John’s Blog

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John’s Blog
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Every year, John travels all over the world to speak at conferences and to work with his clients to help them stay ahead of their competitors.  As economies and lifestyles change, new trends emerge and successful businesses adapt.  John blogs about the trends he sees.  You can keep in touch with global events, adapt your business to optimise the trends and stay abreast of your competition through subscribing to John’s Blog.  Scroll down to read his blog.

Trends …what are consumers looking for?

J Schwanke, of uBloom, is one of the trend setters. His latest newsletter, Trend Synthesis talks about the four trends he sees being developed in 2016. These trends are what he calls… Distraction. This is where bright colours are used to attract the eye in a world where there is a lot of competition. He is recommending to florists that bright coloured flower arrangements will be in vogue this year.

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It is not about the product, it is how the customer feels

Retailing is constantly changing and so is how we sell. I remember my early workshops training team members to sell product, we would do a session where we would get workshop participants to identify the features of the products and then convert them to the benefits of the product. We would then develop role play sessions on how to sell benefits. Those skills are still needed, but If I have

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Impulse selling …is it a science or a culture?

I often talk about impulse selling in my presentations. It is something that is important to all retailers and a way of increasing the average sale per customer. In January, Plyush Sharma, a Professor at Curtin University in Western Australia, released a research paper on impulse selling. His research reveals that impulse buying is based on personality traits in the shopper, the biggest impulse shoppers tend to be those that

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Future Living

In December there was a fascinating article in The Daily Mail in the UK about the look of retirement homes in the future. This article discussed the ‘Home Farm” concept where the home a was part of a farm complex with vertical and horizontal food gardens as part of the package. The homes are built around a food production courtyard. This is not a dream, the first one is being built at

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What do Women Want?

As retailers we need to be in-tune with our female Millennial consumers. For some this is easy, whilst for others it is more difficult. I was therefore interested to read an article in the November edition of “Speaker”, written by Frances Rios and entitled “What Women Want.” According to Frances… 91% of women say advertisers do not understand them In the USA 85% of all consumer purchase are made by

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Beyond the Farm Gate

Many of you will know that Linda and I own a chestnut farm in Nannup in West Australia. In November a book was launched that features 30 farms in the region that were doing something unique. This coffee table book included our farm, Chestnut Brae. It is wonderful that we have only had the farm for two years, when we purchased it, it was a rundown farm and know it

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Food Assemblies – a new marketing channel

Consumers are increasingly looking for local products. In the UK the main avenue has been Farm Shops whilst in Europe it has been via Farmer’s Markets. In Australia it has been the Farmer Market that has been the main driver of getting local food to local people. This is now changing and evolving. The new marketing avenue is a Food Assembly which is a cross between a farmer’s market and a

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Aussie Farmers go 3D Shopping

Online grocery shopping is now well established. The problem for most consumers is that it has been a boring interface. Now that is all changing. Aussie Farmers Direct have developed a 3D App called “Aisle One” and have promoted it as “the world’s first virtual shopping experience”. This is the nearest to real life shopping on a screen that is available. Aisle One (iPad) app from Australian Farmers Direct

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Book review: Decoding the Irrational Consumer

“Decoding the Irrational Consumer: How to commission, run and generate insights from neuromarketing research” by Darren Bridger, Marketing Science Series. This is not a book for the practical retailer looking for new ideas to grow sales. This a book if you want to look at the research behind how the consumer thinks. We are all irrational consumers and make decisions at a non-conscious level. The brain processes decisions and this book looks

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Christmas…is it about price or experience?

Five weeks before Christmas I did some consultancy in one of my local shopping centres. Walking around one had to question what was the driver to get people to spend at this time of year. One company I looked at had a 40% off Christmas sale…in my youth sales occurred after Christmas…price was not the driver during the Christmas period. Does this mean times have changed ? In the same

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Gen Z versus Millennial’s

Whilst many of us are still trying to understand how to retail to the Millennial generation, the next generation are appearing as consumers.  Gen Z’s think differently to the generations before them. An article in WGSN stated that there are 2 billion Gen Z’s globally and they are already spending 44 billion dollars a year. This is the generation born between 1997 and today, compared to the Millennial’s who were

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The challenge keeping up with trend

The hexo+ arrived on the market this month. This is a drone that wirelessly tethers its self to a smart phone and follows you anywhere, available for around $300. As a business you may not have a need for drone following you around, but there may be times it could be valuable. The reason I mention it is that it was financed by Kickstart and the traditional market was unaware

