Vicky Brock delivers Google Analytics Workshop

Clear Returns’ CEO and Google certified partner Vicky Brock gave a compelling presentation on Google Analytics this week to a group of eager attendees.

Discussing several issues surrounding data analysis such as cookies and privacy laws Vicky provided some useful tips to make the most of the tool. She also discussed the tool from several different business perspectives, such as an ecommerce or a lead generation viewpoint.

Audience members left with key pointers to take away and apply to their own businesses including:
-View mobile and non-mobile traffic to understand how people are using your site
– Introduce your own custom activity e.g. social media
– Exclude internal users of the site to avoid confusing the data
– Viewing the search terms used on your site can show unmet demand from customers

Clear Returns hope to hold more events like this in future, if you would like to keep up to date with all our events please sign up to our newsletter.

Power Lunch Club talk from retailer Chris Tiso

Chris Tiso CEO of Tiso, Scotland’s leading outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, gave an incredibly insightful presentation at the latest Power Lunch Club event on January 10th.

Chris discussed the power that family businesses, which Tiso itself remains, have in the retail industry and the ability they have to plan for the long-term.

He also spoke of the importance of an integrated multi-channel strategy and this is an issue that the trade press has also been focused on. Retail Bulletin reported last month that multi-channel strategies including the use of tablet technology and added services such as click-and-collect are essential for survival in the industry.

Although online sales are growing, Chris Tiso pointed out that the physical customer experience in-store is still crucial to retailer’s success and this shouldn’t be ignored in favour of developing the online offering.

Having a businessman here in Scotland who is at the forefront of a successful multi-million pound retail business deliver his insight into the industry is incredibly useful, and something the Clear Return’s team learned a lot from.

Record-breaking Christmas results for retail

The run up to Christmas 2012 has been record-breaking for the retail industry according to many recent reports, with retailers continuing to report record sales as Christmas approaches. Such records included:

  • Retailers such as Laura Ashley, John Lewis and Supergroup all reported profit rises and increased sales, with John Lewis taking £147.8m across its multichannel operation in just 7 days.
  • For the first time spending has topped the £8 billion mark in a single month, for November this year.
  • Year-on-year growth for the clothing sector improved from 12% in October to 20% in November, the strongest recorded for the sector in 2012.

There have also been several interesting shifts in the industry, including changing consumer behaviour through the Christmas period. For example the use of technology when shopping has consistently risen as more and more festive shoppers use the internet, smartphones and tablet devices to shop in the run up to Christmas. Customers are also leaving their shopping later and later, with many shopping during the final week and weekend and some leaving it until the last minute on December 24th, consistently confused and distressed males!

This has likely prompted an increasing number of online retailers to offer next-day delivery, click & collect and later last order dates. Additionally new delivery services such as Shutl and Collect+ are proving extremely popular with retailers and consumers during this period to efficiently guarantee delivery before Christmas.

A rising number of consumers are shopping on Christmas Day – spending vouchers, buying accessories for their latest gadget, apps for their smartphones or e-books for their brand new e-reader. This has led many retailers to adapt their behaviour and replace traditional January sales with straight-after-Christmas sales. John Lewis’ online clearance will begin on Christmas Eve and Amazon plans to start its Boxing Day deals on Christmas Day. However many sales have started a full week before Christmas, for example Nicole Fahri, Clarks and Boden are already discounting by as much as 50%.

However among all this purchasing, don’t forget about the huge volumes of returns! We will be watching eagle-eyed to see how this affects the industry in early 2013.

The growing problem of retail fraud

Retail Bulletin has reported today that shoplifting and retail fraud will cost UK retailers £1 billion over Christmas.

The Shoplifting for Christmas 2012 report by the Centre for Retail Research broke down the costs into losses of £522 million from shoplifting, £431 million through employee theft, and £47 million due to vendor and distribution losses.

However with the right solutions it is possible to bring this number down. Clear Returns’ CEO Vicky Brock commented,

“Losses from fraudulent behaviour are something that the Clear Returns solution can definitely tackle. By analysing historical data we can pinpoint the customer’s who are consistent fraudsters, allowing the retailer to give the customer a call to check if there is a problem, and subtly let them know we’re onto them!”

This problem is not just limited to the UK. The study also looked into costs overseas and found that shoplifting and fraud would cost €5.8 billion in Europe and $8.9 billion in the USA over Christmas.

Clear Returns have discovered that fraud is also apparent online. Our system is able to spot those shoppers who consistently re-buy the same items, and we can highlight wear-and-return issues. Therefore as the online channel grows for retailers, so will these issues. By tackling this now we aim to save retailers millions in lost profits.

Clear Returns visit Women 2.0 and IBM Smartcamp

Another week, another round of international events for the Clear Returns team. While half headed to the Women 2.0 competition in New York, the other half were off to Berlin for the European finals of IBM Smartcamp.

Although we didn’t come away with a prize it was still great to be a part of these prestigious events. We were honoured enough being the only international finalist selected out of 300 applicants at Women 2.0 and 1 of only 6 finalists in the whole of Europe at IBM Smartcamp.

It was great to hear from so many inspirational female entrepreneurs at Women 2.0, such as Sandy Lerner the co-founder of Cisco Systems and founder of Urban Decay as well as Geraldine Laybourne the founder of Oxygen Media. These talks included some great one-liners such as “If you can’t toot your own horn, toot another woman’s horn”. The mentoring sessions in Berlin also proved extremely valuable, with some mentors even tweeting their support for us to win!

Many, many attendees of these events complimented our presentations, and gave us great feedback on our idea. Also the guests were more than willing to help us out with our ask for contacts and introductions. We even had meetings set up for the next day within minutes of our presentation in New York!

Overall, another phenomenal week for Clear Returns!