Love is in the air in February with Valentine's Day promotions galore.
However, will brands and retailers be whispering sweet nothings in each others' ears and work together at a time when consumer confidence is low?
This month, we look at the latest product launches, consumer trends and trade promotions, as well as insights into the challenges of the retail industry.
And, of course, there's your monthly dose of trade marketing technology.
Read on as we explore February's trade marketing news and technology highlights.
Product Launches And Consumer trends
Renting has become a major trend for millennials and Gen Z, who lack cash and look for more sustainable ways to shop. With a multitude of millennials renting as they struggle to get on the property ladder, Ikea is trialling its new furniture rental service. US fashion brand, American Eagle, has also launched a clothing rental subscription service. Could we see more and more industries adopting the rental approach?
With global warming concerns and plastic pollution, sustainability continues to be a key influence on consumer purchase behaviour. More and more brands and now waking up to the win-win benefits of sustainable manufacturing.
Heineken has unveiled a new bottle design for its iconic Desperados brand, which will also result in an overall reduction of more than 18,000 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to the average annual CO2 emissions of 3,600 people globally). Carlsberg has released a new and improved Pilsner variant. The new packs will feature a new font, a cap that removes oxygen from the bottles and environmentally friendly ink.
Brands are also fighting the war on plastic. Northern Ireland based Milestone Rathfriland Nisa Extra is selling a large proportion of its take-home meals in new Vegware packaging, which is made entirely out of plants and is 100 percent recyclable. And Coca-Cola European Partners is supporting this year’s Great British Spring Clean, as part of its partnership with the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The company is encouraging retailers to support the initiative by hosting a Community Clean-Up in their local area.
Premium flavoured spirits and infusions
Speaking of global warming, it’s unseasonably hot in the UK! Brands are tapping into the ‘summer serve’ and launching a range of premium flavoured spirits and infusions to meet consumer demand. Diageo's Ketel One has unveiled its new botanical range which includes flavours such as ‘Cucumber & Mint’. Building on the success of pink gin, Accolade Wines is launching a gin and rose infusion and Beefeater Gin welcomes a blood orange flavour to its portfolio. Glen’s Vodka has also launched two flavoured vodkas (‘Peach & Passionfruit’ and ‘Strawberry & Apple’). Premium flavoured spirits and infusions are proving popular as millennials consume alcohol in moderation and instead prefer to experiment with premium options in the off trade.
Coffee, but not coffee
There’s no denying the global popularity of coffee, AKA “The world’s most commonly used drug”. Now we’re seeing a growing trend in coffee culture which is permeating into products not traditionally associated with coffee. Monster Energy has launched its very own coffee / energy drink combo in line with the current growth of cold coffee RTD drinks, and ice cream brand, Häagen-Dazs, is launching its Barista Collection.
Veganism is rapidly on the rise. The sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign - where people eat vegan for the month of January - nearly doubled in 2019, with a whopping 250,000 people signing up. In 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation. In a bid to combat global warming, veganism will continue to rise and consumers will be introduced to even more vegan ranges. Just some of the vegan products launched in February included Delamere’s on-the-go dairy alternative drinks and James Hall & Co’s vegan food-to-go range introduced into Spar stores across England. Then there's the 17,000 waiting list for Milk's vegan make-up range showing how cruelty-free products are high on consumers' agenda.
Keeping up with food & drink trends
We’ve found two great resources this month for keeping up with the latest consumer trends in Food & Drink. Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, has launched a new podcast covering key 2019 trends. The podcast will include bitesize episodes and focuses on how societal changes will shape what consumers eat and drink.
Digging even deeper into food & drink trends is Tastewise, a food research company. Tastewise has created a methodology for identifying trends in food and groceries by leveraging Artificial Intelligence.
Surviving challenges in retail
We hear the same old reasons as to why the UK retail sector is struggling: “It’s because of Brexit.” However, 70 percent of Brits say Brexit has not and will not affect spending. Retailers simply can’t rest on their laurels and must improve shopper experience if they’re going to survive.