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The best retail book I have read in 2015

I realise that is a sweeping statement, but I do believe this is the best retail book I have seen this year. Retail Marketing Strategy…Delivering shopper delight by Constant Berkhout and published by Kogan Press. The title tells you what the content of the book is about. Constant has worked with retailers in Europe and the Americas and has a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities that are there

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Switzerland…Innovation Ready for 2016

Switzerland may only have 8 million population, but this small landlocked country has four official languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh and a thriving horticultural industry. On first impression, it seems to be a DIFM (Do It For Me) rather than a DIY (Do It Yourself) society as the landscapers seem too far outnumber the garden retailers. In late November, I was in Switzerland by the invitation of Jardin Suisse,

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An ebook of Entrepreneurs

Norma Burnson is the author of a book “Sustainable Food for the Globe, Everyday People Producing Food in Abundance” Norma interviews seventeen entrepreneurs from around the world who are developing ideas and creating projects to grow food. The book takes you from Canada to the USA, Pakistan to Switzerland, Uganda to Pakistan and New Zealand to the UK. The book covers areas such as kitchen gardens, eco-villages, food share schemes

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Food tourism gets a great rap

Food tourism: A practical marketing guide, by John and Linda Stanley – reviewed by Annals of Tourism research. This book is a new welcome addition to food tourism practice and literature. The book has ten sections, divided into four parts. In the first part, the authors present an introductory chapter followed by a chapter titled ‘‘The Changing Tourists’’. This chapter clearly explains the current food tourism playground in terms of the recent changes and

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Coffee entrepreneur

I was meeting a potential client in Chatsworth in New South Wales whilst on the road. I arrived early and decided to have a coffee. I had a range of coffee shops to choose from. The one that grabbed my attention was Lid and Jar. Why?… They had decided to take the “high” ground with the signage on the window. I walked in and the team also decided to be

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Little Sprouts in British Columbia

The Growing Chefs Program in BC is where growers and chefs encourage school children to get engaged with growing and cooking local produce. Whilst I was in BC there was a fundraising dinner for “one-of-a-kind.” Local chefs worked with local growers, and the little chefs from the local school, to produce a meal created from local produce. It raised $25,000 in one evening. An winning formula that created a truly local

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Millennials and their loyalty

Those of you that have been to one of my presentations lately will be aware I do a session on Millennials. I picked this up from the Buzz magazine in the USA. It adds another piece to the jigsaw. Make it fun! That’s what Millennials are saying when responding to a nationwide survey conducted by Colloquy that asked about loyalty programs. In a survey of 1,000 consumers, 34% of Millennials

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Retail Lessons from Cache Creek

Cache Creek…where is that I can hear you asking. I asked the same question when I recently had the opportunity to work with a retail client in the town. Cache Creek has a population of 1,040 people and is situated 354 kilometres north east of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. It was mid-October when I was asked to work with the client and I rented a car and travelled up

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Parklets or pop-up parks

Parklets was a new word to me, but a great concept. Parks are more important at weekends and roads to move traffic are less important. Therefore cities like Rio and San Paulo close specific streets to traffic and create parklets or “pop-up” parks for the weekend. You find the locals taking a walk and using the streets like they would a park. This is a great idea other cities could

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Retailing in Brazil

There are two styles of retailing that we discovered in Rio. The top end retailers are displaying with flair and the salespeople are very engaging. Then the rest of retailing in my opinion has some challenges. Many retailers have arrived at what I believe is the final promotion,”70% Off”. Once you arrive at that promotion strategy I do not know where you go next. You have a cost driven campaign

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“No Problems”….we just lost a customer

What skills do you need to keep customers engaged? I have been to a number of conferences over the last few months where almost every speaker that is focused on marketing trends has talked about “customer inclusion” or providing a “remarkable experience” as part of the journey to grow a business in this changing world. The challenge is putting these ideas into action in a business in front of a

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Up on the Roof

Many pundits would argue that the garden centre model of the sixties will not work in the future. There are number of reasons for this, these include: The move to urban living rather than suburban living and the need for garden centres to be near the consumer, especially as this consumer is not prepared to drive to the fringes of the city to purchase plants Peri-urban land, where most garden

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Shanghai Adventure

During August I presented at the Petfood Forum China in Shanghai. This was my fourth visit to this region, but the first time downtown as the conference was held at the Expo site. I arrived the week that the stock market crashed in Shanghai although if you read the China Daily you would not have suspected anything important had happened. As a visitor, if you do not leave the main

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