Gunnebo Business Solutions, Gunnebo Retail Solution, Reflections, Retail, Sustainability

NRF: Sustainable retail, a vital next step

I came to New York in a jacket I bought second hand for EUR 25 in my hometown Ålesund. It is nice, warm and comfortable – and this is what is important to me. If 60-70% of your closet is not used, why not sell it so someone else can benefit from it?

It is a constant source of pleasure to me as I discover that some of my ideals are being put forth as visionary in the retail industry, which I am passionate about. In this year’s NRF, sustainability is one of the key points being discussed and an aspect of it is promoting of re-sale/second hand goods. It’s quite exciting to be a part of this and I will be sharing it all with you.

Young woman is browsing a rail of clothes at mall store

 

Visionary Voices of Ambition, Purpose and Inclusion

The keynote that caught my attention was with four strong female top managers, Mercedes Abramo from Cartier, Shannon Schuyler from PwC, Shawn Outler from Macy’s and Tammy Sheffer from Rent the Runway.

Revolutionizing businesses (ranging from retail to other industries) requires more than just motivational talk, calculable action is needed to unlock potentials and push the edges of possibility. And when it comes to leading the way, some of the biggest moves are coming from female executives. Progressive voices from the biggest names in retail teamed up with CEO Action leaders to share time-honed tactics and winning strategies that are practical.

Couple working in a bulk food store

There has always been a disparity in the treatment of female employees when compared to their male counterparts. Although informal moments are important, it isn’t quite sad that top female managers are treated different than their male opponents. This isn’t obviously not an issue common only in the retail industry, it’s a humanity issue.

What makes this difference in treatment more worrisome is that females even seem to thrive more in the retail industry since it is flexible work. Retail requires a lot of contact with clients and other entities (suppliers, producers, etc), females on average excel in such roles

Issues like this constitute some of the reasons why top management and CEOs are taking political stands more than ever. CEOs are realizing how powerful their voices are and the influence it yields. Progressive views are embraced by many top executives and they can greatly influence employees.

Retail 2020: The dawn of sustainability

The role of technology in retail has started to change the entire market landscape. It’s easy to imagine the stores of the future with magic mirrors or robotic sales assistants. Yes, there have truly been advancements in the technology used in the retail industry and the dawn of 2020 seems like the time for sustainability. Is sustainability growing to the point that it becomes crucial to your transformation journey? How will brands look to adopt technology and sustainability into their operations? If you are constantly plagued by these questions, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Retail and Consumer Goods, Shelley Bransten’s talk on sustainability and impact of technology on the industry will answer all your questions.  Together with Shelley will be Arti Zeighami, Head of AI & Sustainability for H&M, he will share H&M’s sustainability journey and how Microsoft technology equipped them to achieve their sustainability goals. It was good to see Arti again, it was truly an inspiration as always.

Arti noted that retailers are often faced with the question of quantification of product requirement, optimizing supply chain, how much to produce. He also explained that AI in H&M helps perform these computations with fantastic results. He went further to speak on some key tools employed in H&M.

Value chain analysis is a strategy tool used to monitor the internal activities of of a business, retailers in this case. Its primary function is to identify the most valuable activities and those that can be modified to enhance competitive advantage. Simply put, looking into internal activities through the analysis shows the areas where a retailer’s competitive advantages or disadvantages lie. This analysis can shed light on if a firm needs to improve its activities or reduce the operational costs of such activities.

Sometimes having the right products in the right place at the right time is what makes all the difference. Proper strategies and planning of logistic chain a can greatly improve convenience and and lead to higher ROI. Customers are likely to make purchases when products are close to them. Taking data from multiple systems will offer you totally new insights while employing various data mining techniques and technologies diversified your approach and gives you a broader perspective.

The road to sustainability is bound to have a few bumps; so, Test, fail, learn, pivot – then repeat. Making mistakes are inevitable in retail, turning these mistakes into learning experiences will greatly influence your growth rate. Taking on experiments boldly (within reason) and trying out new technology is highly encouraged.

RE-purpose revolution: Upcycling retail’s future

Sustainability has become a top trend. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be labeled as the savage who’s ruining the earth. One of the impacts of environmentalists is that they have successfully managed to make people feel that being environmentally conscious is the new cool. A similar scenario is is playing out in the cosmetics industry, there has been a big influx towards natural products. Tech and industrial giants have obviously noticed this change and adapted to make themselves to being more environment friendly. It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that retail is shifting towards sustainability.

A lot of retail leaders are doing their best to ensure that they remain relevant and continue to offer their customers sustainable solution. Customers now base their purchase decision on the values of the brand; personal, social and environmental values. It is now clear that to get the best results, then brands have to make purpose-driven decisions that will easily transform the world into a better place. Brands can’t just go around doing what they like. They have to continuously keep the demands of the customer at the back of their mind. It’s only through this re-purpose revolution that the company can reach its peak and keep all of their customers happy. It may seem like a relatively new concept but adopting it is a great choice. So, how do you apply this to your own retail business? The best way to do this would be to learn from the best.

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Hear from some of the most innovative leaders from nimble retailers and break-through digital-first brands who are meeting consumer needs and disrupting the industry.

A fact to always have handy is that consumers are becoming more progressive and conscious; they want to buy second hand, but also need to see something fresh. Customers will willingly buy second hand if it looks appealing enough and satisfies their needs, it’s only a matter  of time before retail leaders set the trend. The growing consumer awareness on sustainability and environmental consciousness are perfect conditions for retailers to slowly introduce the concept of resale. Although a good percentage of this “awareness” in consumers  stems from the urge to look cool and follow trends, it’s  still solid enough for retailers to leverage on.

