Facial Recognition Technology In store ‘Creepy For Most UK Shoppers’

Businesses using retail hardware support that are considering using facial recognition technology in their stores in the UK so as to display product recommendations based on age and gender may want to think again.

This is because new research from RichRelevance has found that seven out of ten shoppers in the UK consider this to be creepy, while 76 per cent feel much the same way when they’re greeted by their names when entering a store because their phones have signalled their entrance.

That said, the personalised shopping experience does have some appeal for consumers in the country. It was found that 72 per cent of those asked thought that personalisation of product recommendations based on shopping habits was ‘cool’, while 63 per cent liked having a personalised map on their smartphones showing them where items were located in store.

RichRelevance’s Diane Kegley said: “Personalisation in the form of facial recognition or personal greeting at store entrance may not be welcome, but we’re seeing a trend of younger consumers who are open to a connected shopping experience—receiving recommendations delivered within their personal space like dressing rooms and smartphones, and allowing in-store tracking if it means getting a better deal.”

This comes after the British Retail Consortium found that digital sales for the retail industry were up by 9.9 per cent in May – suggesting that technology will have an increased role to play for retailers and businesses as the years go on. Focusing on this at this time could well prove beneficial.

School Summer Holidays 'Affecting Home Businesses'

If you run a business from home, possibly making good use of retail system services, you may well see your operations affected by the summer school holidays, with new research revealing that it costs business owners in the UK around £658 million over the six-week break.

Conducted by Direct Line for Business, the study found that 60 per cent of home business owners that have dependent children will take time away from work to spend time with their youngsters, with people investing four working hours each day to make up for the amount of time they are away from the office to look after their kids.

However, while home businesses may face some financial difficulties as a result, the survey also found that many children benefit greatly from being exposed to the world of business. In all, 30 per cent of parents said that their youngsters picked up entrepreneurial skills and 27 per cent of kids learned the value of work.

"Running a business from home requires blood, sweat and sometimes tears. If you add taking care of children to the mix, running a home business becomes ever harder," business manager at Direct Line for Business Jane Guaschi observed.

Balancing work with family during the summer holidays can be difficult but don't try to multitask and work while your kids are around, clamouring for your attention. Focus on one or the other at any one time - and don't be afraid to ask friends or family to help with childcare if you need to concentrate on the business.

FSB & Young Enterprise Team Up To Promote Business Education

The next generation of entrepreneurs is being supported by a collaboration between Young Enterprise and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – so expect even more fledgling businesses making use of EPOS system services in the future.

Teenagers from Birkenhead, Bristol, East Ham, Edinburgh, Arfon and Chatham, as well as other areas across the country, will be given the opportunity to run their own business in a bid to emphasise the importance of a vocational education to those from more disadvantaged areas.

Small business owners will volunteer their time and experience to serve as mentors for students regarding their companies, with each new business lasting for the academic year.

“This partnership is crucial because businesses are concerned that young people aren't prepared for the world of work. Engaging with employers, education providers and young people is a proven way to remedy this. Research has proven that if a pupil has four or more interactions with a business while at school, they are five times more likely to find themselves in education or training after school,” national chairman of the FSB John Allan said.

Young entrepreneurs just setting out on their own should ensure that they start businesses that are built around their own particular set of talents and strengths if they are to ensure success. Making sure that your heart is in what you’re doing is one sure-fire way of helping to guarantee that your first company gets off the ground quickly – and stays there. You can find more tips for going it alone on the Entrepreneur website.

Summer BBQs ‘Cost £520 On Average’

Businesses making use of retail system services would do well to focus on their summer products at this time, as new research has just revealed that the average Brit will spend £520 on barbecues this year.

According to TopCashback.co.uk, one in three people believe summer to be the most expensive season, with the majority hosting four barbecues during the warmer months and spending £100 on each one – although 18 per cent of the population will spend up to £300 hosting a barbecue for family and friends.

On top of holding four barbecues, they’ll also go to four, spending £30 on gifts, drink and food each time. Yet money worries are ever-present it would seem, with 40 per cent concerned that they won’t have enough cash to cover their summer expenditure.

“Summer can easily be an expensive season as we do more activities outside to make the most of the inviting weather, which can drive up costs with barbecues, picnics, days out and visits to amusement parks,” consumer affairs editor with the company Natasha Rachel Smith said.

