Category Archives: News

A Brand-New Powerhouse in European Retail Marketing

Two of the foremost retail marketing agencies have joined forces to create an exciting new company to manage their global clients in Europe as well as offering European brands and retailers access to a suite of global retail services.

The Valley Group is one of Europe’s premier retail agencies, and US based Outform have joined forces after collaborating on several global projects, to form Outform Valley Ltd.

Integrating the two teams, infrastructure, and distribution into one operation, will provide the European market with global reach and cost effective retail, innovation and retail technology services. The group’s mission is to become a leading global retail agency by providing clients who seek multiregional end-to-end support with a dedicated partner.

“We’re seeing that brands and retailers are confronted with obstacles when it comes to creating a consistent experience in retail across regions. At the same time businesses are moving towards smaller internal teams committed to channel marketing, and are looking for partners that can provide a full suite of dedicated retail services. By offering global and local capabilities we’re able to maintain consistent shopper experiences on a large scale. There’s a huge opportunity here, which is why we’re expanding our presence,” said Ariel Haroush, CEO of Outform.

The Valley Group’s 125 years of experience, combined with Outform’s agency heritage and global production capabilities will offer clients truly comprehensive and unparalleled shopper marketing, manufacturing and print services. With enhanced reach and support, Outform Valley can empower global brands and retailers with greater control over product launches, brand compliance, and retail distribution.

“With the world of retail constantly changing and the need to deliver a better-connected experience for the consumer we will provide an easily accessible multi-platform resource for our clients. Combining capabilities and years of experience, enables us to offer the best quality, competitive pricing, and guaranteed results. We provide solutions to every vertical, whatever their needs may be,” said James Haggas, the new Managing Director of Outform Valley, Mr. Haggas will oversee strategic growth in client relations and operations.

Outform Valley offers shopper marketing strategy, creative, mass and bespoke production, and installation for temporary, semi-permanent, permanent P-O-P, and full scale shop-in-shop creations. The agency services all sectors of the market and guarantees total program management to clients.

In conjunction with expanded production services, the merger of The Valley Group with Outform bolsters the group’s existing shopper insights division enabling dedicated management of market research and retail planning to North American, Asian, and European markets. The merging of The Valley Group and Outform reinforces plans for growth with a vision to become the global leader in retail marketing.
Find out more at www.outform.com

About Outform Inc.
Established in 2003, Outform has sites in Miami, San Francisco, Shenzhen, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, and London. The agency is one of the industry’s most advanced manufacturers of retail solutions and technology.

About The Valley Group.
Founded in Yorkshire, The Valley Group has been in business for 125 years. The company has focused on offering retail marketing services to Europe’s leading brands and advertising agencies and has offices throughout Europe.

Guess Who! Enter to win!

Like those embarrassing relatives at birthdays and weddings, we’ve been searching through the Valley archive uncovering some of our colleagues’ best (and worst!) moments as captured on camera.

We’ve published one of our choice finds below. If you can guess who either one of these fine fellows is, you could win yourself a bottle of wine! Take a look and then send your guesses to enquiries@thevalleygroup.com

comp-photo

Levi’s Shows Its Pride With The Window Light Show™

Levi’s, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, celebrated Pride month this June. To express their message of love, support, and community, the brand transformed the Window Light Show™installation in their San Francisco flagship store to feature animations celebrating gay pride.

levispridedisplay2

Valley’s partner Outform created colorful animations that were both fun and impactful, featuring Levi’s batwing logo and the iconic rainbow flag during Gay Pride month. The synchronisation between the animation playing on the displays is also notable as they work in unison to create symmetry and beauty, lighting up the Castro district and spreading the theme of equality and diversity to shoppers and passers by alike.

As the saying goes, “Say it loud, say it proud!” with Levi’s doing just that through the powerfully-expressive Window Light Show™ transformations!

levis-pride

Valley Production Manager John Spence bids farewell after 40 years

Valley’s longstanding Production Manager, John Spence, has retired after over 40 years of association with the business.

John began his relationship with Valley as a client when he worked for CV Carpets, building up a fantastic partnership over two decades. He then joined Valley as Production Manager, overseeing the day-to-day operations of our Yorkshire manufacturing facilities.

John was instrumental in developing our internal processes and procedures and played a key role in Valley securing ISO:9001 accreditation.

John will of course remain a much loved member of the Valley family in his retirement.

Enjoy it, John! Ours is a pint!

Recycling Retail for the Good of the Planet

Recycling retail Coca Cola marketing one brand CSR sustainability green

Back in 2012, we suggested to the Government that there was life in Olympic branded retail marketing collateral, after the games. The concept was based on the premise… “I am a retail display… Tomorrow I’ll be educating children about the planet”.

We suggested that ex displays could be recycled into educational equipment such as; mini wind turbines and microscopes, to name just a few. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 16.58.06

Today, Valley have turned the concept into a reality in India, recycling retail product displays into educational tools. Please view the video below to see the work that is going on. 

The big question is, what could you be doing to do your bit?

We have some great ideas, let’s sit round a table. 

