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Cybertill Shortlisted for the Knowsley Business Awards 2018!

We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for Medium Business of the Year for the Knowsley Business Awards in what has been a highly contended year! Edward Perry Chair of the Knowsley Place Board and Operations Director of Knowsley Hall and Safari said “This year’s nominations have been superb, every business deserves recognition for their sheer hard work and determination and I feel privileged to be part of the judging panel.  It never ceases to amaze me what tremendous businesses we have on our doorstep.”

Celebrating its 16th year, the awards has become an established date in the business and social calendars, attracting guests from across the North West. The awards celebrate the energy, determination and commitment of the of the individuals and organisations that are driving forward Knowsley’s economic success. (www.knowsleybusinessawards.com).

Knowsley (in Liverpool) is where you’ll find Cybertill HQ. Situated in the picturesque grounds of Lord Derby’s Estate, Cybertill is a proud member of the dynamic and diverse business community all contributing to the Knowsley growth and success story.

In our nomination we highlighted our many key achievements over the last 12 months, including being nominated for 3 other prestigious awards: Retail Week Tech Team of the Year, Big Chip Awards: Best Tech for Good Project and Most Innovative Use of Technology. Cybertill has also had great success with our customers; we rolled out Cancer Research UK with our retail management system in just 3 months and signed Barnardo’s charity retailer as a customer with over 700 stores! We also launched an education initiative that helps Cybertill customers get the most from their retail systems including training for Gift Aid, customer user groups and strategy workshops.

Whenever possible, we invite customers, suppliers, and other professionals to the Cybertill Head Office in Knowsley. Our CEO, Ian Tomlinson, gives visitors a personal tour of our gorgeous office estate, complete with a brief history of Lord Derby and the surrounding area. We are very proud of our location, team, and products, and want to surprise and delight customers and prospects when they come to visit. Lesley Martin Wright, Chief Executive of Knowsley Chamber said “Knowsley has an outstanding business community and the annual ceremony enables us to recognise and reward their achievements.  This year we are expecting in excess of 850 guests, so we are in for a wonderful evening, the atmosphere will be electric and with so many deserving companies it will be a memorable occasion.”

The Medium Business Award is Cybertill’s fifth award nomination this year; we were also nominated for the Retail Tech Awards, Big Chip Awards x2, Amazon Growing Business and now the Knowsley Business awards; so it’s safe to say we are very proud that our hard work is being noticed in the industry!

The rise and rise of the pop-up store

Hosting a pop-up shop is a growing retail trend, and an ideal approach to reaching a wider audience and increasing footfall to your retail business. With brick and mortar stores your business can be limited in obtaining those customers who might not usually come across your store. Pop-up shops can make your business mobile, increase brand awareness, whilst keeping your brand fresh and current.

5 benefits of pop-up shops:

  1. Brand awareness
    Be the fresh-faced store in town and attract the trend-driven Gen Z market. It’s important to always be working on increasing your brand awareness, with the aim of consumers being more familiarised with your image, qualities, goods and services.
  2. Brand hype
    A pop-up can create hype and excitement, with a well-planned out marketing campaign, your pop-up can be the new kid on the block. Research the latest retail trends, look on social media and implement them at your pop-up. Customers are drawn to limited availability if your store is only there for a short period of time, you can roll-up those customers who will miss you when you’re gone.
  3. Maximise footfall
    By having a pop-up you can give your stagnant brick and mortar store, legs (sort of)! By moving about, you can increase your reach and bring your brand to your customers, instead of the other way around.
  4. Experiential retail
    A pop-up is a great way to offer customers more than just a chance to buy something, it is a chance for you to get to know your customers and offer them an experience – offer a personal shopping experience or a chance to win a competition.
  5. Test-market products or services with key consumers
    A pop-up doesn’t have to be a replica of your store, it can be a chance to market research new products or ideas and gain some feedback from those who matter most.

And although there are many benefits to independent retailers doing a pop-up shop, it has also become increasingly prevalent with big name brands and pureplay ecommerce shops.

A store within a store is often quite popular, collaborating with companies that may compliment their own and also share increasing rent prices (which is a big bonus!) For example, fashion retailer Next has a Costa Coffee café within some of their stores, providing a chance for shoppers to take a break with some refreshments, without having to leave the store! Sainsburys, which acquired Argos in 2016, now has concessions of the ‘digital retailer’ within 250 of its supermarkets. This has proved beneficial to both parties as visitors to Argos often pick up a few items in Sainsburys, meaning that the Home Retail Group are able to keep up with the competition coming from the US in the shape of Amazon.


“We’re seeing more and more ecommerce companies that want to test offline”
Elizabeth Layne, Chief Marketing Officer at Appear Here


Amazon recently launched a pop-up shop in central London to seek shoppers’ views on its own clothing ranges, prices and store experience by handing out questionnaires to shoppers in store to gauge their response.

As well as a store within a store, there are many other different types of pop-up shops that you can try, based on your logistics, budget and planning. Pop-up types include, a kiosk or booth, which have quite a low-cost set-up and are usually located in high footfall areas. Pop-up or general vacant space, can be beneficial as you’ll be dealing with space owners who understand the whole pop-up concept. In-line shopping centre stores, where you will benefit from the existing footfall in the shopping centre. And vacant street level space, which means that being on street level means you’re again open to existing regular footfall.

If you’re considering having a pop-up it can be difficult to know what retail technology will help you to manage transactions and feed information back to your base. A mobile EPoS system that is cloud hosted providing real time data and results could be the answer.  For example, British Red Cross used Cybertill’s cloud-based EPoS system to manage its pop-up store in Westfield, London.