At some point,  retailers should understand that re-sale does not de-valuate the brand. Among the elite, minimalism and other such ideologies being adopted. These ideologies embraced by high-end customers make them more susceptible to brands that re-sale.

Celebrities sell or give away stuff from their closet that is not used, this on its own should be enough to shed more positive light or re-sale among retailers and customers, shouldn’t it? Resale does not discriminate, the world is ready for second hand sale and those is message that should be preached. The narrative that second hand goods are for the less privileged should be discarded, there’s simply isn’t any logic to it. On the other hand, a wide acceptance of second hand sale will boost the effectiveness and logistics  industries associated with retail.

Another similar idea to re-sale are clothing rental services for luxury items. Brands like Rent The Runway Unlimited, Gwynnie Bee  and New York And Company Closet are already creating significant traction in that field. They work by offering members monthly subscriptions and allowing them  rent 4-6 items at a time, brilliant isn’t it?

Similarly, ReBag is an online store that offers second hand luxury goods. Considering that 92% of luxury item should are bought offline, ReBag switches from online to omnichannel approach to sales. It will be quite interesting to observe the positive effects re-sale will have on brands.

Curious. Distinctive. Uncompromising. Conversations with Recode

Kara Swisher entered the stage with the confidence only she can radiate. New this year, NRF has partnered with Recode to introduce its straight to the point editorial interview style to NRF 2020 Vision’s arena. In this live interview, Recode co-founder and editor-at-large Kara Swisher will leverage her background in tech, media, and commerce to investigate some of the industry’s most pressing challenges, eliciting thought-provoking insights from her soon-to-be-announced interview subject. Swisher has led insightful conversations with likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton, Katrina Lake, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, and many other leading players impacting a broad swath of industries, including retail.

Nothing like a panel of four men talking about women’s clothing

Her “victim for the day” is Ben Silbermann who is an American billionaire Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, a visual discovery engine, which lets users organize images, links, recipes and other things.

Ben gave the audience insight in how Pinterest is created for Inspiration in how to dress, decorate and behave. However Kara pointed out the problems with internet platforms, as they easily become playground for fraud and illegal activities like child pornography. Ben insisted that Pinterest has always had a clear etiquette on contents and are continuously working on enforcing this.

Not wanting to talk too much about the future, Ben could reveal that personalization, and that the consumer should see what they want to see will be important. Also ensuring the confidence of the merchants connected to the platform is important.

Closing KeyNote Goop Lab

The Goop Lab is an upcoming American documentary series about the lifestyle and wellness company, Goop, founded by American actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The series will be premiered on Netflix on January 24, 2020.

Goop started as a newsletter from Gwyneth at a point in her life where she wanted to move from acting into another business. Trying to fill the “whitespace” in her life, she started looking into what she calls Contextual Commerce, a concept where you talk, manufacture and sell what you like and what gives you pleasure.

Gwyneth has been a hot topic the last few weeks with her “Smells Like my Vagina” candle, a topic that amused the american audience here at NRF as well as the customers, as the candle was sold out the first day.

The partnership with Netflix generated criticism of the streaming giant for letting Gwyneth Paltrow use their platform to promote her company which has been under fire for making health claims with no backup evidence. Several critics termed the affair a “win for pseudoscience”. When the first trailer was released, the show received even more notable criticism from the scientific community and evidence-based critics. Gwyneth feels that she is often treated unfairly, but it is not like she wants to take her critics to court, all PR is as you know good PR.

This concludes by visit to NRF, but I will visit EuroShop soon, and look forward to keeping you up to date on what goes on in the world of consumer retail!

 

Reflections, Retail, Sustainability

Sustainability in Retail

Let’s face it, nobody wants to be labeled as the savage who’s ruining the earth. One of the impacts of environmentalists is that they have successfully managed to make people feel that being environmentally conscious is the new cool. A similar scenario is is playing out in the cosmetics industry, there has been a big influx towards natural products. Tech and industrial giants have obviously noticed this change and adapted to make themselves to being more environment friendly. It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that retail is shifting towards sustainability.

Couple working in a bulk food store

What is interesting with sustainability is that it pretty much involves all parts of your life, thus all parts of the retail business. This includes production, logistics, operations to employees consciousness.  Since I work mostly with store operations, I In this post I would like to focus on eco-friendly technology and how this can be implemented in the retail industry.

This brings us to the question, what is eco-friendly technology? Also known as clean tech, green tech and environmental tech, eco-friendly technology can help preserve the environment through energy efficiency and reduction of harmful waste. Green tech innovators use the latest environmental science and green chemistry to reduce the harmful impact of human activity on the earth.

Green technology is still in its beginnings, but lots of interesting innovations have been executed in fields like renewable energy, water purification and waste management, as well as in everyday consumer products like electronics and vehicles. It can be as minute as a hand-held gadget or as immense as a new method of filtering greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Eco-friendly technology often involves Recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable content, plant-based materials, reduction of polluting substances, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy-efficiency, Multi-functionality and Low-impact manufacturing.

