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5 key planning activities to consider in the lead up to retail’s comeback

5 key planning activities to consider in the lead up to retail’s comeback

The gradual process of easing restrictions has now tentatively begun in Europe and, as markets re-open brands and retailers are continuing to focus on activities to kickstart retail.

During the past month we’ve seen 5 key approaches taken by our clients to ensure they are ready for retail’s comeback.

  1. Challenger brands have been securing and increasing their European retail presence with the planning of physical flagships to gain presence.
  2. Other brands and retailers are taking the opportunity to plan for upgrading their assets and have been busy producing and putting stock in place.
  3. Joint discussions on retail execution have been high on the action list of many brands and retailers enabling the building stock to allow them to move at pace when restrictions lift and mutually support one another.
  4. There has been a focus on stores that are still open and pushing product and communications into these channels.
  5. And those brand and retailers who have long term planning in place and are potentially less susceptible to recession, continue to plan production and installation.

We’ve been able to support our clients by completing design work, engineering and production as well as working on large scale logistical planning to ensure that we have stock in the right place at the right time to minimise time into store as and when we can gain access.

It is becoming clear that the role of the store moving forward will need to be redefined to attract consumers back into physical retail once restrictions begin to lift. For now, speed is of the essence to get product experiences and stock available for that all-important re-opening of retail.

Giving shoppers confidence by providing safe shopping experiences

We’re working with several of our clients to help them deliver solutions to promote safe shopping for both consumers and retail teams, not only to meet the immediate needs of making essential retail safe, but also for the future when restrictions are relaxed and shoppers are able to return into store.

When retail kickstarts, consumer confidence will have taken a knock, shoppers may have different expectations of their in-store shopping experience. Encouraging shoppers back into physical stores and ensuring the experience they have when they get there, meets or exceeds their expectations, should be planned for now.

We’re hosting discussions with our contacts about what retail might look like post Covid-19 and how we can work together to plan retail’s comeback.

Our update regarding Covid-19

As valued clients, suppliers and partners we would like to assure you that Alrec is currently closely following the relevant government guidelines in each of the countries we operate in.

Currently this is having minimal impact to our clients and we will endeavour to maintain that for the foreseeable future.

Our priority, of course, is ensuring the health and safety of all.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the effect of Covid-19 on your projects please do get in touch with us at marketing@alrec.com

Bringing our brand to life at EuroShop

Five activity-packed days, 94,000 predominantly international visitors and 2,300 hugely varied exhibitors – EuroShop 2020 was a busy, vibrant, inspiring experience, and a huge success for Alrec. We embraced the truly global nature of the show with an expert team representing all our geographical locations. Now it’s all over for another three years, we wanted to look back at both our own experience and some of the common trends we saw throughout the show.

Designed to stand out

As the “Experts in experience” we wanted our stand to represent our philosophy, approach and technical innovation. We’re grateful to have received extremely positive feedback from our visitors on its design and execution. It was the embodiment of the Alrec brand – a beautifully crafted physical space enhanced with integrated interactive elements designed to bring our story to life. A large touchscreen allowed visitors to explore the Alrec 360 approach through case studies, videos and dynamic content; immersive AR technology provided a deep exploration into our creative abilities; and large format LED walls enabled us to showcase our very best work.

This is the very essence of the work we do every day for our clients, so it was a rewarding and insightful experience to apply our approach to our own brand for a change. Judging by how busy our meeting schedule was, it certainly made an impression on our visitors – all of whom were keen to discover how we could bring their brand to life in the same way. Interested to discover how we could do the same for you? Get in touch with our expert team to find out more.

Tracking the trends

We launched our 2020 Industry Report at EuroShop. The Report has been proving a big success, and it was good to see the key trends we’d identified clearly in evidence at the show.

Bridging the gap between on- and offline retail, sustainability as a core value and the shift in the balance of power to the consumer driving in-store evolution – particularly when it comes to technology – were all key themes at the 2020 show.