John Lewis presents smart home technology experience

John Lewis unveiled what it describes as the UK’s largest smart home technology experience, today at it’s Oxford Street flagship store. The experience features futuristic gadgets and technologies for every room, following an 81% increase in sales of smart home technologies in previous years. The space is split into four interactive zones including; the kitchen, entertainment, sleep and home monitoring. Demonstrations will showcase the technologies to the best of their capacity and will showcase how the smart technology responds to human behaviour without direct interaction.

 

John Lewis Smart Home in Oxford Street

Source: essentialretail.com

In line with our research regarding the rise of experiential marketing, John Lewis are clear that in store experiences are growing in importance, with customers enjoying physically experiencing products before they commit to purchasing them. Particularly in the technology industry, experiences such as this not only allow customers to trial the technologies but also to help understand which technology is useful for them personally.

0c9468e02d471e24653bcb964812b348_w335

Source: essentialretail.com

Some of the technologies include; an oven that is able to start cooking your dinner while you’re out, a quality of sleep monitor which can provide an alarm to wake you up when you’re at the lightest point of sleep and a smart fridge that can place internet shopping orders for you. All products featured will be available to purchase in store and on the John Lewis website and the smart home experience will begin roll out in Autumn starting with the newest Leeds store… Keep your eyes peeled!

The Science of Persuasion

It’s rule one in any salesperson’s rulebook and marketers have been working with it for decades… Simply put, to sell something you have to be able to convince the buyer not only that they want a product or service, but that they need it.

This is clearly where the art of persuasion comes into play. But what about the science of persuasion?

These tactics don’t ‘just work’, there’s science behind them that prompts people to act in a certain way in response to persuasion tactics and a number of studies have been conducted to find out how. Gradually it’s becoming clear that in order to master influence tactics, one must learn and understand the science of persuasion. It’s science, not magic.

A traditionally favoured set of influence tactics comes from Robert Cialdini and his “Six Principles of Influence” which highlights six key subconscious triggers:
Reciprocity
We feel obliged to return favours
ConsistencyWe normally follow consistency
Social ProofWe are influence by other similar people
AuthorityWe feel a sense of obligation to people who are seen as being authoritative
LikingWe are influenced easily by people we like and people generally prefer to say yes to people they like
ScarcityWe often fear missing out through failing to act

Cialdini’s argument is that we are all part of an animal kingdom and essentially, work on autopilot based on our basic instincts. We are exposed to stimuli all day every day and as a result our brain uses subconscious routines to filter out certain signals and stimuli and thus allows us to react to stimuli without even realising. His key principles of influence provide the science behind how we are wired and, the simple fact is that whether we like it or not, we respond to each of these triggers positively. Cialdini aimed to answer a question that researchers have been studying for over 70 years- What influences us to say yes? And it seems he may have hit the nail on the head. More recent studies have been conducted looking at some of the six tactics and the key results, along with recent examples are summarised below.

Reciprocity “In a study, the giving of a mint increased a waiter’s tip by 3%. Two mints equal an increase of 14% in tips. BUT, if the waiter leaves one mint, walks away but turns and says but for you nice people, here’s another… tips increased by 23%!”  – The influence was not focused on what was offered but how it was offered.

Scarcity – British Airways announced that they would be cutting twice daily Concord flights from London to New York because they had become uneconomical… The response: Sales more than doubled the very next day.

AuthorityAt a lettings agency, the sales staff asked the receptionist to mention their credentials to customers before they were transferred on the phone. This led to a 20% rise in appointments and 15% rise in signed contracts” – Signalling to credibility is important.

Click HERE to read our full newsletter

IKEA goes Green

Ikea Group and Ikea Foundation have pledged €1 billion on renewable energy and climate change policies, particularly in nations and communities most impacted by climate change.

The pledge builds on previously invested €1.5 billion which has been used by Ikea to improve wind and solar power technologies since 2009. This investment coupled with others of Ikea’s green initiatives has resulted in the company being on track to becoming energy independent/ neutral- producing as much energy as it consumes.

The new funding looks to help less well off communities to increase their resilience to climate change and adopt renewable energy technologies and initiatives across the community as a whole.

Further to this, Ikea have announced the opening of four eco friendly stores in India, which will feature solar panels on the store roofs, and in car parks. Ikea’s carbon footprint will also be the focus of development, with partnerships with suppliers utilised to improve energy efficiencies.

Ikea have identified the potential for huge savings, which, in turn, translate into enormous reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, demonstrating the dyadic benefits related to going green within the retail industry.

Read other great articles in our latest Life in the Retail Space

Storm Desmond will not get the better of Tesco

Tesco has built a 10,000 sq ft temporary store in just 7 days to replace it’s flooded superstore on Warwick Road, Carlisle.