Could hosting in-store events be key to surviving "The Retail Apocalypse"?
Bricks-and-mortar retailers are currently trying to find new ways to increase footfall, with many looking at experiential marketing as their saviour. Hammerson’s UK Managing Director, Mark Bourgeois, pens his thoughts on what the retail industry really needs to do to create a compelling customer experience, starting with hosting events in store.
The Fragrance Shop is set to open up 15 'Sniff Bars'
As stores focus on creating a unique shopping experience, The Fragrance Shop is set to open a further 15 ‘Sniff Bars’, stand-alone perfume bars which proved a success in the UK. The bars allow consumers to chat with a fragrance professional. The Fragrance Shop said Sniff Bars were attracting 66 per cent more new customers compared to its direct online channel.
Amazon secures London retail space for cashierless store
Amazon has reportedly secured retail space in London for its cashierless Amazon Go grocery convenience store concept. Customers will be able to scan their smartphones at a turnstile to enter, and then a number of cameras and sensors identify what they take from the shelves.
Online-only retailers insolvencies double
Online retail may continue to grow, but it's not without its challenges. Declining consumer confidence, aggressive discounting and a high number of product returns are all affecting margin, states Elias Jahshan in The Retail Gazette.
What decision makers want from their beer brands
In this excellent article, Daniel Rowntree, Director at Elastic, provides inside knowledge on exactly what landlords and decision makers want to hear from their beer brands in the on-trade.
Trade Marketing Technology
3D projection mapping POP displays
We're loving this 3D Projection mapping for POP displays, cleverly created by Chicago Projection Mapping. As retailers seek new ways to improve in-store experience, you'll see more and more of this in 2019.
Hersheys is pitching a "Clean Room" to share data with retailers
In the absence of a direct-to-consumer business, Hershey’s is going directly to retailers to get the data needed to see whether its ads encourage people to buy its chocolate bars. The candy maker is pitching a “clean room” to retailers that will store customer loyalty card data alongside its ad exposure data. Hopefully, this will open the doors for more collaboration and transparency between brands and retailers.
Cadbury's Fingers "Finders Keepers"
Prizes: Match tickets and meet and greet with top football player, Shay Given.
How to win and method of entry: Enter on Cadbury's website with email address and unique code found on pack, then play special ‘Finders Keepers’ game.
Goal: Sales uplift
Last year average reported sales growth over promotion period: 6 percent
Walkers' Champions League "They Score-You Win"
Prizes: Tickets to UEFA Champions League (UCL) Final / £10
How to win and method of entry: Participants must correctly guess when a goal will be scored during a UCL football match. Each pack contains an entry code which, once entered online, will allow the shopper to select a UCL match and minute.
Goal: Increase sales of single and sharing packs of crisps, as football fans stock up ahead of the matches.
Country Life's "2-for-1 English Heritage"
Prizes: A free entry with every purchase of a full price adult ticket to English Heritage and Cadw historic sites across England and Wales.
How to win and method of entry: 2-for-1 entry on pack
Goal: Celebrate English heritage and capitalise on increasing trend for buying British.
Prizes: No prizes but Babybel pledge to make a charitable donation for every pack bought.
How to win and method of entry: Babybel will donate 5p to Comic Relief for every limited-edition pack. Each pack also encourages consumers to “share a dare” e.g. roar like a dinosaur, walk like a crab, pretend to play air guitar etc. and share them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #BabybelDares. Babybel will donate £1 for every social media post.
Goal: Increase sales, brand exposure across social media and improved brand perception.
T-Mobile's "Break up for Valentine's Day" (USA)
Prizes: Two unlimited lines and a pair of phones for $100 a month on T-Mobile Essentials with AutoPay after 24 monthly bill credits. Alternatively, cusotmers can choose two lines of T-Mobile ONE and two smartphones for $130/month and get taxes and fees, T-Mobile’s “Netflix On Us” and other travel benefits included.
How to win and method of entry: For everyone who's in "a loveless relationship with their carrier", simply "break up" with your current supplier.
Goal: Sales uplift