It was interesting to see online technology driving in-store changes – mobile POS at the point of choosing, virtual shopping carts and digital mannequins featured among some of the innovations on display. Eliminating the queue has become a big ambition – continuing the trend to turn bricks and mortar retail into a satisfying and engaging leisure experience that works alongside online channels, rather than trying to compete with them.

Sustainability has evolved beyond a buzzword – the show was packed with brilliant examples of materials, technology and design that could provide genuinely significant improvements in environmental performance – as we’ve covered in our Industry Report, this is now an expectation among the majority of consumers, not a “nice to have”.

For more on these key themes, and a deep look into the statistics behind them, make sure you sign up for your copy of our 2020 Industry Report.

Alrec chats to Magdalena Bojarska, Logistics

Join us for a regular catch up where one of our Alrec team members talks on their role within the business and what motivates them.

Magdalena Bojarska works with the Logistics team at Alrec. In this short interview, we hear how Magdalena is proud to work for Alrec who delivers valuable and exciting projects to their global customers. Her responsibilities to deliver the products in the right place at the right time presents its own challenges, making each working day different. Hear more from Magdalena in the video below and learn how Alrec brings ideas together from across the globe to create one perfect concept.

Defining the future of innovation: AI, 5G and health

Following a week filled with over 20,000 product debuts unveiling the future of technology, we came away challenged and inspired by The Consumer Electronics Show 2020. More than 4,400 exhibiting companies launched their latest tech products to 170,000 attendees across more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space. From global technology brands to pioneering start-ups, the innovation at CES will revolutionize markets and change our world for the better.

“CES 2020 inspired and connected every major industry across the globe,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, owner and producer of CES.

The exhibition featured the entire spectrum of transformative technology that will redefine markets and shift business models. For us, seven key themes in retail technology were highlighted.

Artificial intelligence was dominant throughout the show floor and will be a “key ingredient technology” over the next decade. Companies debuted their latest AI solutions, including Brunswick, Doosan, John Deere and Kyocera.

CES is the only show where the entire 5G ecosystem – the backbone for connectivity, transportation, augmented and virtual reality, digital health and more – comes together. Carriers and mobile operators, such as Verzon, Sprint AT&T, Nokia and Ericson, demonstrated the latest advancements in 5G’s speed, reliability and efficiency.

Non-traditional tech companies used the exhibition as a platform to launch products. Impossible Foods returned debuting it’s Impossible Pork; John Deere was featured in the AI & Robotics Marketplace and other companies, such as Bell, Delta Airlines, L’Oreal NBC Universal and Procter & Gamble, unveiled how they’re transforming their businesses through technology.

Digital health technologies were a major theme, with advancements in digital therapeutics, wearables and remote patient monitoring as digital health addresses real world issues like opioid dependence, mental illness and chronic disease. The Health and Wellness category increased by nearly 25% with more than 135 exhibiting companies, including Humetrix and InBody.

CES 2020 was also the world’s largest start-up event, with more than 1,200 companies from 46 countries featured within Eureka Park, offering disruptive innovations, attracting investors and big-name brands. Technologies unveiled include the Oval Home smart sensor that analyses temperature, light, humidity and movement in the home; Yoganotch, which applies motion capture technology to help users improve poses; and Caregiver Smart Solutions with sensors that track movement and patterns to provide caregivers reassurance and patients more independence at home.

Nine of the world’s leading car manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes), FCA, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota, and more than 150 vehicle tech exhibitors unveiled the latest in connected cars, self-driving vehicles and concept cars. The future of transportation through vehicle technology was showcased by products such as Mercedes Vision AVTR concept car, Audi’s AI: ME and the Sony Vision S.

CES brought together content creators, Hollywood, the advertising and music industries, media and leading CMOs to explore the future of brand marketing and entertainment, including streaming services, through the return of C Space. The 2020 program featured more than 60 exhibitors, including AT&T Services, Comcast, Google, HP, Hulu, iHeart, NBC Universal, Pandora, Reddit, Roku, SiriuXM, Snap, Twitch, Turner, Univision and WWE.