Infographic images courtesy of http://www.colourfast.com/

7 tips for improving your collection service with click and collect

We’ve all been there. You arrive home to find a ‘sorry we missed you’ card for that dress you needed for your big night out. Frustrated, you’ve now got to travel to the local depot, which is only open whilst you’re in work to collect your items, reminding yourself to not order online from that retailer again. Sound familiar?

Improving delivery and collection service through Click and Collect is crucial to retailers, as customer expectations are higher than ever and 43% of customers (including 52% of 21-25 year olds) agree that a store using Click and Collect means they now shop online.

Inspired by Argos back in 2000, Click-and-Collect is used by approximately 72% of UK shoppers and is proving to be a major boost to multi-channel sales conversions. However, while convenience and free delivery are amongst the top motivators for consumers using Click and Collect services, recent Cybertill and You Gov consumer research highlights that retailers are potentially failing to deliver a pain free service:

  • 65% of consumers are frustrated when items ordered for click and collect arrive later than promised or they only have a rough collection date and time
  • 57% are most frustrated when there are long queues for collection, with 52% being most frustrated when they find themselves waiting in the wrong place!
  • Poor mobile signal in-store is also a bugbear for 38% of respondents

Providing the customer with more choice over how they shop, this multi-channel approach is an essential element in helping retailers retain market share. Introducing an efficient Click and Collect service can be easily integrated into retail software and is something that cloud based EPoS and retail management systems are leading the way in. Providing business of all sizes the ability to seamlessly integrate Click and Collect, gives retailers the competitive advantage, whilst keeping up with customer expectations. As a retailer you need to take the time to assess if you want to improve your delivery and collection service and more importantly, if your current retail system can cope with the improvements.

click and collect research 7 tips to improve delivery and collection:

  1. Real Time Stock:

    Real time stock is essential in letting customers know that the items they want are available in store. No one wants to waste their time travelling to a shop only to find the item they want is out of stock. Cloud EPoS is leading the way with this and retailers are not restricted stock only being updated during store opening hours. All stock is real time and updated when each reservation or transaction is processed whether in store or online with no time delay.

  2. Go mobile:

    More people are using mobile smartphones as part of their customer journey and with online sales for September sitting at 17.8% in the UK, providing customers with the option of reserving and collecting in store via their smartphone is crucial, as is allowing payment via mobile in store on collection to avoid queuing, which gives the customer an improved experience.

  3. Convenient Store Collection:

    Customers will want to choose a collection option that is most convenient to them, which may not necessarily be from the nearest store to their home. Allowing customers to select collection from a variety of stores will provide convenience and encourage future ordering and collections. John Lewis use their Waitrose stores to their advantage for customer collections, providing them with the option to collect their orders when they do their weekly shop.

  4. Alternative Collection Points:

    High street retailers have followed their online competitors including Boohoo, ASOS, Missguided and Littlewoods in joining forces with companies such as Collect Plus to offer alternative pick up points from over 6000 local stores across the UK. Increasing choice and convenience for the customer without them having to travel too far encourages repeat sales and loyalty.

  5. Quick Collection:

    Most fashion retailers offer next day collection on orders placed before 8pm; however, stores such as The Fragrance Shop have implemented click and collect express within two hours, providing customers with the speed of ordering a last-minute gift and collecting at a convenient time, especially if they are in a hurry. Other retailers following suit are B&Q and Cotswold Outdoor with their one hour click and collect service available for items held in stock in store.

  6. Communication is key:

    63% of consumers stated that real-time updates via text message, email or push notification is a something they want from retailers offering click and collect. Shoppers need to know that their order has been processed and when their items are ready to collect, while retailers need to communicate all this information quickly and at every stage of the order process to keep customers happy. Failing to do so can leave the customer feeling confused and unsure when their order will be available, potentially damaging future orders.

  7. In store experience:

    You’ve placed your order and are collecting it from the store but you’re not sure where the collection desk is and there is a huge queue for the till! Once again frustration sets in. This is where retailers need to ensure the in store experience for customers keeps them coming back. Having a separate, well sign posted area of the store dedicated to collections will remove frustration and long queuing times, leaving the customer feeling confident in ordering again from the retailer, especially as this is a pain point for over 50% of consumers surveyed. Adding fitting rooms to the collection area for items reserved also  provides a seamless experience, blending the online and in store experience.

How does your collection and delivery service stack up? Download the latest Cybertill and YouGov consumer Click and Collect research here.

Cybertill nominated for The Amazon Growing Business Awards 2018

Cybertill is thrilled to announced that we have been announced as a finalist for “The Amazon Web Services Digital Business of the Year” award!

The award is part of the Amazon Growing Business Awards that will be taking place in London in November. The awards, now entering the 20th year, are described as the ‘most credible and highly valued recognition of exceptional growing business’.

We have been recognised for our electronic Gift Aid donor sign-up module that we have developed specifically for Charity retailers. Charities rely on donors to register Gift Aid in order for charities to receive an extra 25% on top of the original donation.

Historically, the donor Gift Aid registration process was quite lengthy, required a lot of admin, and the charity needed to store paperwork for HMRC in case of audit, which can be a time-consuming, and not really GDPR compliant. Our cloud software solution has streamlined the Gift Aid process for charities, making donor sign up and data storage digital, secure, simple, and HMRC compliant.

