Retail Innovation

You won’t believe the latest shopping technology!!

Imagine being able to walk into a store, pick up what you want and just walk straight out the door again – no queues, no checkouts, no hassle! Well imagine no more, are Amazon are set to make this store concept a reality very soon.

Using what they claim to be “the world’s most advanced shopping technology”, Amazon Go is the company’s first convenience store. Due to open in Seattle in early 2017, the store will operate through their ‘Amazon Go’ App. When a shopper enters the store, they check in via the app which uses the latest technology to track what they pick up in store. The system then senses when they’re leaving, adds up their items and charges their Amazon account. Amazing!

Watch the video by clicking here to find out more.


December 6th, 2016|Retail Innovation|

Social Media for Retailers. Part 2.

Now that we know why retailers should engage in social media (click here for more), where do we start and which social media platforms are most suitable for retailers?

Facebook is a great place to engage with existing customers and offer sales and promotions. With a billion people using Facebook worldwide the potential of this advertising is huge if it’s done right, especially for online retailers. Targeted advertising allows you to direct traffic to either the brand’s Facebook page or to its actual website. No matter how niche your audience may be, you can probably find it on Facebook, the marketing potential here is huge!

Twitter is a valuable customer service tool in gaining customer insights about your brand, certain products and customers’ sentiment about products they have already purchased. Brands can also post images and videos on Twitter to add visual appeal for fans. Twitter Advanced Search is a useful function retailers can use to see what people are saying about their brand.

Pinterest is the perfect place for retailers to display their product range, engage viewers through high quality images and give them free reign to browse and examine potential purchases. As one of the largest social media networks in the world it is also a great source of referral traffic with each picture posted featuring direct links to it’s webpage.

Instagram is a mobile photo and video sharing site where content can be edited with the use of filters and other tools unique to Instagram. Instagram is a powerful form of social media in that the use of solely photos/videos creates an emotional connection with customers in a way that text cannot and is both fun and engaging for followers. It’s a great option for [...]

The Top 10 Future Retail Trends

How is our current world of retailing set to develop in the coming years? New research from Planet Retail outlines its key predictions for future retail trends.

1. Fewer but more influential stores:

In the future, shoppers will have to pay for home delivery as loyalty cards will become a thing of the past. Electronic retailers or “e-tailers” (those who sell one particular type of product over the internet) will cease to exist and checkoutless stores will become a reality.

2. Retailers working together :

More retailers will begin to recognise the benefits of working together and we will see more retailers joining forces by 2020 through initiatives such as in-store concessions or collection points for online orders.

3. Battle for the most convenient store experience:

The digital war is set to overtake the price war. Retailers are looking to technology to differentiate and improve the overall in-store experience through enhancements such as in-store navigation and mobile payments. Retailers are also predicting increased investment in that are currently given low priority for example:

‘Endless aisles’- the concept of using in-store kiosks to allow customers to order products which are no longer in stock or not sold in the store.
‘Smart fitting rooms’ – a bar code scanner mounted to fitting room walls that enables the shopper to find out more information about the item(s) they are trying on, such as colour availability or recommended items similar to that tried on.

4. Personalisation to reach new levels:

Currently only 15% of global shoppers receive and immediately redeem real-time vouchers and discounts via their mobile while in a store. However, 38% of shoppers would like to do this, given the opportunity.

5. The end of points-based loyalty cards:

Shoppers are becoming increasingly less concerned with brand loyalty [...]

New App ‘Cardtrix’ to Help Irish Consumers with Loyalty Cards

A new app is aiming to take the stress out of loyalty card programmes by enabling Irish consumers to keep them all in one place – on their smartphone!
The Cardtrix app, which was officially launched in Dublin yesterday has been custom-made for the Irish market and supports the loyalty programmes of 13 major retailers and companies including Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Boots, SuperValu, Brown Thomas, Eason’s, Arnotts, Debenhams, Nandos, Costa Coffee, Topaz, Applegreen and the Intercontinental Hotel Group.
The app, which was developed by British loyalty programmes group Aimia, allows users to add their existing loyalty cards and apply for new ones with just a few clicks, eliminating the need to carry lots of plastic cards around, according to Aimia vice-president Fiachra Woodman. Source:
In Ireland 87 per cent of adults use loyalty programmes, according to Aimia, and the average person is signed up to four loyalty programmes. Acting as a “digital personal assistant”, Cardtrix helps shoppers to manage and maximise the value they get from the top loyalty programmes they are signed up to, in addition to instantly signing up to new loyalty programmes as they shop, so that they never miss out on reward points again. When shopping, app users simply present the app on their smartphone at the checkout and scan the barcode to claim the points and rewards.  Source:

The app is available for free on iOS and Android and aims to give a simple, straightforward account of what each programme offers and how to get the most out of each of them. Consumers will also have the added advantage of instant visibility of the points and rewards they earn from shopping.
Fashion and beauty blogger Pippa O’Connor pictured [...]

August 18th, 2015|Retail Innovation|

Iconic Dublin Site Set to Become Top Tourist and Shopping Facility

Work on a €90 million redevelopment of Dublin’s historic Iveagh Markets is to get under way this spring, more than 20 years after its regeneration was first proposed. Temple Bar publican Martin Keane’s plans to turn the area into Dublin’s version of Covent Garden are on track and The Irish Independent estimated that the project will create over 1,000 jobs.

Keane told Shelflife Magazine of his plans for the project; “The idea is to do an Irish version of Covent Garden with farmers’ markets, art and craft sections, and retailers selling Irish tweeds and clothing.” Describing the project as his “lifetime dream”, the owner was keen to highlight the fact that the properties are not in Nama and are debt-free (Source:

The project includes plans for a market, a hotel, a pub, a number of shopping outlets and a performance area. A restoration project for the area was proposed by Dublin City Council in 2008 and was first approved by An Bord Pleanala in August 2007 although the building has since lain empty for many years.