Innovations in the field of green technology have included highly efficient LED lights, which could be used to make countless other gadgets more environmentally friendly, as well as promising growth in lesser-known renewable energies like algae oil. Companies such as Dell and Google are taking steps forward with eco-friendly technology in projects ranging from plant-based packaging to vast wind farms.
Eco-friendly technology innovations such as these will continue have a huge impact on tech, especially when implemented by companies with vast consumer base.

Eco-friendly technologies to join the fight against climate change include:

Direct to the Plumbing Rainwater Tanks

The water supply that reaches most businesses may be steady, safe, and clean. The energy used in the processing and distribution phases also comes from fossil fuels and other less-than-ideal sources, and therefore, not exactly eco-friendly. Harvested rainwater directed to a rainwater tank by means of a catchment area and a number of pipes. Since rain, in itself, is clean, it should not take much to purify it. Many of the filters you need in your system do not require energy to run, so it’s safe to say that with a rainwater harvesting system, you get water that’s safe to use without all the wasted energy.

Greywater Recycling Technology

These are best set up together with a rainwater harvesting system, allows one to reuse water that was just used for something else. The water that can be reused by this type of system can be rain or mains.

Solar and Wind Harvesting Technologies

The fact that Earth Hour participants are required to switch off all their home appliances and lights for one hour is proof that the electrical power we use comes from sources harmful to the environment. It is wonderful that a number of multinational companies have made, or are transitioning, to solar and wind harvesting tech. After all, solar power and wind are renewable and clean sources of energy.

LED and CFL Lighting

LED and CFL bulbs are better than older bulbs in three ways. They are brighter, require lesser energy to function, and last longer. There is absolutely no good reason to not use them.

Biodegradable Plastic

While not exactly new technology, just like the above, many companies are still struggling with making the switch to this type of plastic. This is despite the fact that it’s a lot safer for the environment since it does break down in time.
Let us all stop closing our eyes to the effects of climate change on us and our future and join this young girl in making the world a better and safer place for all the life around us. If you don’t believe you can make big changes to your life style, start with little things like taking your own shopping bag to the mall.

Influencers

So why do we see this intense focus on the environment now? The answer is probably complex, but we cannot underestimate the celebrities and influencers putting the science into layman’s terms. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be labeled as the savage who’s ruining the earth.

Environmentalist Greta Thunberg is a major trendsetter who, at age 15, began protesting in front of the Swedish parliament about the need for speedy action to combat climate change. Her “school strike for the climate” began garnering media attention and she has since become an outspoken climate activist.

In the last year, she has become a worldwide phenomenon of the climate change movement. Promoting #fridaysforfuture alongside millions of children across the globe to demand politicians, governments and corporations make positive moves regarding climate change.

people holding up colorful wooden letter lettering forming the words fridays for future isolated on white background. climate change global warming enviromental school protest concept.

Greta has received many prizes and awards for her strides in the improvement of the environment. In 2019, three members of the Norwegian parliament nominated Thunberg for the Nobel Peace Prize. And in May 2019, at the age of 16, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

At a TEDx speech in November 2018, Thunberg said that she first heard about climate change at the age of eight, but could not understand why so little was being done about it. At age 11, she developed depression and stopped talking. Later she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. She added that selective mutism means that she was speaking only when she needed to and that “now is one of those moments. She said, “I feel like I am dying inside if I don’t protest”.

To lower her family’s carbon footprint, Greta insisted on becoming vegan and give up flying. She said she persuaded her parents to give up eating meat by making them feel guilty. “I kept telling them that they were stealing our future.” Thunberg says her teachers are divided in their views about her missing class to make her protest. She muses: “As people they think what I am doing is good, but as teachers they say I should stop.” She was also quoted saying, “Sometimes the world makes so little sense that the only thing to do is engage in civil disobedience—even in a country as attached to its rules and regulations as Sweden is”.

Young woman demonstrating against Climate Change

Siv Skard, Associate Professor at Kristiania University College researches consumer behavior. She highlights that people are always concerned about how others look at them and judge them. This is a great point that can be taken advantage of from a business perspective.

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People are self-centered and if they notice that they are being watched, you can promote concepts like ‘go green’ or ‘go healthy’ which people tend to buy.

So, we might move into a greener future for the wrong reasons, but most important is that we are on the right path!

If you are interested in hearing more about the future of retail operations, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Fashion, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Gunnebo Retail Solution, Louis Vuitton, Retail

Luxury Brands starts their Blockchain Journey

Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci are everything a shopaholic would want. These brands have been classified as the cream of brands that have kept them as the most wanted items. Thus, with the most durable materials and elegant designs, it is hard to resist them. 

Redhead women with shopping bags on parisian background

However, as prices are exorbitant, fake products similar to these brands have begun to exist. These duplicates have been created with so much similarity that it becomes very hard to draw a line between the original and fake. Therefore, the notion of Blockchains became the best solution to tackle this problem at hand.

Fake products and its’ impact on the originals

As mentioned in my previous article, most of these luxury products are hard to afford for a vast majority of people. These products have been aimed at the high-class society who can afford them. 

However, the rationale behind this high price is that these brands focus on customer satisfaction, experience and are very committed to each product that is released. The quality of products is always top-notch which is why the price is a bit steep.

Due to this pressing factor, many duplicates have been created so that others can buy these products as well. In many Asian countries like India, streets are filled with fake and original products that even consumers are not able to distinguish them.

Counterfeit italian bags in the street
Counterfeit Italian bags for sales in the street

In fact, the duplicates come in various categories often sold as original for higher prices but affordable than the originals.  Statistics reveal that counterfeit markets earn up to $450 million a year.

