London, 07/09/2020 – Flowers & Plants Co. have announced the launch of their autumn collections. The new lines feature both horticultural and floral designs, with a range of gifts and exclusively imported products also available.
The company, based in Kensington, London, have emerged during the Covid-19 crisis as one of the floristry sector’s few success stories. Formed in 2020, the business has made inroads into traditional markets and completed significant gains under difficult conditions. The move towards home-delivery and online shopping has helped accelerate the pace of the success, as Freddie Bettles Lake, the Head of Commerce, said at a recent store-opening. ‘We’re very happy to be fairing as well as we are at the moment. The climate is extremely difficult for retailers of every kind and there are obvious problems with staffing, supply chain and Covid-19 regulations.’
The launch of the new collections is hoped to push sales on for the company and help tempt customers back onto the high street. ‘The new collections are packed with innovative designs and arrangements,’ J. Jones, Head of Development said, ‘and we’re really looking to provide a fresh and dynamic narrative for customers visiting our store. The season is all about bright colours and bold design choices, whether it’s floral arrangements or in our range of planted gifts.’
Consumers and businesses in the UK are facing a tough autumn and winter, with the run-up to Christmas already looking to be more crucial than ever for struggling companies. Flowers & Plants Co., for their part, are looking to move into the lucrative houseplant market in order to negate any loss in sales prompted by the Covid-19 downturn. Their new collection of exclusive plants features exotic varieties as well as all the household favourites. And the message from the company’s Head of Commerce is clear, ‘we’re looking to diversify as much as possible. Moving into the horticultural supply market is one way of covering for potential problems in the future. I think it’s extremely important for our company and I’m excited to be involved in the drive to bring customers quality plants and flowers at competitive prices.’
Flowers & Plants Co. are based in Kensington. Their store, part of a collaboration with Whole Foods Market, is now open and stocking plants and plants from the new collections.
The Future of Retail – Stay Shut or Get Creative V#4
With some normality returning to the retail sector, 50% of brands are keeping their doors shut. What is the future of retail and the high street as we know it? What must businesses do to remain competitive, whilst staying in business? David Blackburn, founder of www.MarketingQuotes.co.uk comments.
The retail landscape had been failing for several years, with the casualties including many of the nation’s favourite shops, with Mothercare, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Patisserie Valerie and Marks & Spencer among those that have been forced to close or downsize in response to changing consumer habits. Now with retail centres open again, 50% of brands have their doors firmly shut, as many tenants have negotiated zero rents with landlords for the remainder of 2020, and into 2021. If their doors do open, rents are due and furloughed staff would need to return to work.
With less footfall in underpopulated retail centres, many consumers are not coming back, not enjoying the experience. COVID-19 has fast forwarded the demise of the retail landscape by 5 years, and retail will never ever be the same again. In January it was predicted that in 2020 more than 17,000 stores would close their doors for good in. Now mid COVID, that figure is predicted to rise.
In the UK 82% of consumers have shopped online at some point. 10 years ago, that figure was mid 50%, with the UK having one of the highest ecommerce retail activity in Europe. In December 2019 over 21% of all retail sales were on line, representing £1-in-every-£5 spent, according to the Office of National Statistics. Again, due to COVID that percentage has increased.
Retailers now need to adapt and change within this evolving landscape. Retail spaces were once destinations where the shopping experience partnered with the hospitality sector. Now with cinema’s, café’s, bars, restaurants, and gym’s closed, 2020 may herald the death of the shopping centre or retail park.
Intu Properties, one of Britain’s largest shopping centre operators, recently appointed accountancy firm KPMG as administrator to make a “contingency plan” for administration, if it cannot reach an agreement with its creditors for the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, which may close, asking the question, who is next?
How can all retailers plan for survival? The online marketplace is the future! To be competitive retailers must allow shoppers to purchase online, not relying on shoppers walking into a store. No longer seen as fashionable, M&S is ditching its clothing stores as they have lost the eye of the consumer. However they are also victims of the digital revolution. In a recent TV interview, M&S was criticised for its arrogance, with an executive being quoted as saying, ‘You know, we don’t really need to go onto the internet. People like to come into a store’. Is this a case of RIP for M&S?
What can retailers do? The key to recovery is a change in thinking, a change of business model, new propositions, and a review of the retail landscape. New emerging retailers no longer want the burden of long leases in shopping centres and retail parks, requiring flexible and mixed retail spaces, preferring pop-ups, markets, tertiary retail space, smaller retail units and more importantly, a solid on-line presence.
The key is ‘re-marketing’ and the need to be to be competitive. All retailers must have a strong web and e-commerce presence, with the ability for shoppers to ‘buy on line’ either for despatch by mail, or for ‘click & collect’.
