The future of retail is in the hands of Gen Z

Gen Z

Forget millennials – enter Gen Z. Aged 24 and younger, with famously short attention spans and an insatiable appetite to have-everything-right-now-and-if-they-have-to-wait-a-second-for-it-to-load-they’ll-give-up, the next generation are set to have huge influence on the retail market. What do we know about them that can help retail brands prepare for the future?

Recently, there’s been an influx of findings telling us that, contrary to popular assumption, digitally-savvy Gen Z-ers are actually more traditional when it comes to shopping – especially compared to their predecessors, the Millennials. A major pan-European study found that nearly a quarter of Gen Z do their research and purchasing in store, compared to only 14% of Millennials (Retail Buying Study 2018). And in the UK, the same study found that 56% of Gen Z respondents said they most prefer to shop in a physical store.

Does this really suggest that the next generation have reverted back to the ye olden days? If we dig a little deeper, we find that 84% Gen Zers report that they make shopping part of their day out (Retail Assist, 2018). With under 24-year olds much more likely to have free time on their hands, this makes sense. So, is the question for retailers actually about how to keep the shopping spark alive as this audience grows up?

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The obvious answer lies in technology. Gen Z are the first group to grow up with mini computers in their pocket, learning to tap before they can talk. Smartphones live perpetually in either their pockets or hands, so it’s inevitable they feature heavily when they’re shopping in stores.
When shopping in store, according to the National Retail Federation and the IBM Institute for Business Value, 52% of Gen Z compare prices with other retailers, while a whopping 73% interact with social media, telling family and friends that they’re shopping and asking for advice on what to buy. Furthermore, as they’re making their decision, 51% hunt down a coupon, discount or promotion.
A good Wi-Fi connection, therefore, is clearly a must. But is there more that can be done? Retailers should be wary of going overboard, and ensure tech they provide supports a simple and intuitive shopping experience, as this group will see straight through gimmicks. As one might expect for these digital natives, Gen Z are considerably more open to personalisation, with one study by the NRF and IBM reporting that over half feel comfortable sharing their personal data in order to ensure a customised experience, compared to 41% in mature markets. When assured their data will be properly protected, this increases to 61%, highlighting trust as a key theme.

The future’s social
For brands looking to capture and keep this generation, social media has to be a huge focal point. Whereas first adopters of social media joined Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are more popular Gen Z – these primarily visual apps offer an ideal spot to capture an attentive (or addicted?) audience. As time-poor as Gen Z may become as they enter emerging adulthood, you can bet they’ll always find time for social media. And with the tech supporting direct sales via these apps becoming more prevalent, the gap between content and sales is closing fast.

It’s a changing world out there, and never has a Darwin-esque quote been more relevant: “It’s not the strongest retailer that survives, but the ones most responsive to change”.

Author

Sean Dwyer

Exhibitions and retail – footfall driver or style over substance?

Gentle Monster

This summer the competition to create the most epic ‘bricks’ experience got hotter with the arrival of South Korean sunglass brand Gentle Monsters in Argyll Street, London. Gentle Monster takes the idea of immersive shopping to a whole other level, with each of the brand’s stores around the world taking on its own story concept. And in London, that concept is… Kung Fu aliens (we kid you not) – the story being that a robot alien landed on Earth, became captivated by the beauty of Kung Fu and took it back to its own planet. So far, so nuts.

Walking into the store is like walking into an elaborate film set or exhibition, and a pretty bonkers one at that. Customers are greeted by a tribe of larger than life, kinetic aliens who, as a colleague explained, are ‘training in Kung Fu’. They’re doing this to a backdrop of a digital waterfall and a giant ceremonial gong, which goes off every 7 minutes as their cue to start training.

The eccentric idea continues on the lower ground floor at the ‘battleground’, where two giant kinetic aliens fight in a bamboo forest surrounded by an audience of smaller robots, cheerleading with glittering pom poms in their hands.

It’s totally amazing, impressive… and also rather bemusing. Because what on earth (sorry) does it have to do with sunglasses?! Well, seemingly nothing. Many retailers incorporate exhibition-style experiences into their store but usually it’s to aid sales, or at least related to the product in some way.

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Nike is a great case in point, with an almost permanent exhibition area in Nike Town in which it borrows display techniques from gallery spaces to showcase its product and behind-the-scenes work (if you haven’t done so already, check out the current exhibition at London’s Oxford Circus which shows off the work of the motion graphics designers behind its latest projects).