As discussed in my previous article, the issue is that since these products are given at a lower cost, they tend to be of low quality. This, in turn, ruins the reputation of the original that negatively impacts the brands. Therefore, due to this rising concern, customers and business partners as well lose the trust that they have of these luxury brands and end up demanding for refunds or exchanges. 

The worst-case scenario is when they completely stop using the products and give negative reviews that tarnish the image of the brands.

On the other hand, these luxury brands fail to create more unique designs and neglect to think of the betterment of them. Rather, they end up spending time and money solving these quandaries that are a nuisance to them.

Blockchain Technology as a solution 

The Blockchain technology is designed to bring in more transparency to products which proves the authenticity which is what the customers now look for.  The one factor that consumers now look for is the sustainability of products along with authenticity. 

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This is due to the increased vulnerability of paying more and getting their hands on fake products. Consumers are even willing to pay more if the goods are more durable which was revealed in the 2015 Nelson Global Sustainability report. Thus, thanks to Blockchain, it shields these brands from the eyes of fake producers.

One of the blockchain technologies that is worthy to discuss is Curate. It is a decentralized app that gives digital tokens when scanned gives the history and origin of the product. This is vital because most of these luxury brands have set high prices because they do not compromise on quality which fake producers do. 

Brands like Gucci and Zara have begun using this for the benefit of the consumers. Therefore, customers are protected from being exposed to fake producers or buying duplicate products.

This Curate project uses a remote frequency identification system that uses RFID smart tags which assures the authenticity and genuineness of the products. You can scan codes and even see the history of garments or fabrics. 

Another plus point is that it rewards consumers with crypto currencies when they contribute to the platform. You can give positive votes and reviews so that it increases the credibility of the brands and this reward system ensures that the platform is a transparent community not plagued with counterfeits. 

This, in turn, increases sales as well since it portrays the genuineness of products particularly of luxury brands like Louis Vitton which always tends to fall into the hands of fake producers.

Louis Vuitton’s AURA

Another concept that was introduced by the owner of Louis Vuitton is the Aura  which is built using Quorum. It is an Ethereum blockchain and began on June 2019.  This was created to track and authenticate luxury goods. This platform will initially be used by Dior and the luxury handbag brand Louis Vuitton. It will then be open to 60 other luxury brands as well. It is a private blockchain that was developed by JP Morgan and aims to enhance privacy.

Through this platform, customers can see information about the products and the materials used. In this way, users will know the genuineness of the products and its originality will not be an issue. You can even trace the origin from the raw materials until the point of sale and it also protects from fraudulent ads. It is, in fact, the best way to enhance brand authentication.

However there is no specific app for Aura, but it will do its’ job veiled behind the app of the luxury brands.  In a market filled with counterfeited products, Aura is a vital tool to ensure the credibility of original products.

Conclusion

The blockchain technology is a great approach for tracking the genuine product and handling counterfeit markets like India and China who have a history of creating fake products that are very much similar to the original brands. Therefore, Blockchain technology is the remedy to the woes of luxury brands and with this technology, one can feel very confident about the future of luxury brands and its’ reputation untouched by fake producers.

If you are interested in hearing more about the future of retail and bloackchain, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Commercial, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Gunnebo Retail Solution, Innovation, Reflections, Retail

Norwegian Trade Conference; BOPIS + BORIS = True

I had the opportunity to attend the Norwegian Trade Conference in Oslo 24th September featuring some of the most interesting retailers in Norway, and even a couple of international speakers. The focus for this years conference was BOPIS + BORIS = True, but some of the keynotes also focused on traditional retail and omnichannel.

Trade is never a dying concept but rather a constantly changing industry. This rapid change and advancement bought in two e-commerce acronyms to the market. This is none other than BOPIS which is abbreviated for buy online and pick up in-store facility and BORIS which is bought online and return in-store.  So what does this give your business? How does it support customers to have a better shopping experience? These are the questions we intend to answer by the end of this article.

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These new purchasing behaviors have widened the scope of shopping gives more flexibility and convenience to your business. Let’s dig in deeper and see what advantages these new Omni channels provide you with.

From apocalypse to renaissance?

Trade would never reach an apocalypse. Rather, it gives new beginnings just like the renaissance. So, it can be related to it as well.  There is one question that many have in mind when it comes to engaging consumers and maintaining relationships with them further with regards to trade and business. Is trade all about customer experience or it solely based on price? 

Chernobyl - Cash register in abandoned store
Old rusty cash register on the floor of an abandoned store in Pripyat – Chernobyl nuclear power plant zone of alienation.

Recent statistics that mainly focused on Norwegians show that Norwegian shoppers who shopped in physical brick and mortar stores in Norway increased by 16% from 2012-2018 and those who shopped abroad in physical stores increase by 76% in the same time frame. 

On the other hand, Norwegian shoppers who purchased from Norwegian online stores increased by 101% and purchasing from international stores increased by 146% from 2012-2018.

It also revealed that 50% of consumers preferred physical stores whereas 20% preferred online stores. However, 30% did not really have a particular preference. 

Therefore, these facts show that customer service is not just a department or a small fraction in the trade industry. It plays a bigger role as the main purpose is to build a loyal member and focus every aspect of keeping the customer in the center. Simply said, the customer is the boss! Not to forget while the store is 50%, delivery is equally important and takes about another 50% nowadays.