With our electronic Gift Aid donor-sign up module on a tablet, charities can take the sign-up process away from the till, reducing queues and allowing for other volunteers to process sales whilst another completes the sign-up form with a donor elsewhere in the store.

Electronic Gift Aid donor sign-up is a functionality that works within the EPoS system which provides charities with a central supporter database, so charities can integrate donors into their fundraising operation.


“This is great news. I am very proud that Cybertill has been shortlisted as the team worked very hard to deliver a high quality and future-ready solution to the once time-consuming sign-up process. Once again proving how the Cybertill team has a strong ability to stay agile in the changing retail and technology market.”
Ian Tomlinson, Cybertill CEO


It is a great encouragement to be recognised for our effort in developing and delivering software that has helped, and continues to help, charities run successful retail operations.

The Amazon Growing Business Awards judging day brings together over 150 entrepreneurs and CEOs. The day will provide an opportunity to get to know some of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses and a chance to network. You can read the full list of nominees and more about the Awards on The Amazon blog.

The awards will take place on Wednesday 28th November, wish us luck!



*photo credit Caspian Media

What do Gen Z want for Click and Collect?

In Cybertill’s consumer research focused on the ever-current, ever-curious Gen Z, we found that when it came to click and collect, even though a dedicated click and collect entrance and car park may appeal to older consumers, Gen Z are not really bothered by these features, but they did tell us what they do want from retailers.

Gen Z spoke, and we listened. We were surprised that they were not telling us what retail experts and industry academics have been telling retailers for the past 5 years. They don’t want flashy gimmicks in-store, or personalised shopping experiences’ its actually quite simple, they want great customer service that is efficient, easy and pain-free. Heck! Gen Z would much rather find an item in-store themselves with self-stock check (38%) or pay for their items themselves with self-checkout (35%) than have to wait for shop assistants. This is the “instant generation” after all…

Gen Z are all about the information, with the internet at their fingertips this group of consumers can be more informed than ever before, and they want to retailers to provide clear and precise information straight to their mobiles on their orders. At the top of the list for Gen Z is real-time updates via text message, email or push notification so that they know exactly when they can pick their item up.


“Gen Z are sceptical, blunt, and impatient due to being raised in an environment of information transparency and dominated by technologies that offer instant gratification” (Bolton, 2013)


Retailers should ensure that they are still providing a quality experience for Gen Z even though they are not shopping in-store. 57% of Gen Z want their click and collect item to be packaged appropriately, i.e. a luxury item in good quality branded packaging and not unnecessarily large packaging depending on the item. It’s important to note that Gen Z are very eco-conscious and will be annoyed if retailers over-package items. As explained in Forbes, Gen Z have a shared desire to make a positive impact on the world and are passionate about environmental causes.

Earlier this year, Zara unveiled its first digital store in London, which alongside the usual departments, also houses a dedicated online area of the store for the purchase and collection of online orders, with automated online order collection points. The Spanish retailer’s target market is “young, price-conscious, and highly sensitive to the latest fashion trends” (Harbott) aka Gen Z. The digital store concept may resonate with Gen Z, our research found that this tech-savvy generation want a dedicated click and collect till or area, i.e. a till separate from the main checkout till when collecting click and collect in-store. Once more, 46% of Gen Z shared that they feel very frustrated when they realise they have been queuing in the wrong place to collect their order.

There is often a misconception with Gen Z that they merely shop online on their mobiles, however this is not the case. According to the National Retail Federation and IBM, 98% of Gen Z consumers buy in-store some or most of the time (Forbes, 2018). Gen Z shared with us that they often get frustrated when there is no WiFi in-store or if they are unable to retrieve the order confirmation due to poor mobile phone service in-store when picking up their click and collect order.


Retailers can really ace click and collect for Gen Z if they remember these 4 things:

  1. Don’t waste their time – Provide clear and concise order information about when they can pick up their item.
  2. Create a separate Click and Collect Point – Have a till or area that is specifically for Gen Z to pick up their order, don’t let them queue at your main till and waste their time.
  3. Be considerate with your packaging – No ones hates waste more than Gen Z, its also doing your bit for the environment if you make these small changes and reduce your packaging waste.
  4. Cater to their in-store phone use – Have WiFi readily available so that Gen Z can retrieve their order confirmation.

Our Latest Consumer Research, Download Now

Loyalty is Royalty: How to Capture the Gen Z Audience

In the fast-paced retail environment of today, customers have endless choice both offline and online, it can be hard for retailers to entice the always-on Generation Z when there is so much competition out there and they are exposed to so much chatter from retailers.

But it’s not only the increased competition from other online and offline retailers, Kobie Marketing also explains that there are now more customer touchpoints than ever before – giving rise to a fragmented customer journey (Kobie, 2018). Gen Z are multichannel shoppers, they move from one channel to the next hitting various touchpoints along the way, so it’s important that your loyalty schemes are easily transferable from online shopping to in-store. Attracting Gen Z to your store definitely requires an online presence. According to online marketplace, Down Your High Street, “Lots of people prefer to shop local, but convenience means they go to bigger stores.” Ensuring your operation is omnichannel, online, in-store and even on social, will all help to attract Gen Z and keep them coming back.

Our latest consumer data research with YouGov, asked Generation Z (18-24 year olds) what they want from loyalty schemes and the results were quite surprising. Gen Z are a generation that appreciate a good deal and enjoy knowing that they have received value for money.