It was an exciting few days and we learnt so much about the future of technology. Some of the key technologies to look out for include sleep wearables and smart mattresses, electrification of cars and driving aid systems, wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling and supreme audio quality, 8K screen technology and transparent and flexible LED screens.

We can’t wait to learn even more about the future of tech at CES 2021!

Our New Polish Facility

Our Polish operation is moving into a contemporary new facility.

These are exciting times for Alrec. For the last few years, we have been growing and evolving as a business. And in a few short months, we will be moving into a new, purpose-built plant that is large enough to accommodate our current workload and future plans.

Alrec New Facility in Poland

The new facility is located in Lodz, a large and modern city in the centre of Poland. Many international companies have manufacturing and logistics operations in the area, attracted by the skilled local workforce, the excellent transport links (across Poland and with trans-European routes) and the city’s open-armed approach to incoming investors.

The new premises allow us to bring our entire operation under one roof and have been designed to meet our exact needs. With 12,000 sqm of production and warehouse space and 2,000 sqm of office space, we will have the room we need to create our pioneering retail solutions and to optimise our logistics to better support our clients. We will also be taking the opportunity to upgrade much of our plant with state-of-the-art machinery. This will enable us to further improve our production in terms of efficiency and innovation. It will also enable us to use more environmentally friendly and sustainable processes and materials.

Work is already well underway on the new building and, all being well, we will be moving our operations during January, ready for the team to move in during February.

We look forward to showing you how much more we can undertake and deliver for our customers in 2020.

 

Alrec chats to Marek Bakalarczyk, Operations Director

Join us for a regular catch up where one of our Alrec team members talks on their role within the business and what motivates them.

Marek Bakalarczyk is the Operations Director working in the Polish team. In the short interview, Marek shares the journey of how his various roles within Alrec have led him to becoming Operations Director. It is through his past experiences at Alrec that Marek has found an appreciation of each member of his staff and understanding of their needs. He is responsible for production development working with teams on the projects to create a perfectly developed product within the time and budget. Every day is exciting for Marek – find out more in the video below.

Alrec dives into the gaming community experiencing what the worlds largest gaming event – Gamescom has to offer in 2019 and beyond.

Game on!

League of Legends, Hearthstone; Heroes of Warcraft, Fortnite, Overwatch & Apex legends all have something in common; they’re huge, with huge online communities and an army of proxy fans consuming game related media through the streaming giant; YouTube. Plus, they are all at the inaugural 2019 Gamescom held in Cologne, Germany from 20th – 24th August.

We’ve also been at Gamescom, drinking in the atmosphere and assessing the latest tech and experiences being created by the global giants of this industry which is said to be worth upwards of $152.1 billion in 2019, and growing!

Moving up the leader board

Gamescom is coined the world’s largest gaming event, inaugurated in 2009, now in its 10th year the event is looking to increase on its 2018 attendance record of 370,000 visitors.

This year the event covers 218,000 square meters (+8 percent in comparison to 2018). The forecast number of exhibitors is around 1,150 (+10 percent in comparison to 2018) with companies from more than 50 countries expected in Cologne this week, so, a serious gathering of the world’s biggest names and players in this sector.

The event is focused on gamers and their experience of the major brands and latest titles to hit both PC and consoles in millions of homes worldwide. The major publishers and hardware manufacturers all compete for their attention with some of the most ludicrous and inventive display areas we’ve seen.

Sony Playstation, absent from the E3 event earlier this year, had arguably the largest presence at Gamescom with a multitude of gaming and experience zones dotted throughout the show. However to date there was very little news on their forthcoming PS5 launch.

Ready Player one

Microsoft Xbox have nearly 200 gaming booths on the show floor plus a colossal exhibition stand showcasing a multitude of Microsoft software and hardware complete with individual game experience booths. As with Sony, the console giant kept cards close to their chest with limited announcements on the Xbox 2 pinned for 2020 release.