Morrisons recently opened its cafes as takeaways, launching a new hot-food-to-go service in all 402 of its Cafés nationwide, becoming UK’s biggest fish and chip retailer, selling 2 million portions each year. Now with a tie up with Deliveroo, this true lateral thinking gives the customers what they want, which is food on the table, when they want it, delivered to home. With physical space being so expensive, crippling rents and business rates place additional financial pressures on retailers, brands can seek alternative ways to operate. Argos did this, leaving their stand-alone retail environment, and piggybacking ‘in-store’ with Sainsbury.
What will the future high street look like? The demise of the shopping centre could herald the rise of the high street, providing exemplary retail spaces, residential accommodation, and all the amenities that modern consumers desire, at affordable rents. The high street has the potential to become a new community space, where people can live, work and play in one social arena.
Town centres and high streets can be at the forefront of engagement in their communities, listening to what people want as opposed to giving them what they think they want. Introduce more living space into central locations, make parking free to encourage further footfall. With workers reluctant to commute into cities post COVID, high streets could offer ‘work hub’s supported by local authorities, with coffee shops, grab and go food options, dry cleaners, heel bars, small independent retailers, and an eclectic mix of retail, providing a more intimate and pleasing environment.
Technology will be the tool that will transform the town centre, meeting the many different consumer needs, offering everything from free Wi-Fi to improved transport links and electric car charging points. But it seems the key to revitalising the high street lies in the heart of the high street itself – with the people who shop, work, and live there.
Written by: David Blackburn, founder of Marketing Quotes, providing businesses with FIVE Agency Quotes for FREE. E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.MarketingQuotes.co.uk
London – June 2020: ContactPigeon, the all-in-one omnichannel customer engagement platform which specializes in the retail industry, with clients in Europe and North America, published a report about the top eCommerce trends during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Using 30+ million eCommerce transactions across all key product verticals captured within ContactPigeon’s platform during the period between January and April 2020, the report analyzes the weekly shopping patterns of consumers as a direct result of COVID-19 driven quarantine measures. The company used Visual Recognition AI technology to identify over 100K products across hundreds of retailers to consistently categorize the product by its vertical for most reliable insights.
Key insights of the report: ● The market is shifting: The global COVID 19 pandemic, retail and eCommerce businesses are facing new challenges in consumer behavior in spending, where they shop, and their product mix.
● Ecommerce benefited during forced closure: Weekly eCommerce sales during the mandatory store closure period have increased by 61% compared to the weekly average during pre-closure period.
● Average order value (A.o.V.) has grown by 31%: During this period consumers added more products on their baskets and spent more vs the pre-closure period.
● Top 3 eCommerce product categories: Entertainment (236%), Stationery & Hobbies (204%), and Food & Beverages (167%) were the categories with the biggest month over month change in revenue.
● Fashion’s wallet share shrunk by -17% during the lockdown
“During the lockdown, the eCommerce penetration skyrocketed nearly to every affected country and market. Understanding the latest online consumer behavior that COVID-19 shaped is vital for retailers and eCommerce businesses that aim to build a more resilient retail business and recover from the current crisis” – George Moirotsos, Founder & CEO, ContactPigeon
About ContactPigeon ContactPigeon is a VC-backed customer engagement platform that empowers retailers to grow sales and customer retention with personalized, behavioral-driven, and high-converting messages. Founded in 2014, ContactPigeon operates across the US and EU and is trusted by more than 300 brands including L’OREAL, The Body Shop, Fujitsu, and others.
Contacts Joyce Qian, 1-800-490-1732 Head of Strategy & Growth
The long haul specialist travel agency, SN Travel, is delighted to announce the appointment of Max Ali as General Manager for their Homeworking Retail Division.
Max Ali brings with him 30 years of experience within the travel sector. Previously working for EFR Travel as Product & Commercial Director as well as Head of Regional Contracting for Totalstay /Jac Travel. Max Ali has held a number of positions for companies including Epos Hotel Marketing, Rocco Forte Hotels, Alitalia and Monarch airlines. With his wealth of experience spanning accommodation, aviation, leadership and sales, SN Travel are pleased to welcome him to their growing team.
Max Ali commented “I am really excited to be joining the business at this moment of growth as we are looking to offer our homeworkers competitive commission levels, state of the art booking technology and comprehensive training.”
SN Travel is looking to expand their Homeworking Travel division and is currently recruiting experienced long haul travel agents and cruise specialists looking for the flexibility of working from home to join the team. As General Manager for the Homeworking Retail Division, Max Ali will be responsible for the strategy and implementation of this entire sector of the business.
Director of SN Travel, Sandra Dyer shared “Max is the perfect fit for the business, he has an impressive track record and extensive experience so we are thrilled to have him onboard. He brings with him incredibly strong knowledge from many areas within the travel sector so he will be an asset to the team. We have lots of ambitious plans to grow and develop the business and Max will play a key role in rolling this out.”
SN Travel has been established for over 45 years and were pioneers in Caribbean travel. Recently shortlisted for Best Independent Travel Agents and Best Caribbean Package Holidays in the prestigious British Travel Awards, SN Travel has shown huge growth over the past years and has widened their remit to include many long haul destinations, weddings abroad and cruise holidays.