“Despite their age, Gen Z are more akin to their grandparents than they are to Millennials when it comes to money. They are hardworking and value financial stability and witnessed their parents in the recession” – Angie Read, 2018


Their top incentive to sign up to a loyalty scheme is discounts with 75% of Gen Zers selecting this option. This is in comparison to only 18% who said that VIP events (e.g. launch parties, masterclasses, celebrity signings etc) would encourage them to sign up.

Loyalty schemes are a great way to add that personal touch in this tech-heavy world we live in. Gen Z like to feel as though they are connected to brands and are cautious and sceptical when choosing which brands they want to support. So, creating a sense of community with this generation through a loyalty scheme, is great way of retaining this influential consumer segment.

Each generation from Baby boomers, to Generation X, to Millennials, to Gen Z, will use loyalty schemes differently. Baby boomers are more likely to want a physical loyalty card to keep in their purses, compared to Gen Z and Millennials who may prefer an app which they can use online and show at the till in-store. 35% of Gen Z would like it if they could view and redeem their offers/discounts on a mobile device.

“Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to join mobile app programmes than their Baby Boomers and Generation X counterparts” – Kobie Marketing, 2018


Our research did find, however, that all generations are bound by a love for discounts, and who can blame them, who doesn’t love a bargain! But although flashy PR gimmicks may work for other generations, you better think twice about investing in such things for Gen Z. VIP pre-launch access to stock or sales and personal recommendations based on their purchase history, both were voted only 22%. They do not offer instant value-for-money and so Gen Z are really not enthused by such offers in return for their loyalty.


“Despite expecting to see dramatic differences between the Millennials and Generation Z, the results were actually very similar. The only instances where there where differing results was when comparing the answers of over 55’s to Generation Z or Millennials” – Ian Tomlinson, CEO, Cybertill


So in order to point retailers in the right direction we have created our top 5 Tips for Cracking Loyalty with Gen Z!

5 Tips for Cracking Loyalty with Gen Z

  1. Make it an easy sign-up process – Ask them at the till if they would like to sign-up, grab their email address, send them a link and you’re done! No long-winded paper-based sign-up process
  2. Offer real value in return for their loyalty – We all know that customers love a bargain and Gen Z are no different, 75% want discounts and 67% want points that equal money to spend in-store
  3. Steer clear of gimmicks – Gen Z will see straight through this, only 22% liked the ides of VIP launch parties and events in return for loyalty
  4. Show them you care – Thank them with emails and special offers, reward them for their continued loyalty
  5. Offer personalised promotions – 39% of Gen Z want promotions based on their purchase history



Kobie Marketing, 2018, Loyalty in the age of the Connected Consumer [Available Online] http://www.kobie.com/wp-content/uploads/KobieMarketing_LoyaltyintheAgeoftheConnectedConsumer.pdf

Angie Read, 2018, Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast and Very Different Generation of Influencers

Multi channel retail: What’s in-store for Gen Z?

Cybertill research has uncovered UK-specific detail about consumer habits of nu-wave shoppers: Gen Z.

First it was the Baby Boomers, then Generation X, followed by the much-talked-about Millennials, and now Generation Z. Born between 1994 and 2010, Gen Z are fast becoming an increasingly important consumer segment in today’s market, not to be ignored or pigeonholed with Millennials.

When we were looking for data about Generation Z to share with our retail customers, we noticed a considerable gap in research in the UK, with most of the information focused on the US market. So, we decided to sponsor a YouGov survey which aimed to dig deep into the multi-channel retailing preferences of the Gen Z consumer, as well as Millennials and older generations.

These 18-24 year old’s want a DIY approach to high street shopping. Focusing less on being entertained or browsing online first, than their older, Millennial counterparts (i.e. those aged 25 to 34) and more on quick, succinct, seamless experiences, in real-time, according to statistics from our YouGov report.

In regards to click and collect, 59% of Gen Z would want a dedicated checkout, nearly half (48%) of Gen Z’s are frustrated with poor mobile phone signal in-store, and 45% want free wifi in-store in order to retrieve their order confirmation.


“It’s more important to tell your customers exactly when they will receive their orders so that they can, for example, go and pick it up on their lunch break, rather than tell them a vague version of ‘next day”    – Ian Tomlinson, CEO, Cybertill


Gen Z are all for the self-help in-store; not wanting to speak to shop staff and would much rather check stock themselves using retail technology. Most of Generation Z chose in-store retail technology that made them more self-sufficient whilst shopping; 38% want self-stock check points and 35% want self-check out options available in-store.

This may add to the media dialogue that is often attributed to this generation as merely ‘lazy, selfish, swipe zombies insatiable in their quest for makeup tutorials and cat videos’. However, surprisingly our research also found that, although this generation does enjoy technology, nothing quite beats going in-store to physically see a product to convert them to purchase, highlighting the importance of being optimised for multi-channel retailing. Multi-channel retailing is about selling to customers through both online such as ecommerce and offline outlets, such as the high street. 76% of Gen Z voted being able to physically see product(s) in real life as their main incentive to go into store, rather than shop online.

Generation Z also shared their in-store shopping frustrations in our survey. Most interesting is that a remarkable 86% said that their biggest frustration is when an item is marked ‘in-stock’ on a retailer’s website, but is not available when they go to find it in-store. Multi-channel retailing is imperative to retailers and it must be done right, with a single-view of stock and real-time epos data it will be easier for retailers to manage a seamless omnichannel experience. Multi-channel retailing is even more vital to retailers wanting to target this consumer segment who so love their mobiles! It’s important to capture the interest of Gen Z as they move between browsing in-store to buying online and vice versa. If retailers are not set up to handle multi-channel retail behaviour, they will undoubtedly be losing out on valuable sales. Gen Z also want real-time stock visibility from retail technology, so retailers, if you mark something as being ‘in stock’ in a shop location on your website, it better be there, or else face frustrated Gen Z consumers.

