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14 Giftware Review July/August 2014 *


I have had occasion to remark before in this column that I feel strongly that the term ‘Gifts’ doesn’t nearly reflect the wide range of products generally on offer in most ‘Gift’ shops, and that we use the term as a generic to cover a great number of items which are probably going to be self-purchases, rather than given away to someone else. The fact of the matter is that no one, least of all me, can come up with a better term. I expect our forbears in this industry felt a huge relief when their ‘Fancy Goods Trade’ became the ‘Giftware Industry’ and that somebody had come up with a more trendy and dashing neologism. I suppose that the opposite of this must

The complexities of ‘gift’ retailing are puzzled over this month by David Metcalfe, following the opening of a Gift Store in New York on the site of the Twin Towers.

be the souvenir shop. A ‘souvenir’ must, I would have thought, be bought by someone who wishes to remind themselves of a particular time or a place they have visited. If they then give the souvenir away it becomes a gift. I looked it up. The dictionary definition of a souvenir is, “an object that recalls a certain place, occasion, or person; memento.” The reality is that the two have become interchangeable, and not always used appropriately. There is a serious aspect to this. You

probably read that a Memorial Museum has been opened on the site of the Twin Towers in New York, Ground Zero, to commemorate the 3,000 souls who perished in the bombing outrage, now universally known as 9/11. What is

controversial is that the museum has a Gift Store, and the range of products available there shows a remarkable absence of taste. To say that this has caused a storm of protest is understating the matter. Relatives of the victims, many of whose remains are probably still on the site, are appalled that such tacky commercial opportunism has been allowed to open there, and frankly, you can see their point. I think that the real problem here is the

term Gift Shop. Do we really believe that anyone would say to a friend – “I visited Ground Zero to pay my respects and I bought you this T shirt”? I hope not. Information, reference works, educational books and other such products will all help people now, and in future generations, understand what happened, and could quite reasonably be sold on the site. But nothing tacky. I need not detain you with the details of what is on offer – an internet search engine will guide you there. The Imperial War Museum in London,

which reopens after a major redevelopment this July, in time to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War, will have a shop. I have been unable to find out whether it is to be called a Gift Shop or not. It has a website and I am sure that nothing distasteful will be on offer. It will be for information resources and products evocative of the periods covered by the museum. Closer to a souvenir shop you might say.

Industry Insight The same is true of the wartime

codebreaker’s centre in Bletchley Park (where my 91-year-old mother in law spent her war years, incidentally), and other sites of national historical importance. I think the term is now ‘Heritage retailing’ which I think sums up what these shops do rather neatly. I certainly do not want to sound

sanctimonious about this, but I think every decent supplier wants to know that his products are retailed in appropriate surroundings. We must remember that if people buy it, someone will sell it, and that is quite right. It is called entrepreneurship and that is the heartbeat of our business. After all, as the saying goes; “Nobody

ever lost money by underestimating the taste of the buying public!” It is the very diversity of our industry that makes it so interesting, as the pages of Giftware Review regularly show. I will probably keep this issue as a souvenir. Finally, I was delighted to see that my

old friend Ken Johnson of Enesco was rightly honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Richly deserverved indeed!

David Metcalfe

How do you measure success in retail?

How you measure success in retail is changing. Retail is one of the most versatile industries to be in, with new sales channels emerging and ever-changing consumer trends, it can be difficult to keep track of things. Customers are now

shopping in different ways from m-commerce to click and collect; and this has been driven by an increased adoption of tablet computers and mobile devices. As a result, consumer behaviour has changed with shoppers now wanting a consistent experience across all sales channels, all at a time and place that suits them. This is not just happening with the large multiples but also with independents too.

Retailers have adapted to these

changes with multi-channel retailing, linking their store and ecommerce sites together in a seamless shopping experience. But how do they measure their success in this new platform? Data analytics is nothing new for retailers. Traditionally they would use store KPI’s such as sales per square foot and footfall count. And for e-commerce sites analytics such as site traffic, dropped baskets, and conversion rate will be measured too. These various metrics were previously treated as separate entities with no consideration for the effect they had on the other sales channels. But with multi-channel retail, the retail


store now acts as a ‘central-hub’ with online customers coming into the store to collect items ordered online, or in store customers redeeming voucher codes on your website. This makes traditional KPI’s such as ‘sales per square foot’ less relevant because in a multi-channel environment, sales are not always attributable to just a single channel. For example; sales per

square foot can no longer be used as a measure of shop space efficiency, as a customer may have seen your item in store and decided to purchase it online at a later time. Therefore traditional KPI’s should be adapted

to provide an accurate measure of each sales channel and show how they influence one another in a multi-channel environment. Some examples of modern multi-

channel KPI’s can be; number of click and collect orders, number of in store customers who register details online, or even measuring information based on brand rather than sales channel. For example incidental purchases made in-store by web visitors (i.e. those who are simply collecting or returning items in-store) will become more important.” Is it worth it? Adapting to changes in

consumer patterns is the first step to retail success, but measuring what they really want, and what’s effective can help you to sustain that retail success. The only way to identify and measure your effectiveness is to adapt your retail KPI’s.

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