What’s New September-October 2010

Online shopping growth

Online shopping is a growing trend in Australia. Sitting in my inbox right now is a voucher from Borders offering 30% off any item purchased. The caveat is that it must be purchased online. However the Borders online store offers free shipping, and by purchasing online I have access to stock from any of their stores around Australia. Online shopping is a growing trend in Australia. Sitting in my inbox right now is a voucher from Borders offering 30% off any item purchased. The caveat is that it must be purchased online. However the Borders online store offers free shipping, and by purchasing online I have access to stock from any of their stores around Australia. With a few clicks of the mouse I can find the item I’m interested in, and after entering my credit card details all I have to do is wait for the item to be delivered to my door. I save on travel costs and it takes less time out of my day. With all this available to me, the question must be asked, why would I go into a physical Borders store and purchase the item? Furthermore, imagine if I wished to purchase something that no store in my area had? Suddenly internet shopping ceases to be ‘the competition’ and instead, becomes ‘the only option’. The only real downside of online purchasing is the cost (which is free in this case) and the time allowed for shipping. If I purchase something direct from the store, it’s in my hot little hands straight away. Purchasing online leaves me wanting and waiting for a number of days, possibly weeks, depending on the product purchased.

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Professor Julian Thomas and Mr Scott Ewing of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at Swinburne University’s Institute for Social Research studied Online Shopping (among other areas) in a study called ‘The Internet in Australia’, published in May 2010. Perhaps the most important component of this study is the historical comparison, of Australian internet usage and habits between 2007 and 2009. In just two short years, there has been a significant change in a variety of areas, most notably in the area of Online shopping. According to the report, 54% of respondents in 2007 indicated they would not purchase anything online in an average month. However, this negative sentiment shrunk to just 34% by 2009. Now, with nearly two thirds of Australians making at least one online purchase in an average month, eTailing seems to be an area of growing importance in Australian shopping. The report shows growth in the average amount spent on online purchases, the number of people using the internet to research products, the regularity of buying products online, and an increase in the regularity of people making online travel reservations and bookings. In each of these areas, a reasonable portion of this growth came from a decrease in the number of people stating they never use the internet for these reasons. In their analysis of how much people spend online in an average month, there was a significant change in the number of people spending less than $50. In 2007, the percentage was as high as 22%, yet by 2009 the percentage had shrunk to 10%. There are other areas online shopping has taken part in that normally would be seen as untenable without face to face interaction. Quickflix.com.au allows customers to rent movies from their selection without needing to meet a single quickflix employee. You input on the website what movie you want to rent, pay by credit card, and it is delivered to you. Once the rental time is over you place it in the included envelope and put it in the mail box and it is delivered back to the company. At its most dramatic, online shopping even manages to cut the entire physical object out of the transaction. An example of this is the iPad and the variety of other products that can function as eReaders. An eReader can hold electronic copies of a vast number of books, which can be downloaded straight from the internet onto the eReader, and read whenever the customer wants. In the palm of their hand a customer can hold an entire library. In computer and console gaming there are direct download services available like Steam for the computer or Playstation Network for the Playstation 3. The report also goes on to examine internet usage in areas such as social networking, media, entertainment and politics, all highly topical and influential areas that are seeing major growth. So what is stopping me from purchasing a book I’ve been looking into at Borders online store, rather than traveling in to my local Borders store – or any other book store – and purchasing it there? Aside from having to wait a few days for delivery, absolutely nothing. For more information, the PDF of the report is available at: http://cci.edu.au/publications/digital-futures-2010 Back To Top

Creating the Perfect Workspace

The smarter fitouts of commercial spaces today are often an outcome of an engagement process which is undertaken prior to the design stage and entails consultation with various members of the end user group (or workforce). This idea exchange is invaluable and has been applied successfully in the development of award winning commercial buildings such as The Bond in Sydney and The Gauge in Melbourne. By incorporating feedback from your workforce into the design brief, your design team can ensure that the final product reflects its occupants, and ultimately, that the workforce has a positive connection with their surroundings. Typically, the engagement process commences with user groups and after analysis the output is shared with the organisation, and finally the design team. A skilled facilitator using qualitative research tools can effectively tap into desires for a future workplace, exploring through the process, different expressions of these needs and wants. Whilst the employee stands to gain by having an inspiring work environment, there are gains for the business as well. A more engaged worker is a more productive worker and this feeds positively through to the bottom line. Another business perspective to consider is the brand image and the equity that is tied into this image. Brand equity is partly achieved through effective communication of a strong brand image; the workplace provides a canvas to promote this image. Further to this rationale is the increasing importance of the employee brand in attracting and retaining talented staff. An employee brand that runs through the veins of a workplace will serve the business well through stronger retention, and help them to minimise the costs associated with attrition. This consultation process is valuable if you are an organisation embarking on a new lease, and exploring options for a new workspace. If you are a property owner the process can also add value at the refurbishment stage. Whilst you may not have secured your tenants, any strategy that aims to differentiate your asset with workplace benefits will help attract tenants. A tenant who provides an appealing environment for their employees should benefit through lower attrition, and thereby be more incentivised to stay when the lease comes up for renegotiation. For more information about creating the perfect workspace at your place please contact Kylie Newcombe at Directional Insights. Back To Top

Marketing Budget too small? What should you do?