Much of the preliminary building work has now been completed on the new project and it is estimated to be completed in March 2018. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this huge development project and hope that it will offer a whole new dimension to the Irish retail experience!

                   Iveagh Market as it currently looks                                                                      Covent Garden in London

Retail Ireland Skillnet Exploring Work Based Learning in Europe!

Oran Doherty (work based learning facilitator at LyIT) and Sean Carlin (Network Manager of Retail Ireland Skillnet) were recently invited to Belgium to deliver a keynote presentation on the development and delivery of work based learning programmes. This ‘Masterclass in Work Based Learning’ was held in University College Leuven-Limburg and attended by employers and academic representatives.

It presented an exciting opportunity for Retail Ireland Skillnet to view the best practice of work based learning in Europe. All these events are important in providing Retail Ireland Skillnet the opportunity to network with the projects and collaborate with  international work based learning practitioners.


Official Retail Ireland Skillnet Launch!

Last week, we said goodbye to Ibec Retail Skillnet and became officially known as Retail Ireland Skillnet at our big Launch Event at Ibec headquarters in Dublin. Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy TD, Chair of the JOC on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, kindly joined us to make the rebrand official, delivering an inspiring speech on how the Irish retail sector is making a steady recovery. She remarked how Retail Ireland Skillnet (RIS) is a great example of the ways government and industry can work together to help people get the skills they need to find employment and help with career progression.
Chairperson of Retail Ireland Skillnet’s Steering Group and HR Manager for Brown Thomas, Gretta Nash Cadden shared how her staff have benefited from the training and qualifications they have gained over the years through Retail Ireland Skillnet. She also described how the closer ties now formed with Retail Ireland is an important milestone that will help give greater visibility to RIS programme in the coming years.
We will now be able to offer a better range of courses with more retailers participating in the programme, training greater numbers of people than ever before. This means more people will get the skills they need to find jobs and advance their careers.”
Conor Whelan, Chairman of Retail Ireland and Managing Director of Eason and Sons Ltd. spoke about his involvement with Retail Ireland and shared his delight that over 800 of his staff at Easons will be graduating later this year through Retail Ireland Skillnet training programmes. Conor went on to describe how staff training is key in emerging from
“As an industry we are beginning to emerge from what has been a very difficult period for retailers. [...]

The Future of Retail Payments in Ireland

The average Irish consumer is typically very cash-loyal and slow to catch on to modern payment methods, however; retail payments in Ireland are set to change. A recent study by the Central Bank showed that Ireland has one of the highest usage rates of ATMs in Europe – more than double the average!

But there are signs that we could be warming to new advances in electronic payment technology. The biggest development in this area in Ireland in recent years is contactless payment. Customers can now pay for purchases under €15 with a simple tap of their card – no pin required. But contactless cards are just the first in a new trend of payment options that Irish consumers may encounter in the near future. With mobile phones becoming more and more advanced, the day when your mobile phone will function as a digital wallet is coming ever closer.
“At the moment, the next major innovation is going to be driven by the consumer, and the greatest enabler is the smartphone, because we now have essentially a supercomputer in our hand. Customer expectation is [that] they want it easy, they want it accessible, convenient and secure as well,”
Sage Pay Ireland MD Sean Wilson
Apple recently unveiled its highly anticipated ‘mobile wallet’. Apple Pay will be a standard option on the two latest iPhone models. The devices will contain a chip which stores encrypted information and allows shoppers to scan their phones in place of credit and debit cards. Fingerprint identification will replace the traditional pin number or signature. Digital technology will allow consumers’ devices to connect to retailers’ systems automatically, allowing shoppers to pick up goods attached to sensors and simply walk straight out [...]

Retail Trends and the Modern Consumer

As a retailer, does your business model take into account your ‘customer expectations’? According to a study undertaken by PWC on 15,000 shoppers worldwide…it certainly should!!

There is no doubt that the world of retail is changing in line with the demands of the modern day consumer. Shoppers now ‘expect’ not just physical store offerings and a website that is capable of handling their desired purchase(s) but an ‘always on 24/7 service mentality’, real-time insight into product availability at particular times/locations and consistent price offerings/communication through tools such as social media.

One such ‘expectation’ is an enhanced and consistent shopping experience across all shopping channels. Last year, for example, 41% of online shoppers did so through use of a tablet, while 43% shopped online using their smartphone (as opposed to just 28% and 20% respectively in 2012) This is a growing trend clearly demonstrating the importance of a smartphone/tablet friendly website and app that is consistent and kept up to date….customers now expect this!

To respond to current retail trends and the modern consumers’ demands, retailers need to embrace what PWC refer to as TOTAL RETAIL – a unified brand across all channels that promises ‘ a consistently superior consumer experience and an integrated back office operating model with innovative technology’.

PWC note 8 Key Customer Expectations that retailers should be aware of:

A compelling brand story to draw consumers in and give them a reason to stay with that particular retailer
An “always on” 24/7 experience
A personalised loyalty points or reward system
To maximize the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve.
Transparency into a retailer’s inventory, for example; the ability to check other stores or online stock quickly
Two-way social media [...]

Starbucks open train café in Switzerland

We all have those mornings when we’re in such a rush that we simply have no time to grab that well needed cup of tea or coffee. Well Starbucks have adopted a very unique approach to dealing with this issue for Swiss train passengers. The innovative coffee company, known for delivering a superior customer experience, have opened their first train café in a Swiss Federal Railway car. Another step in building the ultimate customer experience by bringing the coffee to the customer.


If you were wondering what the café looks like, we have a clip below.