrapped there is plenty of mulled wine to be drunk and mince pies to be munched. Maybe a trip to our client Vue Cinema’s is in order to relax and unwind.We recommend ‘Frozen’ for a family festive evening. It is the latest magical and hilarious Disney extravaganza. If you enjoyed ‘Tangled’ then you will love ‘Frozen’.…
Read more
  • 9 Dec 2013
Returns this Christmas
Dealing with returns is an age old issue. One that is definitely highlighted following Christmas sales. With the ever growing world of online shopping mirroring the growth in returns, Drapers has found that returns easily run between a staggering 30% to 40% for most multichannel retailers. It’s a regular occurrence for people to buy two identical items in different sizes, to try on once received, or buy two items and deciding when they have been delivered which one they prefer. The accessibility to online shopping with the developments in mobile and tablet technology is posing part of the problem, simple to do but doesn’t allow you to touch, try or smell a product, before committing to a purchase. Improving returns systems isn’t simply about saving money but also about targeting waste of clothing, packaging and time. Items don’t just go back on sale, but often need relabeling, and repacking. A robust system needs to be in place able to manage the payment of refunds and reprocess stock back in to the supply chains as-quickly-as possible, without a swift turn around returns could result in a lost sale and wasted stock. To help tackle this problem many retailers are working on developing their websites to provide a more in depth product summary and photography that boasts 360 degrees, panoramic views of the items on sale as well as virtual fitting room technology. There is also data available that tries to second guess what customers want.  However, this approach carries its own flaws, including; variations in people’s sizes, tastes and shopping for others. Finding a way to minimise returns is proving to be essential, and an efficient returns system needs to be an integral consideration in any omnichannel strategy. It has to be as important as the actual selling of goods. The perfect returns strategy needs to strike the right balance. A too liberal approach can prove to be too costly for the retailer, having a direct impact on profitability. A to stringent policy, however, will help to keep the cost of returns down, but means retailers could risk turning customers away. Providing hassle free returns to customers helps to further develop the trust between customer and brand, helping to maintain relationships and securing potential future sales.…
Read more
Getting IT Right Internationally
  • 4 Dec 2013
Getting IT Right Internationally
Our Nottingham head office is a ‘hub’ of activity, with our Managed Services division now providing IT support to retail clients across 19 countries. Not only does our Help Desk support team provide around the clock cover, but are also fluent in 7 languages, enabling us to provide support to store staff wherever they are in the world, regardless of time zone or country. In addition to providing Managed Services to multiple markets, Retail Assist’s implementation team has also been clocking up the air miles.  This has been through our support to Karen Millen, Oasis, Warehouse and Coast, rolling out new store systems across four countries. This project involved replacing existing store systems with Retail Assist’s data exchange, retail communications and polling solution, Ra-X.  All of which was completed within six weeks. Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist’s Managed Services Division comments; “Leaps forward in technology, in particular through wi-fi and cloud computing, now make roll out of international retail operations into new territories less technically demanding. In the past, retailers would need to deal with multiple telecoms operators and overcome technical challenges caused by variations in the local infrastructure in place in each market.  Now retailers can host their entire information system in the cloud, with stores accessing and exchanging data simply through a tablet device connected to the internet through wi-fi.” “We expect Retail Assist to deliver increased levels of international activity, not just from retailers expanding their store network, but also due to our Help Desk’s international language support, aiding international growth plans. This, along with our ability to provide remote desktop systems support, from our Nottingham based hub, allows retailers from across the globe to benefit from our expertise.”…
Read more
  • 2 Dec 2013
Can Click-and-Collect Help the High Street?
Rapid evolution of the retail world has seen mobile and tablet technology shape the way people shop.  With convenience high on peoples agendas ‘click-and-collect’ has become a core part of the shopping experience.  Whilst not necessarily a new phenomenon ‘click-and-collect’ has grown in popularity over the last couple of years. Research by Econsultancy has shown that 79% of customers have used this service within the past year. It has seen the merging of boundaries between retailer’s bricks and mortar stores and the internet.  The collection option is helping the bricks and mortar store to draw customers back in, offering an increasingly important role for stores to play in the omnichannel retail world. The process is increasing customer loyalty, face to face contact and helping to generate a more personalised shopping experience.  Tradedoubler research states that 38% of people who find a product on their computer or smartphone still prefer to make their final purchase in store, thus underpinning the importance of the store whilst offering customers a multichannel experience. With many retailers offering the approach of ‘any product, anywhere, anytime’ customers expectations are continually rising.  Whilst many of the options are convenient for customers it is often very challenging for the retailers, and not always cost effective.  However with additional sales often made in store whilst collecting online orders, click-and-collect is making users of this service a valuable asset to have, whilst also facilitating the omnichannel journey for the customer. With the continued predicted growth of online shopping and subsequently click-and-collect, it will become the norm for customers to expect same day services, 90 minute delivery options, and localised deliveries.  Click-and-collect is just one of many solutions aimed at offering convenience and the ability to shop the brand not just one particular channel.  Time will tell how much customers continue to use this service as delivery options become more favourable vs the opening hours of stores, and potential parking costs associated with collecting in store. Shopping will still remain a leisure activity that the online world simply cannot compete with.  Traditional shopping behaviour is changing, and as such, so is the role of the store.  Click-and-collect is helping stores right now, but as always its future looks set to change, so retailers must be prepared and ready to evolve when the time is right.…
Read more
  • 25 Nov 2013
How is technology impacting on our high street?