Other brands align themselves to those in the arena of culture and art, seeing a symmetry between the two which will interest their customer demographic – like COS. Having established a legacy of artist collaborations which celebrate the brand’s influences from design and architecture, it’s soon to open a brand new hybrid concept store in London’s glossiest new shopping district, Coal Drop Yard in Kings Cross. Here, customers will not only be able to browse and buy from its latest clothing collections, but also immerse themselves in the work of established and emerging artists.

Both Nike and COS incorporate exhibitions into their stores in a way that feels seamless, credible and intrinsic to their brand essence. Also, they’re integrated in a way that keeps the customer in the store, whiling away hours, potentially leading to more sales. Gentle Monster on the other hand, doesn’t appear to use its concept as a sales tool at all. In fact the product – sunglasses – feels quite removed from the idea – aliens. And interestingly, it feels removed physically too, with the sunglasses themselves displayed around the perimeter of the store… presumably so that the theatrics are left to shine in all their eccentric glory. The thing is, when we were there, we didn’t actually see anyone trying the product on. Any customers that were in the store seemed to be there to get that perfect shareable shot … and, pic filtered and posted, they left. Gentle Monster may have turned its store into the perfect Instagram set, and in that way is bound to drive footfall, but will it actually sell enough product to sustain the cost of a bricks and mortar store in one of the country’s prime shopping districts? Time will tell… but one thing’s for sure, it’s awesome, original and creating a LOT of attention, and that is surely great for the reputation of any brand. 

Author

Sean Dwyer

Turning Japanese at Westfield White City

In the freshly built expansion of Westfield White City new stores are still opening, and if there’s one thing that gets us excited here at Whippet, it’s a new store. Especially when we learn that one of them is a Japanese Marketplace.

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From the team behind the Japan Centre on Panton St and restaurant chain Shoryu Ramen, Ichiba is Europe’s largest Japanese food hall bringing artisanal food, drink, homewares and gifts from Japan to London.

The moment you arrive, there are instant references to Japanese culture. Bright lights and light wood textures give a traditional feel, reminiscent of a modern Japanese restaurant.Throughout the store are what Ichiba refers to as ‘theatrical zones’ – areas where chefs create authentic Japanese dishes, live, that you can eat in or take away. They also host cooking demonstrations and workshops, which is a great way to show customers who are new to the cuisine how to cook with their products.

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The overall layout of the store is simple, with brightly lit fresh counter areas and well-placed overhead navigation and a brand style that’s fresh and modern. We particularly like the organic style of illustration which sits well with the friendly handwritten style of the logo and bold colour palette. Little brand touches such as the packing stickers and colourful staff uniforms help to add to the modern feel of the store too. However, we did notice a lack of in-aisle communication, particularly around education and inspiration, so unless you know your Japanese products (we don’t!), it’s difficult to understand what you’re buying until you see the small ticketing. A more evident tone of voice would help give the store more of a personality too.

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Overall though, it’s an exciting store, offering something new and different to what can be a tough, been-there-seen-it-done-that London crowd. But with more than 3000 products and immersive experience top of its agenda, Ichiba looks set to appeal to both the Japanese community and Japanese-curious alike.

Author

Sean Dwyer

John Lewis gives shoppers more at Westfield

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The new, much anticipated, John Lewis store opened recently in Westfield’s White City £600m extension so we couldn’t resist checking it out.

While not as large as the Oxford Street store, this new flagship still boasts an impressive 230,000 sq ft of retail space over 4 floors (that’s almost 4 Wembley stadium pitches!). And at £33m, it’s not a cheap way to open the brand’s 50th store. So has the investment been worth it?

Westfield has dramatically extended the centre so it’s now officially the largest shopping centre in Europe with the John Lewis store a very definite anchor. We entered through the centre where the approach is pretty impressive. Located at one end of the new aisle under a magnificent glass roof, the store sits proudly, more reminiscent of a religious pilgrimage destination than a retail unit.

