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Reality check: Theories on the next retail revolution

BY CSA STAFF

BOSTON — Brian Kilcourse, managing partner for Retail Systems Research, took some time out at the Orgill Fall Market Friday to deliver a primer on mobile technology as a driving force in the contemporary retail environment.

The seminar, titled "The New Rules of Retail: How Today’s Consumer is Changing the Game," positioned mobile technology as a harbinger of a giant "reset" in retail comparable to the Industrial Revolution and onset of the Information Age.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, Kilcourse identified the invention of the barcode as the onset of the Information Age, as well as the launch of the iPhone (versus the smartphone in general) as the dawn of what he calls the Participation Age.

"I didn’t think we’d have another tech-driven reset moment in my career — but it happened," said Kilcourse. "We’re being challenged by web and mobile, which caused a dramatic power shift away from the retailer and to the consumer. You can think of them as very demanding customers. They have the power of information at their fingertips."

Aside from the transparency and visibility brought about by mobile devices, Kilcourse cited the unprecedented amount of people now participating in the global economy via the various "digital tidbits" they leave behind that educate retailers on consumer motivations.

Another key theme was the importance of creating an environment that will allow consumers to make favorable decisions before they enter a brick-and-mortar store.

"We build our stores with the assumption that the consumer is an empty vessel when they enter it," he said. "All the value that is retail is put into those four walls, but decisions are being made outside your store. You can’t have a salesperson approach them to help them make their decisions in a way that works in your favor. And that is why the power has shifted."

Kilcourse pointed out that despite the variety of channels used by consumers in their decision-making processes, only 5.6% of sales are actually made online.

One substantial takeaway was the imperative to thus create a dialogue outside the four walls of one’s store with the intention to bring the consumer inside. Additionally, employees equipped with mobile technology can help consumers make choices while accessing the same information online.

Research collected by RSR consistently positions the successful stores as the ones that believe more strongly in the power of mobile technology. Additionally, more retailers are collectively recognizing the importance of mobile, with 47% citing multichannel customers as being "significantly more profitable" in 2013, compared to 38% in 2012.

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P&G, Habitat for Humanity team up for global volunteer project

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — As part of its efforts to expand its global footprint, Procter & Gamble is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to fund the construction, repair and cleaning of homes in 12 countries around the world.

This commitment represents Habitat’s highest level of global volunteer engagement in a single year, with nearly 3,000 employees volunteering on more than 30 projects occurring around the world in 2013.

“For the past 175 years, P&G employees have innovated to create brands that help people do the things that make their house feel more like a home. Today, we’re excited to provide both the financial support and the skills of our employees to our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, helping bring the comforts of home to families around the world,” said Brian Sasson, global manager of social investments at P&G. “P&G has a longstanding relationship with Habitat for Humanity, and this new level of global partnership will enable P&G employees to have an even greater impact in communities where they work and live.”

This year, nearly 3,000 P&G employees will volunteer their time alongside Habitat partner families in the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Poland, Costa Rica and in many other countries around the world — and help cement P&G as a household name.

“We are deeply grateful to P&G for this new commitment to help families around the world,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “In addition to providing funding and volunteers, P&G turned to its strength and generously shared thousands of household care items from their top brands that will help families turn their new houses into homes.”

P&G’s portfolio of brands includes Ace, Always, Ambi Pur, Ariel, Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downy, Duracell, Fairy, Febreze, Fusion, Gain, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Iams, Lenor, Mach3, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Pantene, Prestobarba, SK-II, Tide, Vicks, Wella and Whisper. The P&G has operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide.

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Braun takes pole position with new brand ambassador

BY CSA STAFF

Braun has tapped triple Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel as the new global brand ambassador. Vettel will be the face of the brand’s “Hold on to your Dreams” global marketing campaign.

The announcement was made at the Formula 1 Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.

“I grew up with the Braun brand,” said Vettel. “We both come from the same state of Hesse, so the connection is deep rooted. I have always been amazed by how much technology goes into Braun shavers. It’s just like in Formula 1, the latest technology, the finest design and guaranteed durability. They simply do what you expect from them. I’m proud to be the ambassador for Braun male grooming.”

“We are truly delighted to have Sebastian as our new ambassador,” said Braun’s global marketing director, Lakis Vasileiadis. “He is an impressive man who has achieved his dream through hard work, preparation, perseverance and the ultimate performance. He is a leader in his sports. Like Max Braun, our founder, Sebastian has relentlessly pursued his dream. He is an inspiration to millions of men and the ideal person to represent Braun.”

Braun, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble founded in Germany in 1921, manufactures a wide variety of small domestic appliances that range from electric shavers and beauty products to hair care appliances.

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