From apocalypse to relevance

Peterson was the speaker of the year during “The Big Show” in New York in January and has about 30 years of experience as a retailer, strategist, and speaker. His innovative approaches to modern retail and strong expertise in cultural trends are his specialty. 

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Lee Peterson – EVP: Thought Leadership & Marketing – WP Partners

It was pointed out that retail closures were more than openings in the USA and the sole reason was shoppers were looking for more facilities than just shopping. Whilst shopping, they looked for eating spots and food halls are a great technique. They also look into children’s play areas, fitness centers, green spaces to relax, farmers’ markets, places to buy household items and other facilities. For example, farmers’ markets have 3985 in 2014 to 9027 in 2019 as buying fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the years and a consumer on average spends about $16 per visit.

Therefore, many shoppers looked for an all-in-one place to get all that they need. Therefore, incorporating this concept shows that shopping is not dead yet, but rather the way shopping is done must be changed. This is where BOPIS and BORIS become two famous traditions that are followed these days for customer convenience. 

BOPIS and BORIS

BOPIS

Unlike earlier days, people are less patient and expect instant gratification. Thus, BOPIS is very useful for people who are stuck in workplaces or traffic and do not really have the time to choose items in shops. Through this, they get the option of choosing the goods they need online and picking it up on the store. This saves time for people with busy schedules to smoothen their shopping. On the other hand, when customers pick their goods, 75% of them also purchase additional items while in-store.

Looking at the near future, the use of technology will be more heavily incorporated into shopping. For example, having 3-D views of products and being able to visually shop their stores and getting it delivered. 

BORIS

This is another option where you could buy online and get it delivered. However, if you want to exchange or return to a physical store, you can do so. So the hassle of return shopping is eliminated and is a convenient service. The benefit of it is that when customers visit the store to return goods, there is a high chance that they might exchange or even buy additional goods.

But these innovations won’t mean it is the end of shopping centers because having physical stores gives delight to people which virtual stores cannot give. People like to touch, feel or smell which online stores cannot give because those sensations can induce spontaneous purchases.

The line between physical stores and online stores will get thinner and thinner day by day and a new concept will come known as a physical store which will create a fluid web-to-store system with a smooth customer experience. Therefore, many different methods will be used with different approaches to reach different audiences.

How to create total seamlessness between the web and the store?

As Hauk Landsverk, Digital Director of  Elkjøp expressed, to create a seamless integration between web and physical store is through these omnichannel approaches like BOPIS and BORIS to create a link between physical stores and mobile, telephone or computer devices.  Through these, customers will enjoy the benefits of technology which will simultaneously cater to their needs as well. It will be customer-centric rather than product-centric where it is based on the customer’s journey and experience which is a fundamental factor.

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It speeds off the web

Siv Heleen Grødem, entrepreneur and owner of the Suser i Sivet highlights certain strategies to enhance the shopping experience such as instead of selling individual clothes,  you sell a full costume. Apart from that other factors like social media promotions by stores, online presence and personal services like cash on delivery are a few aspects that also enhance the shopping experience. 

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Suser i Sivet also won the prestigeous award for retailer of the year: “The winner is the result of hard and planned work over many years, a willingness to invest and dare to try out new things and excellent marketing in social media. The result is a modern, forward-thinking business that masters the demanding art of combining online sales and physical store in an excellent way.”

Different industries, same customer – how to meet future customer needs

Ingjerd Blekeli Spiten, Executive Vice President of  PersonMarked highlights modern payment options like mobile banking and paying online as new developments that make purchasing more easier and convenient. Most banks and online payment gateways are trustworthy and reliable where almost 90% of people trust their banks and 20% of the people trust global payment systems like PayPal.  There are few others as well that rely on social media payments, IT companies or mobile companies.

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Keeping up with the consumers – how Zalando aims to become the starting point for fashion

David Hejgaard, Regional Lead Nordics of Zalando reflects on Moore’s law stating evolution is much faster than ever where customers tend to shop anywhere at any time of the day. Most physical stores have partnered with virtual stores where people can choose the color and size of what they need. If this is available in the virtual warehouse, they can purchase it. 

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How to prepare for a different future?

Truls Fjeldstad, Director of marketing and business intelligence at NorgesGruppen is a charismatic guy who mainly focuses on sustainability. He believes that classical stores where you pick and pay will continue to exist and never halt. Thus, to prepare for this, new features and services must be introduced to support the traditional brick and mortar stores. These include personal assistants, IoT, automation, and delivery as well. 

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How to leverage customer data and not just collect it?

Anton Nytorp, Head of CoopX at Coop Norway is a firm believer in heat mapping. This is a great technique to understand customer’s purchasing behaviors in the store. These analytics show actions and what your customers usually like. It is a good way to record data in a way that can be interpreted rather than just merely collecting it. 

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Furthermore, placing similar products of different vendors is another great technique so consumers have many options to choose from if they don’t like a particular product type or brand. This also shows and helps identify which products are more likely to be bought.  Having an unmanned- store in Norway is also on the bucket list as it will show what customers actually want and not forced or induced to buy sales representatives. 

Symbolic consumption and self-concept

Siv Skard, Associate Professor at Kristiania University College researches consumer behavior. She highlights that people are always concerned about how others look at them and judge them. This is a great point that can be taken advantage of from a business perspective.  People are self-centered and if they notice that they are being watched, you can promote concepts like ‘go green’ or ‘go healthy’ which people tend to buy. 

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How to create results online from the first click?