The entrance on the first floor is flanked by 4 window displays, each displaying a simple, bright and strong display in the iconic John Lewis style with the rallying cries of their summer campaign, ‘Time to pump up the lilo’ and ‘Time to burn the sausages in the garden’… where do we sign up?!Whippet_JL_4

On entering, the usual mix of curated fashion, beauty and home brands are available but what’s really striking is the obvious attempt to make the store feel like a true experience as opposed to a mere functional space. One of the ways John Lewis have done this is with the emphasis on service and experience as a key differentiator. And the addition of 23 bespoke services including lingerie fitting, technical support, personal styling, home design, opticians and beauty spa treatments definitely make for a dazzling mix of options designed to encourage behaviour beyond the traditional ‘in and out shop’ to a planned ‘afternoon out’ destination.Whippet_JL_2

Managing Director, Paula Nickolds says they wanted to create “a place to shop, do and learn under one roof… a new level of personalised, curated shopping which until how has been the preserve of boutique shops.” And we think John Lewis has certainly delivered on that promise.

There are daily fashion talks in the Style Studio, cookery classes in The Demo Kitchen, craft classes and interior design talks in The Discovery Room, to name but a few. And this is before you venture into the supremely chilled Sleep Studio to test mattresses, explore the Smart Home area or design your own rug and sofa to go with your unique flooring choice.Whippet_JL_3

What John Lewis has successfully achieved is a great experience – we forgot we were in a busy West London shopping centre and happily bought into the personalised, service-driven experience. That’s when we headed to new bar, Smith and Sinclair for an edible cocktail.

John Lewis, we salute you. You have certainly not knowingly oversold this one!

Author

Sean Dwyer

What can the UK learn from New Zealand’s Farro Fresh?

Farro Fresh

This month, our Jo reports from New Zealand, where Farro Fresh is changing the way Kiwis shop for groceries…

As a Kiwi living in London for the past ten years and working in the creative industry for retailers the past four, it’s become increasingly interesting to look at the comparisons between the UK and New Zealand grocery shopping experience. While New Zealand does have the equivalent of Sainsbury’s and Tesco, there’s been a significant demand for cleaner, fresher and more sustainable produce, made evident by a marked increase in organic farms.

Back in 2006, a small family business was established in Auckland, with a team of just 12 people fuelled by a desire to create a retail space that showcases the very best of New Zealand food. 12 years later, Farro Fresh has over 400 staff and five stores, each one paying homage to the best local producers of the country.

There’s a high quality organic ‘farm feel’ to every store as soon as you walk in: busy but controlled (which is essentially what a farm is, organised chaos) with exposed beams and high ceilings instantly transporting you to barns in the countryside where everything serves a purpose. From the cheese stalls offering fresh samples, to the coffee bars where you can get a caffeine hit before starting your shop, and the butcher serving fresh organic cuts straight from the farm… the flow of the store gives the impression you are taking a journey through a farm yard and as a result it really feels like you’re buying a higher quality of food.

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Breaking away from the generic own brands found in standard supermarkets, Farro’s vision concentrates on start-up, Kiwi-run food businesses which need a helping hand to get their products onto shelves. The products are sourced from throughout the country and have a real artisan look and feel… however this does mean that there is a price tag to match. They’re merchandised beautifully, with strong premium connotations such as chalk boards and inspirational displays on wooden crates, and these are nicely balanced with personality coming through from cute illustrations and tone of voice. The entire store feels genuine and is backed up by the passionate staff who work there. Nothing’s too much trouble, they’re eager to share their knowledge… and to give free tasters!

Farro has gone from strength to strength based on the quality of ingredients, brands, customer service, shopping experience and – it must be said – support of locals. Regardless of whether you’re doing your weekly shop, it’s become a destination for any Kiwi foodie seeking fresh inspiration. So if you find yourself in the City of Sails, drop in, you won’t be disappointed!

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Things we love:

The Farro Food kits. Pre-packed food bags with ingredients for three meals feeding either 2 or 4 people along with a recipe designed by Farro’s in-house chefs. Hand-picked and delivered on the same day ready to be cooked that night.

The Farro Hampers. In each store they provide a wooden box where you can build your own bespoke hampers. Great for a foodie’s birthday or all those Christmas treats!

Cook-along with a Farro chef. On the website, you can choose from an array of different recipes and cook along with one of the Farro chefs. Great for fresh meal inspiration!

Keeping New Zealand green. Compostable bags, made from 100% plant-based materials are currently being tested as clean green replacements to the plastic carrier bag.

Author

Sean Dwyer

Can immersive tech really entice customers back into stores?