Retailers can make the most of people’s willingness to spend at this time of year by promoting their barbecue-related products and ensuring that they’re seen. Even businesses that don’t necessarily sell barbecue goods can get in on the act – for example, clothes companies could come up with the perfect outfit for a barbecue and market that instead.

Alternatively, music retailers could come up with the perfect summer playlist to play at a barbecue and use that to market their new range of stereos.

Online Retail Sales ‘Up 9.9% In May’

Digital sales in the retail sector grew by 9.9 per cent in May, the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have revealed – great news for anyone making use of retail IT systems at this time.

However, compared with the previous year the growth is not as accelerated. In 2013, web-based sales of non-food products were up by 17 per cent – which is why May 2015 is lagging behind the yearly average growth of 11.9 per cent.

Director-general of the BRC Helen Dickinson observed that in the last year, the internet has contributed to more growth for non-food sales than in actual physical stores, rewarding the investments that businesses have put into new avenues in the last couple of years.

“Positive consumer confidence was illustrated in May by good growth in big ticket items such as furniture and domestic appliances, particularly online,” she said.

Digital growth in household appliances and furniture was up over its performance in April, it was also found, although because May 2014 saw such strong sales in fashion categories it appeared to suffer this year.

This comes after the BRC found that consumers in the UK are increasingly using their smartphones to make purchases online, especially when it comes to shopping for clothes. In April, it was found that the number of those using their phones to hunt for clothes was up by 54 per cent compared with the same time a year ago. In addition, tablet searches were seen to be up by 11 per cent over the same period.

Preparing For Peak Seasonal Sales

Businesses that use retail system services should make sure they are prepared to deal with seasonal peaks in demand.

The summer sees some peak in demand, for example for travel items, so make sure you are prepared by following these tips.

Stock up

Products that sell well in the summer include, travel medicines for example: antihistamines, sun cream, beach wear and luggage.

In the run up to Christmas you would also need to make sure you have seasonal favourites in, as well as any other well selling stock. The Christmas rush is unpredictable and you need to maximise sales at this time.

Make sure you also have enough petty cash in the till, till-rolls and any branded packaging you use, for example, carrier bags.

Clean up               

In order to function efficiently during peak sales periods you need to make sure that your work space and sales space is as clear as possible. Now is the time to rationalise your stock and clear out those boxes from the back.

You also need to focus on making your sales space as welcoming as possible so that you are an attractive prospect to customers.

Get staff in

You will need extra sales staff over periods of high demand, so make sure that you either have extra staff you can call, or a contingency plan. Some businesses ban holidays during peak period times, and you could consider doing this too. It is best to give your staff some warning that this is what you will be doing.

Read more about preparing for retail peaks in Retail Week

Best Retail Blogs To Follow

Small businesses looking to brush up on industry news should follow these blogs to find out more about industry trends and predictions.

National Retail Federation Blog

Written by the retail group this covers industry news and trends and in depth analysis pieces. It includes interviews with big players and case studies with smaller ones.

New Retail Blog

This blog covers brand, marketing and strategy. Make sure you read this if you are planning a rebrand any time soon, or planning any major projects.

CrossCap’s Retail Marketing Blog

This is another great retail blog for businesses planning on overhauling their marketing strategies or looking to make sure theirs is up to scratch.

This blog is particularly good at focusing on cross-channel marketing.

Retail Customer Experience Blog

An American website but with some universally good advice on customer care. With articles on everything from transparency through to customer loyalty, there is a wealth of advice on this website. They have a wide number of retail experts sharing their knowledge about their industry and what has worked well for them. This is a great site for anyone looking to overhaul strategy.

The Retail Doctor

Bob Phipps is an industry expert and shares his wealth of knowledge on this website. He covers issues from staffing through to expansion and has a particular interest in improving customer care and the customer experience. A number of case studies accompany his blog posts which explain clearly how to achieve best practice in your business.  

Award winning customers

Retail Response is proud to announce that one of our end-to-end support service customers, Beaconsfield Footwear (trading as Hotter Shoes) has been named Manufacturing Company of the Year at the 2015 Insider 'Made in the North West' awards.

Based in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, Hotter Shoes manufactures more shoes per year than any other UK-based footwear company. 

You can read more about this story here.

Congratulations, Hotter! 

 

 

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