Yet again Gen Z provided surprising results with their attitude towards experiential events. Some of the retail technology that the media has hyped as ‘must-have retail technology’ over the past 5 years or so, Gen Z are simply not interested in. Only 15% said that Beacon tech would improve their shopping experiences and only 16% liked the idea of experiential events such as VIP launches. Face-to-face personalised customer service (22%) in-store is also among the ‘media myths’ our report revealed was less important to Generation Z, compared to other features such as free samples 36%, and e-receipts 31%.


“Whatever retail technology you’re implementing in-store for Gen Z, make it easy to understand,  make it easy for them to help themselves, and make it work” – Ian Tomlinson CEO Cybertill


Much like their Baby Boomer grandparents this generation grew up in financial instability. The market crash in 2008 has shaped much of this generation’s relationship with money and consumption. Gen Z are really not enthused by retailers offering an ’experience’ as incentive for signing up to loyalty schemes, they want discounts! 75% of Gen Z said that discounts and promotions would encourage them to sign up most, whereas points-based schemes were less preferred with only 67%.


“Despite their age, Gen Z are more akin to their grandparents than they are to Millennial’s when it comes to money. They are hardworking and value financial stability and witnessed their parents in the recession” –  Angie Read, 2018*


Overall, Gen Z delivered some surprising results on their preferences and frustrations when it comes to shopping. Despite expecting to see their enthusiasm for ‘experience’ and ‘retail technology’, this generation are quite straightforward in what they like and what they don’t like. They want to help themselves when browsing in store and they want fast, interaction and queue-free payments through contactless and self-checkout.

Retailers may want to spend cash on experiences, VIP launches and flashy PR stunts, but that won’t impress this generation. Keep it simple, create a multi-channel, seamless shopping experience both online and in-store as this is the key to a loyal Gen Z following!

The full Gen Z Consumer Research Report can be downloaded here: Meet Gen Z Cybertill Research


*Co-author Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast and Very Different Generation of Influencers in Jewellery Focus link: https://www.jewelleryfocus.co.uk/22416-generation-z-the-next-wave-of-jewellery-consumers)

Can retailers handle the heat this August bank holiday?

With the hot and stormy weather continuing through till September, the retail revenue potential of the August bank holiday is set to be a scorcher! But, is every retailer prepared for the upcoming extended peak shopping period?

Whatever the weather, our bank holiday weekends draw people of all ages, demographics and interests into the retail bonanza of flash sales, dazzling Christmas offers and summer clearance bargains simply too good to miss. Well, maybe as a distraction from this very bizarre weather we are experiencing, the great British summer sale sits waiting for you on your mobile, online and in-store.Summer Sale

Although it’s not just about the hot summer sales, the August bank holiday kicks off the Christmas countdown for retailers. For most retailers, this is the make or break financial quarter. But are retailers doing enough to cash in on this all-important retail period for both short and long-term revenue gain?

The now infamous opening of Selfridges’ Christmas store 5 months early, has become the unofficial start of the countdown to Christmas in recent years. Opening on the 2nd August one of the hottest days of the year in its London flagship store, it has become the first department store in the world to start its Christmas celebrations.

Asda is also in on the early preparations, already launching its Christmas Savings Card, to help those who would like to spread the cost of the expensive shopping period. Retailers are used to planning Christmas strategies early on in the year, but it’s important to understand that it’s not just the retail industry that’s looking so far ahead.

Last August saw a spike in consumer spending, speaking last year Pauline Robinson, managing partner at MediaCom felt that this was down to the weather, “there were severe weather warnings in place around the country, suggesting that unseasonable weather could play a part in turning shoppers’ attention to the festive season at the end of the summer.”

It’s now a question of whether the unusually hot summer that we’ve had will have an impact on consumers thinking ahead to the Christmas months, or will they still be buying beer, barbecues and sun cream? Retail sales rose by 2.3% across the UK last month, which experts felt was down to remarkable sales of drinks due to the hot weather and England doing the unexpected and lasting until the semi-finals in the World Cup! The non-food sector certainly gained from the summer events, with pub takings rising by 73% on the day of the semi-final against Croatia.

As we approach the August bank holiday weekend, retailers of all sizes should be thinking and working to understand the complex extended peak shopping period. It’s a chance to engage with customers who may or may not be thinking about Christmas early.

Liverpool ChristmasOn reflection of Christmas 2017, Deloitte found that online shopping experiences improved massively, whilst footfall on the high street fell by 1% p.a. They explained that this was due to ‘shoppers looking for greater transparency, ease of shopping, time saving and inspiration as well as the convenience of next day delivery’.

So, when thinking ahead to Christmas 2018 it is essential for retailers to listen to customer needs, requirements and trends, to forecast ahead to the intense shopping period. Google Trends reports that there has been a steady increase in Google searches for ‘Christmas’ since May 2018 with the search peaking in early August, showing that many may be in the preparation stages before the summer is even out!