Rune Kjeldsen, General Manager at “Hekta på Tur” began his first business at the age of 22 which was sold to a Dutch company. He then began an online store called Hekta Pa Tur which has steady and stable growth. Today it is a leading profitable store.

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Thus the moral of the story is when the wind of change blows, you must build a windmill if you’re a winner because losers will build wind-shields instead.

The customer experience is what will differentiate you from the competitors in the future. 

Always keep in mind that customer experience is far more important than having a good customer service system. Thus, to ensure smooth and efficient customer experience, it is necessary to indulge in profitable and sustainable business models inclusive of Omni channels like BOPIS and BORIS. These strategies are what gives customers a better overall experience.

Sveinung Jørgensen, Associate Professor at INN and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen, Associate Professor at NHH research on sustainable and profitable business models working closely with Norwegian and international companies. They have published a book together called ‘RESTART 7 Roads for Sustainable Business Models’. You can read more about them at www.JorgensenPedersen.no

There are a few ways to enhance the customer experience. You can Redesign the business model and approach focusing on a customer-centric fashion model as it is important to see through the customer’s eyes.

Controlled experiments is another process of understanding customers and to see their issues beforehand. You can see the usability of the products, how well people can use and their overall experience and impression of the particular product or service.

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Another method is Circular processes which are usually adapted by product-oriented companies who have sought ways to give in a service and benefit from it. For example, you purchase a washing machine and pay in a cycle whereas the manufacturer will ensure that it works properly and service it when needed. Service logic is quite similar to a circular process and is relatively new which focuses on exchanging services than just goods.

Alliances are equally important to engage with your customers and communicate with them throughout their shopping journey. You can get information such as feedback, their experiences. Knowing these you can adapt means to ensure customer’s expectations are met. Another important aspect is Results that are obtained by different analysis will help you identify loopholes and fix any issues to enhance the overall customer experience.
The three dimensions of customer experience are segregated into three elements. The first is a success where the customer is able to get what he/she requires and also see if the interaction was successful or not. An effort is analyzed to see how much effort the customer had to personally put to get a successful interaction. Lastly, emotion is whether the overall interaction left the customer delighted or disappointed.

The changeover process in the green shift

Anita Sørlundsengen, Retail Director and  Øyvind Andreassen, Senior Region Manager at ST1 Norway highlights the importance of the green shift in the modern century.  Gas stations have now transformed into energy stations with new concepts constantly developing. See how ST1 / Shell at retail director Anita Sørlundsengen and retailer Thommas Landsem have created the energy station of the future with special emphasis on good customer experiences. 

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From market leader to challenger

Lars Kristian Lindberg, CEO / Managing Director at Gresvig emphasized that Gresvig was in need of a change or an advancement from a strong national brand to a more profitable international brand. Ole Sauar, Founder and CEO of Jollyroom stated that social media and influencers are a great method to grow your business in an international platform. Also having playing zones is another key idea. 

Also keep in mind that nordic countries who balance between socialism and capitalism have better economic efficiency and growth and thus, investors must carefully consider this aspect as well.

The key is to hit the emotional muscle

Sondre Gravir, CEO of the SATS group which is a leading fitness center chain in the Nordic region highlights that rather than focussing on getting in participants to the gym, the focus must be on getting the customer to the gym.

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New business models

Emilie Stordalen, daughter of Peter Stordalen and part owner at Strawberry Group is a charismatic and down-to-earth personality. She currently works to develop and operate digital platforms. The specialty about her is that she focuses on individual people such as Amanda, who is young and modern to Anders, who is a bit aged and classical which gives a more personalized experience to customers. 

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Another strategy used is that they tend to use low-quality locations such as basement rooms and give high-quality experiences like LED walls where you feel like you have woken up in a rainforest. These minute details are very important to create a positive image about your services or goods to the customers.

If you are interested in hearing more about the future of retail and IoT, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂

Commercial, Fashion, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Innovation, Microsoft Azure, Reflections, Retail

Microsoft Pivot: Envisioning the Future of Digitalization

May 29th, Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft invited Nordic customers and partners for a small conference in Sweden, putting forth his ambitions for the future. This was Nadella’s first ever visit to Sweden, since stepping into the shoes of the company’s CEO. He touched upon issues of today’s tech world, but most importantly made Swedish people aware of his company’s firm belief in global digitization and describe what the future holds in store.

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Photo: Brian Smale/Microsoft

Self-discipline & excitement-seeking are two pillars of Satya’s personality, which has made this Indian-origin techy an intellect worldwide; from Asia to Europe we all treat him with the warm welcome.

Dinner with Microsoft’s ISV Team

A day before the Nadella’s address, I was invited for dinner and socializing hosted by Joanna and Martin from Microsoft. ISV stands for Independent Software Vendor and present individual or companies those who develop, market and sell software running on third-party hardware and software platforms such as the Microsoft.

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The term ISV is prominent in the tech world, used by most tech companies including Microsoft. To understand this from a layman’s term, when Microsoft was in the pursuit of developing windows, its partnerships with numerous companies/individuals to take their project forward both on the technical and non-technical front.

Next Morning, I had the opportunity to see some of the companies that has implemented their solutions on the Microsoft platforms at hotel Berns. There we received a pep talk to Microsoft and partners on the future and what efforts we need to put to make sure it is heading the right direction.

