Retailers from across the globe met in Paris this week keen to glean new ideas from their peers. Retail Week looks at some of the initiatives discussed.

The Flying Store

Hypermarket giant Emart decided to tackle shopping trends in the country head on earlier this year. With the Korean population working some of the longest hours in the world, workers have begun to shop locally, away from its big box stores. Marketing firm Cheil, whose president of shopper marketing and retail operations Simon Hathaway outlined the project at WRC, created an Emart-branded truck-shaped balloon equipped with a Wi-Fi router which customers could connect to for free via their mobile phones. Once connected to the wi-fi, shoppers could download coupons and use these immediately to buy products via the Emart mobile app. The balloon floated in shopping centres and during the course of the campaign, Emart in-store sales rose by 9.5%, while mobile sales more than doubled, rising by 157%.

Window conversion

Shopper data specialist Shoppertrak opened the congress with an insight into methods of measuring footfall and conversion. Its window conversion software allows retailers to monitor how many people pass the window through mobile radio frequency technology. Retailers can then understand which merchandising tactics work best and the average value of a Sale.

The Smart Wallet

Mobile payment was a hot topic at WRC and retailers are watching carefully to see developments in mobile wallets. SH Lee, chairman of Tesco Homeplus in Korea, told Retail Week that its Smart Wallet, rolled out earlier this month, had met with a positive response from shoppers. “The wallet allows us to send discounts and promotions to customers and they can pay using their phone,” he said. Lee said a transaction via mobile wallet takes 15 seconds, as opposed to the average of 49 seconds. Tesco intends to introduce the wallet in the UK when its bank launches current accounts next year.

Gamification and social media

The use of online games on retailer’s sites and Facebook pages has become relatively commonplace however US TV shopping giant Home Shopping Network (HSN) has taken the idea a step further. Chief executive Mindy Grossman told the congress HSN had received 150 million game plays in two years and that shoppers have the chance to win HSN products via the games which are pushed by a daily newsletter. “Gamificiation is not just about playing games,” she said. “How do you integrate it into everything? Most of social loyalty is about a conversation – our customers love shopping, sharing and online games.”

Transparency

OC&C partner Michael Jary told the congress retailers are taking steps to become more transparent and build trust with shoppers. Following the horse meat scandal and a number of tragedies in the Bangladesh garment industry, consumers are monitoring retailers and suppliers’ ethical credentials closely. Asda has installed webcams in its factories in Bangladesh and the Fairtrade Foundation hosts live streams online from cocoa farms in Malawi and allows consumers to ask producers questions. US etailer Everlane took transparency to a new level through offering video tours of its production facilities and also publishing its exact margins made on products online.

Consumers shape ranges

Retailers regularly canvas shoppers’ opinions on ranges before they launch but several have taken this further, Jary explained. The world’s largest retailer Walmart has selected products from 1,000 ideas submitted by individuals and businesses as part of its Get on the Shelf initiative. Meanwhile, crowdsourcing specialist Quirky has bridged the gap between manufacturer and retailer in aiding almost 400 products to come to market via its own ecommerce operation or through retail giants such as Target and Amazon.