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We’re seeing AR, VR and AI more and more in the retail space – but can it really work seamlessly with the familiar bricks-and-mortar experience, and get customers back into shops?

It’s no secret that the high street is having to work hard to compete with online shopping. The digital space offers convenience, personalisation and choice that doesn’t always come through in store.

So how can retailers start to encourage consumers away from the Internet, and back into stores? Recently we’ve noticed some big names who’ve been elevating the shopping journey to deliver an experience that can’t be replicated or bettered online.

Nike and a spot of AR gamification

Just this month for example, Nike launched an AR game in-store in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, to increase sales of its Epic React shoes. Customers could try on the shoes, create their own avatar, then enter a virtual world by running on a treadmill. They could bounce on clouds and do all kinds of acrobatics, all while giving the shoes a good real-world try.

This fusion of the real and the virtual is the perfect antidote to filling what’s called ‘the imagination gap’ – the difficulty for consumers to visualise what owning a product might actually be like, and therefore an obstacle to purchase.

Audi’s VR showroom experience

Last autumn Audi took this to a logical level with its VR sales tool. Realising that car buyers felt so well informed by online research, they no longer had to enter a showroom – Audi introduced VR technology that lets you try out customisations before purchase.

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And let’s not forget AI, the thing that will eventually signal the rise of the robot and take over the world. Just kidding. Sort of.

Smart AI mirrors in fashion stores

Some forward-thinking fashion stores have introduced AI-enhanced smart mirrors into their changing rooms, which can identify what you’re trying on, and create on-screen recommendations, with a touch screen to choose items, change lighting and temperature or summon assistance.

All these innovations are about meeting customers’ new, higher expectations – those they’ve been trained to have online. And over the next decade (or even sooner), we can expect truly radical changes in the way we shop in-store.

So what’s next?

The Internet of Things will see our fridges communicate directly with retailers when we’re about to run out of products. Biotechnology could allow us to make payments via eyeball scanning. Haptic technology will let us touch and feel virtual products.

And the whole in-store experience? That will be driven by data, to be more personalised than ever before. From the moment you walk through the door, the store will know who you are, what you normally buy, your price range. In grocery shops, your dietary needs and habits will be recognised, your shopping list will be synced with in-store algorithms and digital shelves will grab your attention and flash up personalised information as you approach.

Does that push your buttons?

The question is, are we willing to give up our anonymity and sense of agency for a smoother shopping journey?

VR and AR elevate the retail experience. Biometrics and the Internet of Things will make it easier. But Artificial Intelligence and the rise of big data take things to a new level altogether. And the answer is yes – we probably will eventually embrace it all… once it’s normalised into everyday life, and we realise through familiarity how much smoother it makes the purchase process.

After all, who thought 10 years ago that anyone would do their weekly shop through their phone?

Author

Sean Dwyer

Sainsbury’s: On the Go in Pimlico

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We have to be honest, we’ve not noticed anything radical or exciting from Sainsbury’s in terms of formats for a while. So it was with interest that we popped into the newly revamped store in Pimlico being dubbed as a ‘market store’.

From the offset this store impresses and marks a different approach for the retailer. The large glass windows provide a first look at the ‘On the Go’ offering which is cleverly located front and right of the store entrance, allowing customers who want to grab and go the space and option to do so quickly and efficiently without battling trolleys and baskets in the main store.

Once in the ‘On the Go’ section there’s a number of options including fresh sushi, hot food and pizza, the usual sandwiches and also a Crussh concession. The space is open, airy and easy to navigate, offering simple seating and self checkouts to help speed up payment. We visited at 3.30pm on a Thursday and the area was busy, most noticeably with younger customers and after-school kids, which must be a new demographic for the retailer.

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If you don’t want a pizza made from scratch, there’s a hot unit selling slices of ready made pizza, pasties and ready to go microwave meals. Admittedly, we didn’t see anyone buying made to order pizzas but it adds theatre – the neon signage helping to attract customers in from the street.

The main store (located behind ‘On the Go’) has also been given a revamp with a couple of stand out elements. The alcohol section is pretty impressive with ceiling-high, crate-style graphics, simple wooden fixtures and navigation reminiscent of wine and beer labels. There is also one end dedicated to ‘no and low’ alcohol proving that Sainsbury’s is listening to the trend developing amongst younger generations.