 

Nintendo’s booth reflected the more convivial atmosphere related to the brand and its fans. The booth was split into zones focusing on the leading Nintendo brands including The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Dragon Quest 10 S, Pokémon Sword and Shield and even the highly-anticipated The Witcher 3 port. As with Sony and Xbox there was no pre-announcement of the Switch Lite release, however Nintendo’s spotlight was very much on their indie games portfolio, bringing back fond memories for generation X and early millennials alike.

Hardware manufacturers such as Intel and Dell made multiple announcements; Intel outlining that it was still King of the processor, with Integrated graphics on Ultrabook’s which should be able to handle some more intense gaming workloads than years prior.

Dell Alienware lead its announcements with the release of the Aurora R9 gaming desktop which it had fired up on the booth in the ‘experience zone’. At the entry level Dell announced the G5 desktop gaming PC that should make it easier for people to get into PC gaming without dropping a fortune on Alienware’s pricier output, which are not usually found in high street retailers.

Hosting entry level computers is a particular focus of the mainstream manufacturers such as Alienware and HP’s Omen lines. Giving these product lines a distinct look and feel at retail has been on the agenda for many years, opening the door to AAA level gaming across multiple European retail networks.

On the subject of retailers, Media Markt/Saturn had an interesting way of implementing omnichannel initiatives to showgoers. A news feed was launched on the retailer’s homepage outlining show specials combined with a strong presence in the experience zone showcasing a number of brands found throughout the German CE stores retailer network.

Level Up

Mobile games take up around 50% of the global gaming market, with a net worth of 174 billion USD by 2021 with 25% of that spending based in China, 50% is the ASPAC region in total. 73% of app revenue comes from mobile gaming with Candy Crush still most popular globally. Fortnite, the co-op shooter with a range of media coverage and opinion, is estimated to have 100 million downloads in iOS in just 138 days. It was also no surprise for us to see the likes of the telecoms conglomerate Vodafone investing in its own booth right in the centre of the experience zone.

Continuing with mobile friendly platforms, Google and Facebook both had a strong presence at the event. Google focused on its latest game streaming service, Stadia, outlining the titles that will be available at launch. They are said to be preparing some exclusive products for this platform after its launch later this year however there was no news of this at GC 2019.

Whilst Twitch and YouTube dominate the gaming space it was interesting to see Facebook had expanded its footprint at the event with an immersive booth experience. This brought together their digital and physical attributes – Instagram, and Oculus, whilst outlining their gaming Hub which it believes attracts more than 700 million people (for gaming-related activity on at least a monthly basis).

Improved live streaming platforms, connectivity and monster prize funds through the E-sports events organised worldwide only serve to proliferate the enigmatic growth of the gaming sector. Gamescom will certainly grow with it, as will the visibility of the gaming community in both digital and physical retail environments across the globe.

Rebooting

Finally, it’s worth noting the growing popularity on the indie gaming sector. The POP culture industry is fuelling this retro craze through throwback hits such as Stranger Things, showcased on Netflix. Netflix are taking advantage of this popularity by releasing it’s own range of RPG style of games. The streaming giant is perfectly poised to make larger leaps into the sector. Will they follow the likes of Google’s Stadia? We look forward to finding out.

HARMAN Experience Store – Gold Winner 2019 Shop! awards

We are so proud to see HARMAN’s first Experience Store in Europe win Gold at the 2019 Shop! global awards. As part of the talented team that partnered HARMAN this is a brilliant achievement for everyone involved. The store in Munich offers visitors a glimpse into the world of HARMAN and its multiple award-winning audio brands.

We translated the overarching concept into reality, selecting specific materials and producing all freestanding and wall mounted fixturing for the HARMAN brands JBL, Harman Kardon and AKG. All elements provide the consumer with the opportunity to interact, engage and compare products delivering an exceptional brand and product experience. Get in touch at marketing@alrec.com to see how we can transform your customer experience.

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