7 Things to Action and Consider:

  1. Customer Data Acquisition. With great sale bargains and Christmas previews comes great footfall so don’t miss the opportunity to build up your lucrative customer database.
  2. Launch an exclusive VIP loyalty Club. Why not incorporate exclusive Christmas events and festive discounts for members to boost your sales figures, win market share and encourage strong customer rapport? Don’t forget to promote this at your point of sale!
  3. Introduce digital receipts to enable not only easy refunds and exchanges, but also acquire email addresses for on-going customer engagements.
  4. Introduce in-store mobile technology to create a digital aisle for extended product choice and search of items in other locations.
  5. If you decide to incorporate the online buying experience of in-store digital aisles, why not introduce pay and deliver so your customers can receive their goods at home and enjoy the experience of shopping, without carrying the bags!
  6. Run social media competitions. Why not even test Instagram as a sales channel to support your omnichannel retail strategy? Avoid mistakes llike these retailers who were slow to adapt to new shopping features
  7. Decide what worked well and what did not. You can do this by monitoring clicks on marketing emails and using your EPoS and ecommerce system to monitor sales spikes online and in store. It’s also worth checking what posts worked well on social media.

While you’re here…

why not download our latest consumer research report?

Meet Gen Z

Jewellery Retail – Podcast with The Digital Jeweller

Ryan Edkins: Welcome to The Digital Jeweller. Today I’m joined by Elaine Scott from Cybertill. So the question is this: How are we as jewellers going to thrive in this ever-changing economy? How do we market our products and our services out into the world to ensure we get our message heard. That is the question and this podcast will give you the answer. My name is Ryan Edkins and welcome to The Digital Jeweller. As you know we are looking to educate the jewellery industry about the future, and what jewellers can do to improve the reach of their business by using technology to maximise their efficiency. Cybertill is one of those companies that has been seen to make waves through the jewellery industry recently. How long has the company been going?

Elaine Scott: I’ve been a retail consultant with Cybertill for about eight and half years. Cybertill was founded by the tech pioneer, Ian Tomlinson in 2001. And it was actually the first product to really bring retail management into the cloud, which allows businesses to access data actually in real-time. It was really innovative at the time when ecommerce was just beginning to take off, it really helped bricks and mortar retailers take a step into the digital realm. Cybertill has obviously grown year on year and has expanded its product offering to cater to specialist sectors such as jewellery, as you know. That’s probably been growing dramatically over the last couple of years

RE: Yeah, this cloud technology is definitely the future, I feel, of any industry. The ability to link in from any device wherever you are and get valuable information right there and then. It’s like a dashboard on your business, you know?

How do you see jewellers responding to this technology? The industry is not known for its progression with technology, I’m sorry to say. But it’s great to see companies like yourself really trying to educate jewellers to show them how to leverage technology for their benefit.

ES: Yeah, obviously, you know, the jewellers that we’ve been working with under the feedback on the current economic climate. I mean if you think about it, last year PWC research found that whilst 15 shops closed on the high street each week, the number of jewellers operating on the high street actually rose. The jeweller sector is actually thriving, but many jewellers are still lagging behind general retail when it comes to connecting online and in-store services. That, I would say, is probably the biggest challenge at the moment. In terms of why that is, I think they just have kind of unique challenges when it comes to stock. That’s what makes jeweller lag behind general retail. But, as you’ve heard me say before, I do think high street jewellers must get with the programmes because department stores and online retailers may begin to take their business.

RE: That’s right, and you know they’ve got a much bigger budget behind them and if jewellers – independent jewellers especially – if they don’t even touch upon the digital transformation that’s coming, then they are gonna be left behind in the dark unfortunately.

ES: Absolutely, and jewellers are often family businesses, and there can be a reluctance from older generations to get away from old methods. And obviously, if they haven’t digitised their store operations, new players in the jewellery are taking business away from those family jewellers, so it doesn’t matter how well-loved they are in their local markets. You know, I just think that [jewellers] do need to progress.

RE: It could be even as easy as looking at someone who has experience with computers, or technology, and just getting them to help. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense to go out and research these kind of technologies. Usually, within your own family someone will have the passion for it already.

ES: I couldn’t agree more.

RE: Why do you feel the cloud is the solution?

ES: Well it is that integration of absolutely everything, isn’t it? Dedicated servers kept in someone’s store room are far less secure than Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, which is what we operate on, the cloud allows for real-time exchange of stock, sales, and customer data which populates not only your staff and customer-facing website, but also your systems. By not having a cloud-based retail system, you’re limiting your growth.

RE: I agree. It’s something that, you know, if you can have the single interface that will tell you about your online sales, your in-store sales, your stock take, you know, all of these different insights that are the heartbeat of your company essentially, its going to really allow you to make decisions instantly on where to take the future of your business.

ES: Exactly. In terms of Cybertill, it was built to provide a real-time single view of stock sales and customers to retailers across all touchpoints, that includes, the integrated systems, the popup and branded retail shops, mobile point of sale, click and collect points, franchises, concessions, and of course, ecommerce as well.

RE: How do you find that click and collect is working for retailers at the moment?

ES: I think click and collect is very important, for example, we’ve just done a report actually on Gen Z, although 59% of Gen Z want a dedicated till for retrieving click and collect items, that generation don’t like queuing, so click and collect, and having that facility online is just so important. It really is. So, click and collect, click and reserve, having those for jewellery retailers is so important.

RE: Jewellery being such an emotional purchase, especially the higher end products, having that ability for consumers to reserve something and come in and inspect it before taking it away, just gives them that little bit more of confidence in the brand and the business, right?

ES: Definitely. And ecommerce is a tough one for jewellers at the moment, but ecommerce should be really the driver to get customers in store especially for items where fit is important, such as rings or watches. So that aside from click and collect and click and reserve, they do need to have that online availability of their stock, a catalogue of products online.