Sainsbury’s is also doing a great job (and always has done in our opinion) of promoting its ‘Free From’ range with a dedicated aisle that taps into customers’ increasing desire for a restricted diet of one kind or another.

The bakery section is also impressive adding a layer of personality with graphics positioned above the counter offering ‘gluten free loaves’ and ‘celebration cakes’ in a handwritten chalkboard style.

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The rest of the store feels slick and shiny, but it’s the ‘On the Go’ offering that stands out the most. It’ll be interesting to see if it gets replicated or evolved in other stores. But for now, top marks Sainsbury’s – we like!

Author

Sean Dwyer

A burger with a side order of charity please

Grilld Restaurant

Our Head of Copy Clare has been out and about in Melbourne this week sniffing out new and interesting trends in retail and restaurants, and has spotted a very cool charity initiative… the familiar supermarket charity token has crossed over into casual dining.

Grill’d is one of Melbourne’s best-loved burger brands, its ethos being ‘healthy burgers that are good for you and good for your community’. Their do-gooding initiative ‘Local Matters’ sees every customer who places an order being given a token to drop into one of three jars that supports a local charity. Grill’d then splits $500 between the three; the community group with the most tokens gets $300 and the other two, $100 each. Fair and square all round… everybody wins!

In just five years they’ve given back over $2.5 million and supported over 15,000 community groups. It’s the first time we’ve seen this approach in a restaurant, and we think it’s a damn clever one. With the average Australian eating out an average of 2-3 times a week, spending a total of $45 billion a year *, that’s a whole lotta potential cash for a fantastic cause. And of course, the more cash that’s raised, the stronger the brand affinity, the more feet through the door and so the circle continues. Hats off to you Grill’d. You certainly know how to do G’ood.

*The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd, Eating out in Australia 2017 Report

Author

Sean Dwyer

Amazon pops up in Soho Square

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How do you squeeze the world’s biggest online store into two floors? That’s exactly what Amazon did on the run-up to Black Friday, with their ingenious pop-up store in Soho Square – decked out like a house, and further blurring the lines between the physical and online.

Black Friday has fast become a much-anticipated fixture on the UK retail calendar, and every year more brands are getting involved to drive sales in the build-up to Christmas.

As one of the worlds largest online retailers, Amazon is leading the charge on innovative and competitive online e-tailing – and was one of the very first brands to bring Black Friday to our shores for the first time back in 2010.

Every year they’ve aimed to outdo themselves, and stand head-and-shoulders above the competition. Last year they held a two-week online sales event – but this year they decided to go the full ‘bricks-and-mortar’, with a pop-up in Soho Square.

Called the ‘Home of Black Friday’, it was designed to look and feel like a home. Set within a traditional semi-detached house, the pop-up spanned two floors; downstairs you could wander round the kitchen and creative space, and upstairs a bedroom, lounge, playroom and games room. In each room, you could browse the latest deals across a wide range of products including electronics, beauty products, books, games and toys.

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Merging online and off-line shopping

So how did it all work? Well, you could wander round and play with the products, with staff on-hand to help. And using the Amazon app, you could scan the product code – and go straight to Amazon.co.uk to buy it.

Which means it’s not entirely like a regular shop, in that you couldn’t just buy something off the shelf and take it home. But if you were super-keen to get it on the day, the reception area doubled as a dedicated Prime Now delivery area – letting you choose to have your product ordered online delivered to the pop-up within two hours.

The deals promoted in the store were available online for a limited time only – with an online countdown adding a sense of urgency. And every day, the pop-up’s products would change, to match the ‘Deals of the Day’ online. A genius strategy in our opinion, encouraging impulse purchases and driving sales before Black Friday.

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An experience you just don’t get online

Where the brand really delivered was the chance to experience the products in ways that online shopping can’t deliver for the consumer – from mini Toni & Guy beauty treatments, a lounge complete with sofa, games console and full selection of games and DVDs… to a playroom filled with toys, books and iPads to browse. There really was something for everyone. And the whole experience was finished off with a touch of Christmas cheer: a tree covered in tinsel, presents on display and of course, plenty of mince pies.

The whole experience was fully staffed (if not a little over-staffed), offering visitors live demonstrations of Amazon-branded products (we now know more than we ever thought possible about the Amazon Show Echo). It also promoted services like Amazon Fresh with a £25 voucher for Whole Foods Market, redeemable on the day (again, to drive that sense of urgency).