In the last issue of eDirections we asked YOU to tell us your thoughts on marketing spend for underperforming centres, specifically whether you’d increase, maintain or decrease spend in order to increase awareness and marketing cut through to trade area customers. Well the votes are in, and you don’t have to be a Wizard to guess that most people opted to INCREASE marketing spend. We discussed our findings with the team at Halo Brandbank and they agreed, this would be a great solution, but it’s not as simple as just “clicking your heels together”. Shaun Swanger from HALO Brandbank shares his views on the subject and offers three Wicked little tips for Shopping Centre Marketing departments to help improve Centre performance before resorting to increased spending. It feels like we’ve been working in and for Australia’s shopping centre giants ever since Dorothy went to Oz, so we’re here to say that there is a lot you can do before you start petitioning the owners for an additional contribution. It all starts with thinking differently. Here’s three easy ways to reshape your marketing programme: 1. You’re not in Kansas any more, Dorothy. Shopping centres started out in the 1960s when there were fewer specialty chain stores, and less advertising and promotion overall (essentially there wasn’t much colour). Back then shoppers needed their local centre to remind them to shop for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Now the chains are promotional powerhouses and the discount and department stores define the retailing calendar. It is these brands that are doing the job of promoting retail events and it’s the job of the shopping centre marketing fund to say ‘choose us’ and to give compelling reasons why. So ditch the gratuitous seasonal promotions and find your centre’s point of difference, match it with its growth opportunity and start campaigning this message. 2. And because we’re no longer in the 60’s, you don’t have to choose old media, Dorothy. Back then it made sense for a shopping centre to be telling the local retail story in the local paper or on radio. Back then these were the only media available. Today there’s so much more on offer. If your centre is stable then you don’t need to be driving trial, you need to be encouraging frequency. And frequency loves Facebook and other social media. Start using the costless media and save that media money for creating a reason to visit the centre. 3. It’s 2010, start looking like it, Dorothy. Shopping centre creative can feel very, well, shopping centre. Be new, be different, be interesting, be heard, and above all be noticed. Now that media can be highly targeted, so too can your creative approach, so you needn’t fear offending your Aunty May any longer. A fantastic promotional idea coupled with bang-on media will still stay a secret if you’re using invisible creative. Don’t wait for your centre to under-perform! It’s 2010 and everyone’s marketing will benefit from an update in thinking. Back To Top

Opinions are aided

A question dreaded by men around the world is the ever terrifying “Does this look good on me sweetie”. Perhaps the most unexpected answer would be “There’s an app for that darling.” But there is. Welcome to over the counter viagra beopinionaided.com, one of a host of websites established on the basic premise that people are interested (or dare we say fascinated) in the opinions of friends, relatives and even complete strangers from around the world.

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beopinionaided.com works by allowing the opinion seeker to upload a photograph with a simple question they’d like answered, which is then added to the websites database. When someone visits the beopinionaided website they can browse at random through the database and respond to any image/question of interest with a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down. There’s even room for a comment if one chooses to express more of their opinion. The beauty of this website is that it interacts with other forms of social media and new technology such as facebook and iPhones. By interfacing with Facebook, opinion seekers have direct access to their nearest and dearest (those whose opinions really count) and thanks to the mobility of iPhones they can get immediate feedback (a huge benefit when you are standing in a shop choosing between the little black dress or the hot pink one.) These websites have existed on the internet for some time, and they continue to grow in popularity. They vary from the open ended opinions on anything and everything, to more targeted offerings such as the ‘ratemy’ series of websites. These sites range from the useful, if controversial, ratemyteachers.com which allows for anonymous feedback on the quality of individual teachers at schools around Australia based on a number of criteria, to the rather disturbing ratemywifey.com where people ask anonymous individuals over the internet to rate a picture of their wife out of 10. It is sites like beopinionaided that open up a whole new dimension of word of mouth advertising for retailers. The CCI Digital Futures 2010 report by Professor Julian Thomas and Mr Scott Ewing found that the proportion of Australians using the internet to get information about products on a weekly basis or more often, is currently up to 55%. With more and more Australians researching what they buy before they buy it, websites where people give their opinion on a product are growing in number and in importance rapidly. Sites like productreview.com.au have thousands of reviews of services and products provided by your average Australian shopper. The professional reviewer has competition in the form of every person who has tried the product. Did they have a good experience with the product? Or perhaps they had a bad experience and wish to warn others away? Now, even sites designed to be more informative offer spaces for the opinion of the normal person. A site like eatability.com.au helps people find restaurants in their local area based on location and menu. From there, people are able to submit reviews of the restaurant and view the reviews of others, helping them decide if they want to eat there. Again, this website is available to anyone able to access the internet on their iPhone or similar device. It is easy to see from the proliferation of these websites that shoppers around the world are relying more and more on the opinions of others before opening their wallets, The flip side for retailers is that shoppers are now offering their opinions on products and services quite readily and a number of important insights can be gained from keeping in touch with this free and readily available information. The next time a shopper is unsure if they should make a purchase, rather than being swayed by discounts, they may be swayed by the opinions of people in entirely different postcodes. Do you know what your customers really think about your products? Want to find out …won’t be long before there’s an app for that! The CCI Digital Futures 2010 report is available at: cci.edu/publications/digital-futures-2010 Back To Top