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The Microsoft tech show commenced in style with the tunes of Sweden’s most renowned DJ and Saxophone artist Andreas Ferrronato. His soul-soothing set the mood 🙂

The Volvo Group Digitizing its Operations

Hillevi Pihlblad from Volvo Group talked about how employees hate change and across the globe it is not easy to adapt to changes. Further, she illustrated how the Volvo Group has translated the changes into something positive and made people understand why embracing change can make their lives convenient.

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The H&M Group And The Use of AI To Serve Their Customers The Best

A senior executive and business leader of the H&M Group, Arti Zeighami talked about how the company is investing in Artificial Intelligence technology to tailor store offerings. Heading the Advanced Analytics and AI function, he gave a presentation on how H&M Group is implementing advanced algorithms to scrutinize sales an returns. Further, helped them more efficiently predict the needs and demands of their customers.

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Satya Nadella, The Man of the Moment Taking The Center Stage

Then, finally came the moment when Helene Barnekow introduced Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. He was treated with great warm claps from the tech people present.

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Nadella who took over the job role of CEO from Steve Ballmer in 2014, is globally renowned for his dynamic leadership and a true passion for technology innovations. Prior to being the company’s CEO, Nadella was Microsoft EVP of the cloud and enterprise group.

His journey as a CEO has transformed Microsoft in terms of technology, also accentuating the company’s business model and corporate culture.  His emphatic leadership abilities steered Microsoft from struggling smartphone strategy to focus on other technical aspects such as the Augmented Reality and Cloud Computing.

He was also responsible for the purchase of Linkedin, a network of professionals for around $26.2. Did you know since taking over as CEO, company’s stocks have increased by 150%?

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The theme of the address by Satya Nadella was how communities and companies are uniting together for the digitized future of Sweden. This speech was largely about Microsoft’s own digital products and services, and how they can drive the world forward.

On his address to the tech people of Sweden, he threw light on various segments of technology-the Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation & Innovation. The American giant was in Stockholm to make a big announcement about setting up data centers in the country.

“We have the ambition that the data centers we build in Sweden should be among the most sustainable in the world, this is another step in strengthening our position as a long-term digitization partner for Swedish businesses”

Key Highlights from Nadella’s Address

“It would be wrong for me not to talk about trust. Because in the end, it is something that will be very important to us – not only to create new technology but to really assure that there is confidence in the technology that we create” he says on stage and continues “We need to create systems that handle personal data and security as a human right.”

Satya Nadella talked about the recent investment his company is making in Sweden. Among all the tech things, Microsoft two centers to be built in Gävle and Sandviken, they will be the most sustainable in the world.

“We will use one hundred percent renewable energy. They will also be completely free from operational emissions. We set a new standard when it comes to the next generation data center. It starts here in Sweden,” said Satya Nadella.

Apart from the data centers, Satya Nadella also highlighted the recent key partnerships during his speech at the China Theater. He further talked about company collaboration with Kiruna, this city makes use of Microsoft Hololens and AR to plan the city’s underground infrastructure.

Microsoft in Sweden

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO Put Forth Examples of Company’s Interest in the Country;

”There have been huge breakthroughs in the last three years, regardless of whether we are talking about object identification or voice recognition. This must be translated into infrastructure. Here we invest heavily.”

“Take Spotify who has a new very cool podcast tool. It lets anyone do their own podcast and they use our speech recognition to convert speech into text. The most interesting thing they do is that for anyone who wants to modify their podcast, they can enter and edit in writing and that the podcast then automatically changes. It shows how to use AI to make it more efficient”

Ending the Visit on a High

Later in the day, Nadella visited the Samhall innovation Days, a hackathon with the aim of “creating the conditions for people with a diagnosis within the autism spectrum to come into operation”, in the company’s press release.

Last summer, Microsoft announced two data centers in Norway to take their cloud computing services to entire Europe.

“By building new data center regions in Norway, we facilitate growth, innovation and digital transformation of Norwegian businesses – whether large companies, the public sector or some of the 200,000 small and medium-sized companies that together create the future of Norway,” said CEO Kimberly Lein-Mathisen in Microsoft Norway when the Norwegian plans became known.

Nadella declared that both the data centers will run on 100% renewable energy, so this project is in the welfare of the country, creating an ocean of newer opportunities for the locals. He also talked about his company’s association with the tech companies/communities in Sweden; one is the Kiruna city and other being the Sandvik Company.

The address at the China Theater in Stockholm by Microsoft’s top boss, Satya Nadella was like a pep talk. He gave his viewpoint on a variety of technology aspect. Most importantly, he announced the company’s program of building two data centers in this Nordic country.

Commercial, Fashion, Gucci, Gunnebo Business Solutions, Gunnebo Retail Solution, Louis Vuitton, Retail

Why luxury fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are flourishing

I had a great opportunity to visit London during the weekend, to experience the luxury fashion industry first hand. Whether you want to spend big or just browse, London is a luxury shopper’s paradise, offering everything a discerning buyer could possibly want.

In my opinion luxury brands have been doing so well based on their capacity to react to social patterns. They have figured out how to submerge themselves into the culture and give new dimensions of access that, while retaining their validness and originality, to make their brands increasingly alluring to more clients.

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As a result, Luxury brands are increasing their revenue and results, and I think that this is very much due to their focus on the customer experience. They tend to be very commited to every product they put out, as well as being conscious of how the customers react to the product. Best in class are of course Gucci and Louis Vuitton that are among the fastest developing brands on the planet, with the extravagance design and their product developing by 42 percent since 2017.

Not surprisingly, most luxury brands are performing great in a rundown of 100 companies that includes technology, retail products, cars, and financial enterprises.