RE: A hundred percent. It is now what I talk about in my book your website should be your new digital shop window. So many more people are going to see your website now than your shop window and it has to be treated as the centre of your business. And if you can use cloud technology, to really manage that in a more streamlined manner, you’re going to have an easier time, a less stressful time in running your business, which is what it’s all about. It will help you do more, reach more, and actually expand easier if you’ve got a nice, simple system that you can manage from anywhere you are.

ES: Many customers will, especially in the jewellery market, some of them will be uncomfortable buying large ticket items online, whatever age they are. You know, if it’s a special like an engagement ring, you know, whether that’s a special order or, you know, they’ve seen something online, it’s going to drive them into store bricks and mortar, so that personal experience in the jewellery market is really important part of the experience, but I think online does drive that as well.


RE: Yeah, I think what the problem, when I speak to retailers, the common complaint is that they are surprised at how quick the rate of change is happening, and how Gen Z and Millenials are adopting these new ways of purchasing online and the click and collect model and they’re a bit scared of how to actually embrace it and they need guidance. Education is a key thing to help retailers really navigate this fast pace of change. What is Cybertill doing, and how are you helping retailers to navigate this change?

ES: In terms of the software, we’re trying to work very hard on the software. It’s different when you’re speaking to the independent retailers than it is to the larger jewellery market with more budget, and they do seem to be embracing the technology. In terms of the software, it’s not just about the stock control and the online offering for ourselves, it includes the special features such as the biometric login, workshop module for handling repairs, ring sizing and bespoke orders. We’re doing things like email receipts to protect lifetime guarantees, selling gift cards in-store and online and the ability to use those across channels, we’re extending the offering with extended aisle technology to sell direct from suppliers, and we’re helping retailers transfer stock between stores automatically with inter-store transfers. What we’re trying to do is get in front of as many jewellers as possible to give them a comparison in terms of what they’re doing right now in terms of their process. Whether that’s a manual system, or whether that’s an historic epos system that their running at the moment.

RE: There are no doubt systems that translate to a digital naturally. I presume when many retailers ae doing stock takes they are writing things down on pieces of paper, spreadsheets, which you can do within the cloud anyway.

ES: Absolutely, and in terms of our system, the problems that its going to solve for them is, you know, is that they’re going to have that full real-time view of stock, sales, and customers, going back to that real-time visibility. You know, managing loyalty and CRM right from the point of sale. I always say, and it might sound a little bit cheesy, but it’s not just a point of sale, it’s a point of service, it goes beyond transactions now. The fact that you can integrate into real-time ecommerce channels, you can show stock levels, and offer real-time click and collect or reserve and collect, in order to drive footfall to stores. In terms of the software, you know, we want to try and overcome retail challenges. We’re trying to help them in more ways than one.

RE: If retailers are going to dip their toe into modern cloud technology, what would you say is the best route for them to start bringing on board this kind of technology? I guess its not something that they have to take the whole part of the technology, they can start in one area and slowly ease their way in, is that right?

ES: Definitely, you know, we understand that people are reluctant to change, and it can be a little bit daunting in terms of computer systems, certainly cloud technology, but it’s having that vision. It’s kind of analysing the business, seeing where they need to improve, what are the challenges that they are facing, maybe where are they losing money, what are their competitors doing, and having a bit of a vision, you know. Whether that’s getting that right in-store first of all, and then introducing online. And let us come and talk to you, you know, we are very different to any other retail solution. We’re not about just coming out and selling to a retailer, it’s about having a system that is a good fit. It is a bout really trying to see if we can help them overcome their challenges.

RE: Agreed.

ES: It is very interesting in terms of challenges that they are facing, you know, ensuring the provenance of diamonds is a very important initiative. I don’t know if you’re aware, but De Beers have recently launched a project that uses blockchain which creates a record each time gems change hands starting the moment they are dug from the ground. And De Beers have done this to make sure that gems are not sourced from conflict zones where gems could be used to finance violence.

On a simpler note, jewellers have expensive stock and often only hold one of each item in a specific size, so again, going back to stock control, its important that it’s accurate and that information is easily accessible, and that’s extremely important to omnichannel.

RE: That is right. And having access to this data, rather than opinion of staff, of how many products you’ve sold. It’s that actual, accurate data that will help reduce your stock holding and increase the cash in your business because you’re no longer making bad decisions, you’re making decisions based on the data that is clearly in front of you.

ES: Absolutely, but the other thing is just understanding the market as well. You know, their customers shopping habits, harvesting the data and then understanding what to do with the data. A massive part of our system as well is being GDPR compliant and managing that data. That’s a huge asset for any retailer.

RE: And having that I guess kind of manage itself in a way tell you when you’re not compliant.

ES: Absolutely, you know if a customer asks, for example, you know, email me a receipt, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have opted into your marketing. It’s how a point of sale software can actually determine that as well, and how you’re going to have certain categories within the system, certain checkboxes, and that’s all built within Cybertill. We’ll be honest, we’ve spoken to a number of jewellery retailers that are using other competitor systems, and that is not available. We are hearing that other systems are having to rewrite the whole version of their software. With Cybertill, we were planning for this 12-18 months in advance.

RE: It’s one of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you today, Elaine. Because it’s clear that you’re obviously at the forefront of change in the industry, especially at the point of sale and retail management. Getting more insight into your experience with jewellers and helping them to move forward with their business. It’s one of the reasons that I wanted to talk today. It’s great to hear the insights that you have, is there anything else that you think jewellers should know about technology in general, or cloud-based services that are out there?