The Buzz

Want to stand out from the crowd?

We all know Viral Marketing is a powerful marketing tool. So what better way to get tongues wagging and foot traffic pounding, than to stage a clever in-centre promotional gimmick, such as a Flash mob. For those of you not familiar with the term “Flash mobbing”, it is defined as a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, and then disperse. The term is generally applied to gatherings organised and/or rapidly propagated from person to person via telecommunications, social media and viral marketing. Our friends at Top Ryde Shopping Centre recently surprised us all, especially the thousands of shoppers visiting on their opening weekend, with a well planned and executed Flash mob, which is bound to leave a lasting impression with customers and non-customers alike.

Click here to view the footage on YouTube

Michelle Thomas, Marketing Director Top Ryde Shopping Centre gives us the lowdown on their inspired marketing idea and foray into Flash mobbing. The day before the historic 2010 federal election, Julia Gillard officially opened the New Top Ryde City shopping centre. What neither she, nor any of the other thousands of shoppers at the event were expecting was for 200 performers to spontaneously burst into a 7 minute choreographed flash mob. Just as quickly as it began, performers melted back into the crowd. The idea was presented online pharmacy viagra to VerveCreative by Top Ryde City, Verve then master planned the choreography and produced it in consultation with Top Ryde City. The flashmob performance was shot using 7 cameras, edited on site and uploaded to YouTube within hours of the performance. The video is designed to go viral – a highly effective way of promoting the centre. At a random moment in time, the music in the centre changed, ‘shoppers’ started spontaneously dancing to the music. Very quickly one performer turned into 10, which eventually culminated in a mass performance involving over 200 dancers. Within 2 days, the video has had over 2,000 hits. At this rate, within a week, 10’s of thousands of people will have seen it – a highly effective way of promoting the centre. At Directional Insights we say well done to Top Ryde City for taking a risk and entertaining us all with something new. We would love to hear from others out there who have innovation to share. Back To Top

What day is it today?

National viagra for sale online canada Walk to Work Day is the real deal, and it’s happening on October 1st.

The Team at DI have marked National Nutrition Week, 10 – 16 Oct, in our diaries already…it’s a subject close to all our hearts…and stomachs.

On the day this article was written, it was International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Did you know that? Just three short days later and we were celebrating International Youth Day. The week prior it was Local Government Week and on Friday 6th August the Directional Insights office was full of people wearing jeans in support of Jeans 4 Genes day (your office may have been awash with denim as well, but if your organisation supports mufti Friday, you may not have realised the significance of the day). To be honest, the only reason I knew to throw on a pair of jeans was the hordes of school children selling Jeans 4 Genes day keyrings at the local train station. How many of these days are marked on your calendar? How many of these days should be marked on your calendar? Or perhaps more importantly, how many of these days would you mark on your calendar if you knew about them? It is important for business’ to support worthy causes, but in modern times it can be difficult to keep track of them all. With so many events, so many causes, and so many days either commemorating, celebrating, or endorsing events and causes, it can be difficult to remember if today you wear the pink armband and tomorrow you shave your head, or tomorrow you wear the pink arm band and Friday you don the red nose. Do you really care? Well if the answer is YES, there is a solution to this little quandary, and it’s only a few clicks away at www.ourcommunity.com.au. This site lists state, national and even international events on their community calendar. Just go to the Community page, find the quick link to the community calendar and start searching by day, week or month. With a website like this you can keep in touch with all kinds of community events, and hopefully it might just take a bit of pressure off school kids having to do all the hard work. Thanks to Megan Coleman, Marketing Manager ISPT Vic Retail Portfolio, for sharing this valuable resource with us. Now there’s no excuses for not knowing “What day it is today”. Back To Top

NOTE: This is general information only and does not constitute advice nor take into account any individual’s or company’s specific requirements, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers are advised to seek specific advice. Directional Insights makes no representation nor gives any warranty as to the accuracy of future forecasts. This information is not intended as investment advice or other advice and must not be relied upon as such. You should make your own inquiries and take independent advice tailored to your specific circumstances prior to making any investment or other decision. To the fullest extent permitted by law, any conditions, warranties or liabilities implied by law into these conditions are hereby excluded. All copyright resides with Directional Insights Pty Ltd.

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