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Photo from press.gucciwatches.com Timepieces and Jewlerry Campaign 2015 with clean and simple styling and Madison Stubbington wearing a slip dress and a no makeup look.

Gucci’s brands are of course the fastest rising of any luxury style name on the rundown list, with up to 30 percent to $12.9 billion, while Louis Vuitton, grew 23 percent to $28.2 billion. The nine luxury brands on the list had a joint brand estimation of $105.8 billion and include other top brands including Hermes, Tiffany, and Co, Dior, and Burberry.

  • Louis Vuitton – $28.6 billion.
  • Chanel – $20 billion.
  • Hermes – $16.4 billion.
  • Gucci – $12.9 billion.
  • Cartier – $7.7 billion.
  • Tiffany – $5.6 billion.
  • Dior – $5.2 billion.
  • Burberry – $5 billion.

The global apparel market which does not include shoes and jewelry is worth $1.34 trillion a year in retail sales. Of this, a staggering $300 billion are luxury and premium brands.

How Did Luxury Brands Come This Far?

Building a fruitful business system infers the comprehension of how things are going to change over the span of time. The fate of retail is characterized by the most encouraging patterns we are watching today and is custom-made to the requirements of various gatherings of customers. The organizations which need to prevail in retail in 2030, ought to arrange their business procedures and specialized modernization remembering such significant thoughts as accentuating customers review and experience, guaranteeing flexibility for different target audiences, giving consideration, and remaining cognizant.

Luxury industries have proven to be ahead of all others in all of the aforementioned aspect, and that is one of the many reasons that they do so well. The society is winding up more to be more fashion conscious and its relation to an eco-friendly environment, and everyone is looking at ways to innovate fashion-wise. Consider, for instance, a luxury design brand Elvis and Kresse. The business began as an endeavor to handle a ten-million-ton of Leather scraps which should be discarded in London every year. Presently the organization delivers a full scope of calfskin from what recently was covered in the ground.

Purchasing a luxury item, being a Lois Vuitton NéoNoé bag or a Rolex Perlmutter is also viewed not only buying a bag and a watch – it is a feeling, an experience and a rush. Building on this rush is sharing the experience with Instagram followers, and this, in a nutshell, is how much value these brands have. Dopamine and oxytocin give the shoppers a rush all through the shopping experience.

This is particularly apparent when you are shopping, and you see something that you like (a dose of oxytocin is delivered to your bloodstream) and you get excited about it (a dose of dopamine is delivered to your bloodstream). Hence why these hormones are referred to as “happy hormones”.

Formula love concept. Research, search for an answer to the question what is love. Sheets of paper with chemical formulas of hormones by candlelight

Going to the store, you may not have planned to shop for anything at that moment or maybe you were planning on getting something else, but because your body is full these hormones, you end up buying it. This is what people generally call an impulse buy. This is also true when it comes to social media. You could be just browsing through your social media, and you may see something that attracts your attention at once, and then you get excited and feel the urge to find out more about that person, or place or thing. This is the reason why, even though you visit your social media platforms with the intention of just checking in, you end up spending hours on end on that platform at times.

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I have to say, going to the Tiffany & Co store at Harrods, you get the celebrity attention and a great feeling just browsing through all their fantastic jewelery. Buying the same piece online or in a common store does not give you the same rush.

Transformation and Progress in The Industry.

The Luxury merchandise industry has faced a number of changes in the course of the last two decades. Right now, fluctuating economic patterns, advanced digital scope and developing customer choices and tastes are making another competitive scene in the industry such that conventional methodologies are under danger. All things being equal, development in the luxury merchandise industry will proceed. However, to come up to a consistent and strong rate of offers development, luxury companies need to look up to new difficulties and manage them ineffectively.

There have been situations of incorporation between two companies or more, like Recently Michael Kors acquired Versace at the last quarter 2018 and Jimmy Choo in 2017, moving them up on the ladder of luxury brands. Keeping Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd and creative director Donatella Versace on is of course extremely important to not devaluate the Versace brand. Such is the manner of competition that is experienced in the luxury industry today.

Ideally, the retailers wants to be focused on shoppers and their shopping journey and behaviors first, and then focus on staff and their activity separately. I am sure that the future retailers has a lot to gain by technologies like IoT, business intelligence (and even artificial intelligence and machine learning) and analysis when multiple data streams interact, for how long, and how they are related to purchase patterns and other performance metrics.

The future achievement of the business will also rely upon its achievement in penetrating and proactively connecting with the more youthful age. Luxury brands have in the past been known to restrict and separate themselves from clients. But compared to the state of things today, they now make use of social media and online networking. Luxury brands now see web-based life as “mass advertise”, yet today it has turned into an undeniably imperative advertising tool for them.

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Burberry is an amazing example of a luxury brand that utilized the power and impact of internet-based life. The brand commits around 60 percent of its advertising spending plan to computerized stages, connecting with clients on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. Recently Louis Vuitton also started tagging their Instagram posts with the models private Instagram profiles, making the relationship between the customer, the brand and the model even more intimate.

After a great weekend I feel very confident about the future for both the luxury, premium and the regular fashion brands. I am sure that with the right approach the physical stores has great advantages and will also be vital for transitioning from on-prem via omnichannel to phygital.

If you are interested in hearing more about the future of fashion retail and IoT, feel free to contact me at bjorn.nostdahl@gunnebo.com 🙂