There were giveaways too, and chances to win loads of prizes – with a simple ‘spin to win’ iPad game which we won twice (yes, twice!), picking up a free Lego set, a good book, and twin gel nail polish (a good day to have also bought a Lottery ticket, perhaps?!)

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A true brand immersion

But the focus wasn’t purely on driving sales; this is also about brand immersion and positioning Amazon as brand leaders in this space. A timeline showing Black Friday Best Sellers since 2010 reminded visitors that Amazon truly own Black Friday in the UK, and are at the forefront of retail firsts and innovation.

Overall, it was an assault on the senses, with quite a lot going on in a relatively small space. But it was also a successful example of how best to extend the reach of the brand beyond the online platform we know and love. Amazon has demonstrated and embraced the need for both a physical retail space and an online platform, showing an insightful understanding that customers can move seamlessly between the two.

So bravo, Amazon – we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Christmas…

Author

Sean Dwyer

‘Tis the reason to be jolly with Iceland

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It’s Christmas! And what a joy to see our Christmas campaign for Iceland go live this week. Eight executions of print ads nationwide, combining beautiful photography and a warm tone of voice to tempt customers with the delicious Luxury range, plus a stunning 16 page media insert in the weekend papers. Look out for the second insert in December. And if we can give you one tip… the Luxury Pavlova is to die for…

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Author

Sean Dwyer

The times, they are a-changing

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It’s eight years since Waitrose introduced their Essential range, which has since become the mainstay of many a shopping trolley in middle England and has done well to shift the high price tag perception of the brand.

But 2017 is not the same as 2009, and in a world where halloumi, artichokes and ironing water are now (apparently) considered ‘essential’ by many consumers, and the German discounters continue to spring up in every town, Waitrose has refreshed the range with a two-pronged strategy.

Firstly, they’ve introduced around 300 new products to take account of our changing tastes, and secondly, they’ve dropped the price on hundreds of existing Essential products. They’re campaigning the refreshed range heavily (more on that shortly)… but it got us wondering, who exactly is this move aimed at?

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Is it to reassure the hardcore Waitrose shopper (who is no doubt flirting heavily with Lidl and Aldi, probably somewhere in the Luxury aisles) that there’s no need to go elsewhere? Certainly it seems that way when you you dig a little deeper into the new campaign messaging: ‘at the heart of our essential range is the belief you shouldn’t have to compromise your standards’. Ouch.

The ‘new lower prices’ part of Waitrose’s strategy certainly back this up… because when you’re buying halloumi every week, you’d surely welcome a permanent 30p price drop…

Or is the campaign trying to attract the steadfast Lidl and Aldi customers who have so far never shopped at Waitrose? And if so, how likely are these customers – loyal to the discounters for price over quality – to give Waitrose a try? Particularly when the halo perception of the brand remains undoubtedly ‘posh’?

The answer is probably, both. And as such, it’s a canny move from Waitrose. Plus we do commend their brilliantly simple campaign creative. A clean white background with single hero products, and a simple rectangular device for messaging and price all cleverly matches the pared back nature of the products in the range. Nice work Waitrose.

Author

Sean Dwyer

Peckish?

Chik'N Visit by Whippet

Like we needed an excuse for fried chicken, but when we heard about Chik’n, a new fast food joint serving it up guilt-free, we had to check it out. The colourful, happy modern branding is great way to differentiate from the more traditional (and still beloved) fried chicken shops of London. It also helps draw attention to their ethical mission statement, “Changing fried chicken for the good”. DIY/punk inspired graphics adorn the walls, with clever brand slogans, a disruptive tone of voice and bold typography alongside. Everything in the restaurant, from the open kitchen, to the takeaway bags, to the bins (compost and recycling only) helps explain the ethos of the restaurant and gives an overall feeling of good vibes.

…and yeah, maybe it did make us feel a bit less guilty about stuffing our faces with fried chicken sandwiches…

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Did someone say designer ice cream? We’re there…

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With the sweltering temperatures in London, we really need to cool down. And what better way than to visit the Magnum Pleasure Store in Convent Garden (as if we needed an excuse, really!).

Back for another year, this time in a collaboration with Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott, this colourful, vibrant and uber indulgent pop-up shop gives those seeking a bit more than your average ’99’ the chance to design a luxury, personalised Magnum, with double dipping allowed!