 

We have all read about the devastating effects of Storm Desmond following a string of terrible storms across the UK, however Tesco have proved that nothing will stop them from serving their customers. Around 100 staff members helped to construct a temporary shop in the original site’s car park in a bid to ensure that the people of Carlisle were not left without essentials and festive favourites just before Christmas.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 13.58.16

Source: The Guardian

Staff were evacuated from the store on the first weekend of December after water rose to waist height and businesses all over the region ground to a halt. The store is currently in the process of being refurbished and is looking to reopen in late January.

image_update_2821697655001_4667004290001_brightcove

Source: The Guardian

Apple gets a solar powered makeover

To carry on from our white paper regarding green retail (view), information has been released suggesting that Apple is planning on going green itself- opening a new store in Singapore powered using renewable energy.

retail-fifth-avenue-landscape

(Image Source: www.apple.com)

Solar power panels will harvest the energy needed to run the store and will be located on not only the roof of the store itself but also on the roofs of some public buildings. Apple has not revealed the exact location or opening date as of yet but we’ll be sure to keep you updated!!

A word from Kate

I broke the internet?…

The ongoing lovefest with the Kardashians and crew continues – a summer of Glasto, Cait and oil slicked derriere’s. The truth is though, as many UK multi channel businesses fail to prepare – you might experience a bit of Internet breakage yourself… or a website, at least…or in my case, my tablet out of sheer frustration!

I was born for Internet shopping, despite having a quite ‘hippy-heart’ – the ease, slickness and speed allow me to “multitask” in an airport lounge, back of a cab, or calm myself when I wake from slumber to remember I need an astronaut replica outfit, aged 6, for Friday. 

I am a champion for a real life, retail experience, and save myself for the good stuff out of work. The places where it’s a joy to shop. But, day to day, awkward to find, and high demand times – eg Christmas – I’m a big online fan. When it’s done right… So, as I speed from seminar to my next client, the only way for me to benefit from sale shopping is via my mobile, online.

With a big shopping list, I visit 5 National retailers and try to order. A couple of sites are ‘ok’ – they have annoying glitches – eg allowing you to browse, select and ‘add to basket’ before telling me it’s out of stock.  A further site seems to have some menu ‘ mash-up’ problem where it’s search facility becomes random – I presume due to sale traffic. The final two websites are so bad, I feel I have gone back in time.

They throw me out of the site, freeze and empty my basket – is it Black Friday all over again? Hours later, then days later, I manage to place some orders – which I will live to regret. Over the following weeks we experience orders that never arrive, items cancelled – but no funds returned, a bit of fraud from one of the courier companies who took a shine to our items, and nearly a month later – still awaiting goods and refunds.

Of course, I have experience in the retail world and can stand up for my rights – but what about those who can’t. Investigating how many customers have taken to social media and forums about similar experiences with the same retailers – I find the complaints are in abundance.

Every year, the cost to the UK businesses due to poor customer service, grows. Is it really acceptable to survive as a business on a ‘take now’ culture? The wise brands ?know it’s not. Take a look at the new Harvey Nichols Rewards programme. It’s smart, intelligent and it shows appreciation at every spend level. Allowing the customer to sit in the driving seat, they can customise their own rewards, get daily benefits like free coffees and smoothies, and link in their instagram.

It’s the companies that celebrate and love their customers that will survive and thrive. So instead of breaking the Internet this summer, let’s go back to those hippy days and make it a ‘summer of love’.

Sainsbury’s check into the convenience game

Sainsbury’s are trialling new store designs in six locations across the UK in response to changing customer needs and shopping styles. 

Among the changes being tested, Sainsbury’s is responding to increased pressures to meet customer expectations by looking to explicitly cater to specific shopping missions. For example, stores will feature Food to Go sections by the checkouts as well as a larger range of checkout options, and a fresh bakery in close proximity, specifically designed for the speedy, convenience conscious shoppers. Sainsbury’s SmartShop app is an example of their new checkout options, allowing customers to scan shopping lists at home, locate their items on a map on their phone and checkout using just an app and handset.

A different layout is also being trialled adding to the ease and speed at which customers will be able to shop and allowing the store to offer more choice in a range of products. Notably, around 30% more space will be dedicated to Tu clothing, kitchen and homeware.

The new stores are being used as a method of engaging customers and creating a conversation between them and the employees. Feedback at this stage is vital to the success of the long term design, allowing Sainsbury’s to capitalise on the more popular features and modify the less popular. It is clear that not everything will work but from a customer’s perspective, it’s nice to see they’re trying!

 

Our CEO Speaks

Hi it’s my pleasure to welcome you to our new website.

I would like to introduce you to my business, a group of retail marketing specialists working together to achieve the best possible results. Valley is now over 120 years old, started by my great grandfather and to this day still continues to lead the way.

Today we offer a fully integrated service from on-line to off-line, allowing us to engage the shopper on every step along their journey.
Take a look around to discover a little bit more about us.

James Haggas
CEO

Youth 100 List – What makes brands attractive?

This year’s Youth 100 list unveils what attributes make brands attractive to 18- to-24 year-olds and uncovers some surprises in which companies top the group’s ‘most desired’.

Brands that make life easier, more fun or help to save money are highly rated by young people according to a new report by youth researchers Voxburner. YouTube tops this year’s Youth 100 list, followed by Amazon, Google, BBC and Ben & Jerry’s.

Many brands in the top 100 follow these three fundamental requirements and those that achieve one or more are higher up in the list, according to Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner.