19 of 2018

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Newsletter No. 19                                                                                                                                   25 May 2018

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Woolworths Australian boss John Dixon shown the door

By Jan Cronje

Woolworths regional Australian CEO John Dixon has left the group as the retailer moves to simplify its Australian regional leadership structure.

In a shareholder announcement on Tuesday morning Woolworths said that Dixon’s position was being axed in the wake of a strategic cost review. Dixon resigned as an executive director on Monday.

“We would like to thank John for his stewardship of the business over the last two and a half years and wish him every success for the future,” it said in a statement.

As part of the leadership restructuring, the chief executives of the group’s two Australian operating divisions – David Thomas of David Jones and Scott Fyfe of the Country Road Group – will report directly to Woolworths group CEO Ian Moir.

The retailer’s shares were trading at R60.00 on the JSE at 10:15, up 0.17% on the day. fin24

How technology is driving the millennial retail market

By Mark Thomson

Over the last decade, the retail industry has seen a shift in how it operates. The exponential increase in online shopping has had a significant impact on how we buy our products. Long gone are the days when purchasing items was done from Monday to Saturday, between a rigid office-hours timeline.

The evolution of e-commerce culture has particularly affected one demographic: the millennial. This collective term we hear about in today’s media and society is set to make up 75% of the working population by 2025. This represents a massive share of the retail market.

At the heart of the millennial’s modus operandi is consumption of technology. After all, this is the Facebook and Instagram generation, where owning the latest smartphone is akin to holding a higher social status. This obsession with technology among millennials is, in turn, influencing how retail sales are made all over the world.

This new generation of e-shoppers has incredible spending power that retailers need to recognise if they want to succeed. In fact, according to Forbes, millennials spend $600 billion annually. This accounts for 28% of all daily consumer spending, and this will rise to 35% by 2030.

We know that millennials hold great sway when it comes to retail sales, but what services do retailers need to deliver to capture millennial sales? What is the technology driving the millennial market?

Service demand among millennials

In order to target millennials successfully, retailers have to go down the omnichannel route. This is important as it will support marketing strategies across all channels – including online and offline. Omnichannel is vital in capturing the millennial sale, as it can deliver personalised content to customers at the right place and at the right time. This can also be used to analyse key metrics such as store visit frequency, repeat visitors, customer retention and cross-store visits.

Linked to omnichannel is the growing popularity of click-and-collect. Put simply, the typical millennial mindset is one of instant gratification – an ‘I must have it now’ mindset. Step forward click-and-collect. This service enables stores to deliver better customer service by allowing consumers to place their order online and then collect in-store, a local shop or lockers. In the case of in-store pick-up, a notification can be sent to the enterprise’s picking systems when a click-and-collect consumer comes within a certain radius. This notification prompts staff to get the order ready. This is seamless retail in 2018.

A further area of growth driven by millennials is free returns. In fact, increasing numbers of e-commerce sales are accompanied with the offer of free returns to avoid unsure customers leaving with incomplete sales. Returns processing inevitably comes at a cost for retailers, impacting margins, so this element of omnichannel also rolls into that of click-and-collect in which one best practice methodology is to encourage customers to try out their goods on the spot, minimizing the risk of damage or loss and bringing forward any returns, thus minimizing the time stock is out of the inventory cycle.

Some progressive retailers’ stores are increasingly being treated as extra warehouses, creating a single view of stock across the business wherever it sits, and often enabling shipping and receiving returns directly to the local outlet.

After the items are ordered, packaged and ready for collection, it’s time for payment. For millennials, the preferred method is mobile payments as they prefer not to carry cash. Retailers need to ensure mobile payments are at the forefront of their offering to engage with this specific audience.

Driving sales with technology

Identifying the services that millennials desire is an easy enough task, but what technology is needed to deliver these? Managing the operation behind the shop front is a vital factor in retail strategy.

Central to the conversation here is the Internet of Things (IoT). And while much of the conversation surrounding IoT may seem like hyperbole, connected devices are not only the future, they are the now. Indeed, research by Zebra Technologies found nearly 96% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT.

The Zebra study revealed retailers are investing in IoT technologies – from beacons that send shoppers customized coupons to radio frequency identification (RIFD) tags that track inventory – to simplify, enliven and customise the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs. They’re embracing IoT platforms to transform real-time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.

IoT has the power to transform how we shop. In today’s omnichannel world, product availability is critical, and many retailers have in-store inventory visibility challenges. Technological advancements in areas such as machine vision, RFID and data analytics – underpinned by IoT – are enabling more advanced business visibility by allowing retail inventory to be “seen” and connected by both staff and customers alike.

Aside from IoT, machine learning is playing a vital role in targeting millennials. This technology utilizes analytics and predictive models to help retailers personalise customer experiences and enhance inventory demand, forecasting and visibility. The outcome is increased and repeat sales as well as great customer satisfaction. This latter point is vital in today’s digital age where millennials can post negative reviews if they feel they are getting short-changed.

The final powerful tech up the retailer’s sleeve and coming fast is automation. This often involves the identification of areas where mundane tasks can be automated, freeing up staff to focus on customer service and sales tasks to improve conversions. This technology is vital for ensuring packing and orders are shipped efficiently, inventories are tracked meticulously, in-store inventory levels can be monitored and customers can find their items. Automation could be described as the unsung hero in the retail mix.

The future checkout

Millennials – often defined as those born between 1982 and 1996 – make up the most influential key demographic in the growing retail industry. This is because they are the first generation to grow up in the current tech world boom. This means that retailers must give them what they want, when they want it. If this doesn’t happen, the retailer does not have a sustainable business. The way to achieve this 21st century challenge is to employ the right technology both in-store and in the back office. Failure to do this could result in millennials shopping elsewhere. Source Bizcommunity

Nanollose develops fabric from coconuts

Australian technology company Nanollose has developed a sustainable fabric from Nullarbor, a fibre created using natural coconut by-products. This fabric is the first of its kind marking a breakthrough for an industry that is urgently seeking sustainable alternatives to rayon and cotton, both of which cause significant environmental issues.

There is an increasing demand from both consumers and clothing manufacturers, for fibres that do not rely on or damage the environment, said Nanollose CEO Alfie Germano adding that these fibres were synthesised into microbial cellulose and then converted into fibre using our unique technology.

“To create the rayon fibres that are currently used in clothing and textiles, countless trees have to be cut down, chipped and then treated with hazardous, chemicals,  and to make enough cotton for a single t-shirt it takes 2,700 litres of water,” Germano said.

By contrast, no trees or plants are impacted in the production of Nanollose’s Nullarbor fibre and fabric, and the process requires very little water. The result is a fibre that can be used to make clothing and textiles, but with a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.

Germano added that the company is initially tapping into the established coconut industry to secure pilot-scale supply of the raw material, but when operating on a larger scale, waste streams from bigger industries will come into play. “Our process has the potential to convert a number of biomass waste products from the beer, wine and liquid food industries into fibres using very little land, water or energy in the process.”

Consumers are demanding more environmental responsibility from their favourite brands and retailers. With an increasing consciousness around ‘how we make things’ and issues like water wastage and toxicity of pollutants increasingly on consumers’ minds, Germano said the industry is now at an inflection point.

“It’s very evident that consumers are going to reward progressive fashion brands and companies who facilitate this eco change, as they are increasingly seeking knowledge around how their clothing is made and what effects its production is having on the planet,” said Germano.

“My 30-year history in the textile and apparel industry has opened my eyes to the environmental concerns that plague the industry. My vision is for Nanollose to be at the forefront of offering fashion and textile groups a viable alternative, and decreasing the industry’s reliance on environmentally burdensome, raw materials,” he concluded F2F

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Did you know……..

Patches

Patches were initially used by Romans, who wanted to emulate the goddess Venus who was said to have a beauty mark. However, wearing patches as a fashion statement was something that came into being in the 16th century in England and lasted until the 19th.

Most people today are not familiar with what patches were and it definitely seems something strange to understand. Basically patches were small pieces of velvet, black silk or fine leather that were glued onto specific parts of the face to highlight certain features or to resemble a beauty mark. For example, one could wear a patch by the corner of the mouth, the corner of the eye or around the temples. At one point, the place where you would glue your patch was an indicator of a message: for example, a patch glued above the lip meant that you were flirty, a patched placed near the eye meant that you were provocative and a patch sticked on a wrinkle was an indicator of a cheerful personality.

Patches were also used to cover scars and pimples.

Of course, there were a lot of people who used to exaggerate and wear too many patches, which resulted in them looking like they were covered with flies. In fact, in France and England, patches were called “mouches”, which is the French word for flies, and in Russia they were called “mushka”.

This fashion trend (and addiction for some), was also used to denote political views. According to a 1711 issue of “The Spectator”, “Politically minded dames used their patches as party symbols: the Whigs patching on the right, and the Tories on the left side of their faces, while those who were neutral, decorated both cheeks.”

During the 19th century, both men and women used to wear patches, which could now be found in many shapes, such as square, heart, star, moon, and even as a coach and horses.

This trend lasted until the 1850s, when, after centuries of being in style it wore out and was put aside.

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