Entering the store, you’re greeted by a ‘Pleasure Maker’, who’s on hand to design your Magnum exactly the way you want it at the special ‘dipping bar’.

Starting off with a plain vanilla un-dipped ice cream you choose a single dip of Magnum’s milk, white or dark chocolate followed by layer of ingredients. Choose your weapon – cookie crumble, freeze dried raspberries, nuts, black lava sea salt, hibiscus petals… you name it, they’ve got it! Then you can opt to have another cheeky dip after that… don’t mind if we do.

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Drizzle with your choice of chocolate, top with a Moschino pink chocolate button and it’s off to the Instagram booth to share your creation with the world at #MAGNUMLDN.

Not just an ice cream shop, the whole brand experience is one of pure indulgence designed to reflect the brand’s luxury values – and wow your senses. Gorgeous ice cream diamante sculptures inspired by famous fashionistas adorn the space, along with inspirational neon quotes on the walls. And if you want to wear your experience long after you’ve eaten your creation, there’s even a range of Moschino X Magnum tote bags designed by Jeremy Scott available to buy.

With prices starting from £5.50 for the ice creams and around £200 for the bags, this isn’t a cheap treat, but it’s a brilliant brand extension for Magnum, made even more desirable by the tie-in with Moschino, and clearly cements them as the leader in premium ice cream.

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Autumn comes early, thanks to Iceland

We had a great day yesterday with the Iceland team at their Autumn product launch in London. Chef and Head of Product Development Neil Nugent was getting busy in the kitchen, whipping up culinary delights that showcased the fantastic new range of tasty foods. Stars of the show? Got to be the Frozen Avocado (try it breaded and deep fried!) and the Argentinian Red Shrimp. Oh, and the tuna served on a bed of cauliflower cous cous.. Oh and the paella, and come to think of it the gnocchi was amazing too… Keep an eye out for the new range coming to Iceland soon!

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Happy Easter! We’ve been out and about to see how the supermarkets are campaigning the celebrations this year.

We saw some nice photographic treatments (step up Waitrose), great window theatre (come in M&S) and even some pretty good puns (Lidl, we’re talking to you), but easter bonnets off to the Co-op with their ‘Be a good egg this Easter’ campaign. Celebrating those people who put others first, the emphasis is much more on giving rather than getting; a charitable touch that really sets them apart. Nice tie in with Absolute Radio too, with a competition to win £1,000 by nominating a good egg. We think it’s just eggsellent (sorry).
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Author

Sean Dwyer

Pitch win! Carpetright here we come…

We’re excited to announce we’ve just won a three-way pitch for Carpetright’s below the line account.
We’ll be developing strategic and creative comms for their entire estate of 430 stores, including promotions, campaigns, value and brand. We’re already knee deep in some big projects so watch this space for updates!IMG_4980

Author

Sean Dwyer

A fresh new look for Iceland’s Bonus Card and Delivery service

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We’ve been busy giving Iceland’s delivery service and loyalty scheme a brand new look and feel, and are excited to see it launch this week!

Bonus Card gives customers the opportunity to load money onto a card to spend later, and offers a great way to save up and spread the cost for Christmas or a special occasion. It has the added ‘bonus’ that Iceland gives the customer £1 for every £20 they load onto the card. On top of this, cardholders get free Home Delivery when they spend over £20 in store. A great scheme indeed!

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We’ve given the proposition a new look and feel with a warmer graphic style and iconography, and simplified the messaging. With the new ‘more instant’ comms, there’s no doubting the ease of Iceland’s delivery proposition, and the great benefits Bonus Card gives.

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Deliciously Christmas at Iceland

We’re bringing some Iceland magic to the readers of premium food magazines and weekend newspapers this month with a suite of leaflets to inspire their Christmas. Two inserts in Olive and Good Food magazine surprise, delight and tempt customers with the very best of Iceland’s luxury range and introduce their award-winning Head Chef, Neil Nugent.

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Meanwhile two editorial-style 8-page leaflets inserted into the Mail on Saturday show customers how to impress their guests with a whole range of award-winning Christmas and party foods.  Luxury Lobster Thermidor anyone?

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Inside Apple’s new flagship Regent Street store

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The wrapping has finally come off Apple’s Regent Street store after a four month closure for a revamp. It’s bigger, brighter, more spacious and has the inevitable ‘just hang out’ atmosphere that comes with being (arguably) the coolest tech brand in the world.