With the emergence and accessibility of omnichannel technology we are increasingly shopping more with our fingers than our feet. We are becoming habitual online shoppers, making smartphones and tablets the shopping accessory.  But how does this new adoption of the internet and mobile technology affect retailers, and are there any repercussions on the bricks and mortar of retail today? Customers can now shop an entire brand in an instant by way of websites, apps or social media. Technology is seemingly keeping customers out of the stores and away from the high streets. However, there are ways that technology keeps customers coming back into stores. Click and collect provides a way to get more customer information, and to create a link between online and bricks and mortar, making the store, the focal point. Technology and the high street need this balance. Pricing needs to be kept consistent across all channels so customers gain a true omnichannel experience across the brand and do not cannibalise sales between the channels. As more customers continue to shop online, taking advantage of multichannel ease, expectations of the service they receive will naturally go up.  Retailer supply chains must begin to adapt and evolve faster, being able to offer more accurate windows of localised delivery and a more personalised shopping experience. Not only to keep their customers, but also remain competitive within the market. The role of the store will never diminish fully, but will have to keep evolving.  The entire brand, including every part of the supply chain will have to work together in sync, using data received about customers from every channel to provide a personal and tailored service. As access to smartphones and tablets increases, the larger the potential of securing a sale. There is much talk of the high street becoming a show room for customers who then go and buy online.  However much of the joy of shopping is when we get to interact physically with our product, feeling the material and engaging with fashion. Shopping is an experience, a social event or even the opportunity to blow off a little steam and that feeling can never be filled by browsing pictures on a computer. Technology is a socially accepted norm, and the instant access to an ever changing world of trends, product and innovation has transformed everyday life.  However we are a long way from seeing the high street store disappear, and the phrase “shop until you drop” luckily won’t be leaving our lexicon just yet.…
Read more
  • 18 Nov 2013
National Christmas Jumper Day
This year it is all about the Christmas jumper.  As long as it’s knitted and has a large novelty image on the front you can’t go far wrong.  With National Christmas Jumper day fast approaching, Friday 13th December 2013, we at Retail Assist can’t wait to join in with the craze and will be sure to share some snaps of our office efforts, so keep an eye out for those. In recent years we have seen Christmas jumpers turn a massive style corner and research in Drapers magazine shows that Christmas jumpers are set to be more popular than the infamous onesie.  Retailers have evidently cottoned on to this new trend and are revving up for their popularity this year, with the selection on offer being quite astounding.  From Robins to Reindeers with flashing noses, and more subtle snowflake designs on offer there is definitely a style out there to suit everyone. So forget the dreaded hand knitted gift from granny and embrace the Christmas jumper.  Christmas simply isn’t right without one, so go and get yours now.  We have included some of our favourites from our client’s stores for you to take a look at below. Oasis Jumper Cath Kidston Jumper New Look Jumper…
Read more
ORWA 2014 Small Banner JPEG
  • 14 Nov 2013
Retail Assist and Jacques Vert Group Plc shortlisted for the ‘Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014’
We are delighted to announce that Retail Assist has been shortlisted with our client Jacques Vert Group Plc at the forthcoming Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014, in the ‘Re Think Technology Initiative of the Year category’. The project involved a large scale international implementation of Merret across all nine brands of the Jacques Vert Group. This was completed over a short time frame, delivered on time and under budget, making its completion a huge achievement for everyone involved. As a result the Jacques Vert Group can now provide true omnichannel retailing, supplying customers through their central stock pool regardless of channel, offering seamless and effective trading. Alan Morris, Retail Assist Executive Chairman comments: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this well recognised and high profile event in the retail calendar.  Just the fact that we have been nominated is a great accolade and we look forward to our continued partnership with Jacques Vert, supporting them now and moving forward into the future.” The Retail Week Awards looks for a high level of excellence and innovation, searching for retailers that continue to go the extra mile to stand out.  It also provides a great opportunity to celebrate all that is great about British retailing.  The 2014 winner of ‘Technology Initiative of the Year’ will be announced on the evening of Thursday 13th March 2014.  The ceremony is being held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.…
Read more
  • 11 Nov 2013
We’re Pinterested
Last year we dedicated an entire post to our love of Pinterest. This year, we still can’t get enough. A great tool for sharing a bit of our company personality, we use it primarily to share a bit of ourselves with our clients, and also to connect with retailers all around the world using beautiful images of the things we love – be it puppies, clothes, or quotes about shopping. In case you haven’t found us over there yet, we can be found by clicking here, and below is a summary of our 5 favourite boards. Celebrity Style: Because no-one does it better than a celebrity LBD: To help you find your perfect little black dress Retail Quotes: Because these words are from people that understand our love for shopping Food: We love to eat Office pets: Because we don’t have one, but we really, really want one… Happy pinning!…
Read more
site maintained by we are coda