If footfall is anything to go by, the new store is already wowing shoppers. We visited on a Thursday afternoon and it was packed to the rafters. No small thing for such a huge space.

There are several obvious changes – a larger, open and more airy ground floor, flooded in natural light and – presumably to offset any carbon footprint – lined with real (yes, real) trees.

Towards the back, a vast video wall provides an animated backdrop and focal point to the store, in front of which is a cubed seating area for daily expert talks and workshops, while the mezzanine floor is where you’ll find the Geniuses. When it comes to the products, they’re untethered, an open invitation to pick them up and try them for real.

But it’s the lack of product information that’s the interesting thing here. Want to read up on the features of the Apple Watch Series 2? You can’t. Need to know the screen size of the iPad Pro? Sorry, that neither. Instead, the extremely high staff-to-customer ratio ensures you get human to human contact at every turn (we loved playing ‘spot the Apple associate’, a kind of ‘Where’s Wally’ in reverse). It’s a positive far cry from many retailers it has to be said.

Overall, while product displays are imaginative, and third party brands like Bose and Beats seem somewhat unusually comfortable alongside Apple’s own products, the store could be said to lack a little warmth. But when you’re Apple, your store could be an igloo and it’d still attract thousands of customers a day. It’s the brand experience they come for, whether that’s a store in China, America, or the UK. And when it comes to consistency, Apple’s crown shows no sign of being toppled… yet.

Author

Sean Dwyer

Iceland’s exciting new store opens in Clapham

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We’re thrilled to see all our hard work for Iceland come to fruition this week with the grand (re)opening of the Clapham refitted and modernised store.

The project’s been a labour of love for the Whippet team since July. It’s seen us completely overhaul the store from the fascia to the flooring and the freezers to the fixtures, as well as create all outdoor media and a completely new kit of comms including value, promotion, brand and service communication.

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The design treatment displays a new, brighter colour palette and lifestyle photography, as well as a friendlier, more human tone of voice. Integral to the messaging throughout is Iceland’s brand proposition, Power of Frozen, which communicates the many benefits of buying frozen food, including nutritional value, quality, convenience and the positive impact on wastage and household budgets. A bigger, bolder fascia and an impactful run of digital screens appear at the front of the store – a first for Iceland – and for the kids (ok, and the adults too) a musical ice cream freezer; open the door and it’s just like when the ice cream van comes!

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We’ve already heard that customers love the new store so if you live in London, or are just passing through, pop in, grab a Lavazza coffee and be amazed at the transformation!

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Author

Sean Dwyer

Will Ikea’s new small format, shopping centre store have urbanites flocking?

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When we heard that Ikea was opening a new format store at Westfield Stratford City we couldn’t wait to head over and take a look. We were intrigued. It felt like the obvious direction for Ikea when opening a shopping centre format would be a Marketplace version of the current warehouse offering – cue mind’s eye visual of endless aisles of spoons, lamps and Swedish chocolate. So the knowledge that the new store only offers about 40 small products to buy that day got us scratching our heads.

It’s not a familiar approach – no vast blue and yellow big box city here, rather, a sleek, modern entrance with huge windows and a clear sightline into store. This enables a glimpse of the impressive vertically stacked roomsets which add theatre and entice you through the door.

Billed as an ‘Order and Collection Point’, the 900m2 store clearly offers exactly this. But it’s so much more than the functional title suggests. Whilst the order and collection points are clearly marked, it’s also a space to gain inspiration, seek advice and help planning – somewhere to create your perfect, bespoke, dream home.

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The store cleverly uses the full ceiling height for merchandising. This serves several purposes, creating visual theatre, suggesting breadth of range and also inspiring customers that the sky really is the limit.

Staff were on hand and appeared very helpful and supportive. It’s also possible to access the full range via the ‘discover more’ screens, and the ubiquitous catalogues are available to take home as usual.

All in all it feels like a great space to browse, design and dream. We have to admit that we rethought our initial doubts around the proposition and quite liked the focus on planning and ordering. It’s definitely a different approach to the familiar Ikea showroom procession where you feel desperate to get through the roomsets to the Marketplace and grab the bits and bobs you didn’t know you needed before having a hotdog.

We will be watching this (much, much smaller) space.

Author

Sean Dwyer

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