ES: We’ve done some research recently into the top 30 multichannel jewellery retailers. You can actually download that for free here.

That’s a really good insight into some of the trends, and what we’re finding in the jewellery market. But I would just ay, embrace cloud technology. It’s the way forward, you can do anything from any device, anywhere, the infrastructure is extremely secure, all data is help in level 1 datacentres, and not on your local PC or till giving retailers one less thing to worry about.

RE: And that literally is the difference between a local software that’s probably a bit of a dinosaur now, and cloud software. When you’re using cloud software, its never held locally on your computer, its always held securely on servers.

ES: Absolutely. And if you’re in the UK, all data is held in the European Union, so it adheres to the EU data protection laws, the infrastructure is huge in terms of us as a company, we employ 95 people here at our head office, and we process over 60 million transactions a year for our customers. So, as you can appreciate, we’ve got customers but we also have their customers data to look after. It’s extremely secure.

RE: It’s a hot topic right now with GDPR.

ES: Absolutely, and we take that very seriously. One thing I would like to add, Ryan, if you don’t mind, is we are an ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited business. With data, we take that very seriously. We get audited every year.

RE: And for those listeners who are, who want to look more into your cloud solution, how can they get in touch?

ES: They can visit the website, they can find us on social media, on the website there are some things specific to the jewellery sector, there are some videos on YouTube, and there has been coverage in Professional Jeweller as well, so there are plenty of resources available online. But if anybody is interested in finding out more, they achieve that, by a webinar, or a face to face meeting.

RE: Thank you very much for such a great insight into cloud technology and especially the epos and retail management systems jewellers should be using. It’s clear that you’ve got a great solution here, and I urge anyone who’s interested in this to get in touch.

ES: Thank you, Ryan.

Elaine Scott is an expert in omnichannel retailing in specialist sectors such as jewellery. She has helped retailers from one store to hundreds of stores manage their business more effectively with Cybertill’s retail management software. A recognised thought leader in the jewellery sector, she has been published in Professional Jeweller magazine talking about omnichannel retailing. If you are a jeweller interested in digital transformation, please email Elaine directly at elaine.scott@cybertill.co.uk or arrange a demo of our jewellery retail software.

Cybertill nominated for Retail Tech Award!

Pop the Prosecco! Cybertill are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for Tech Team of the Year at the Retail Week Tech. Awards for our collaboration with Barnardo’s!

With over 700 Barnardo’s shops to roll out in, the Cybertill team had to work hard to ensure that things ran smoothly with the introduction of our charity retail system CharityStore. As part of the roll out, 24-hour support was available online, as well as a dedicated Cybertill Account Manager, allowing Barnardo’s to make the most of our cloud solution.

Jennifer Murphy, Account Management Team Leader at Cybertill explains; “We’re very happy with how our charity EPoS roll-out has gone with Barnardo’s. In the first 3 months, we managed to deploy CharityStore in over 50 of their stores, which is a testament to the fantastic team here at Cybertill and at Barnardo’s, and I’m really looking forward to working with them on a regular basis as their dedicated Account Manager.”

The Tech. awards, which takes place on the 13th September in London, aims to “highlight the best in how technology is enhancing customer experience, how it is revolutionising the retail supply chain, the cleverest digital ideas, and the most successful teams who are helping to lead the change for a new retail world” and we could not be happier to be considered with our charity retail system!

It was fantastic working on the Barnardo’s charity EPoS roll out, and we felt rewarded knowing that we have provided the charity with a means to enhance their retail business processes and increase their Gift Aid! We look forward to working with them now, and in the future, as we support them and their amazing volunteers on their retail journey.

Roy Clark, Director of Retail and Trading, said that “Investing in charity EPoS is an essential move into the digital realm for our retail chain, giving us a vast amount of consumer insight and enabling the simplification of processes both on and off the shop floor”. “We managed to deploy Cybertill’s CharityStore retail management platform very quickly. Immediately after the initial roll out, we found that Gift Aid already increased by 12%. We’re very happy that we chose Cybertill.”

We are up against some brilliant brands/teams in the Tech Team of the Year category including:

  • Argos, In Store Digital Overhaul
  • Boohoo with Syte Technology, Visual Search Technology
  • Bünting with RELEX Solutions, Innovation Produces Results
  • EDITED, Customer Success as a Culture, Not a Department
  • Tesco, Tesco Technology Team
  • Vodafone, Vodafone Tech Team
  • (And of course) Barnardo’s with Cybertill, EPoS Roll out

Cybertill CEO Ian Tomlinson has congratulated the team involved in the charity retail system roll out; “Being shortlisted for the Retail Week Tech. awards is an incredible achievement. This award is a well-earned recognition that you all deserve”

“I’m very proud of you all. This is a great achievement.”

Jewellery Retail Market Research

Jewellery Retail Market Research 2018

Brand new data and analysis of the Jewellery Retail sector.

This exclusive 17-page report features in-depth research into high street jewellers such as Pandora, Swarovski, F.Hinds, Green + Benz, Lunns, and over 30 more multi-store jewellery retailers.

Download this free report and discover:

  • How your competitors are offering click and collect
  • Which jewellers are struggling with omnichannel returns
  • Who offers the best in-store workshop services
  • The four jewellery retailers worth more than their weight in gold

Download this report to figure out what you can do right now to get ahead of your high street competition.

Get your copy now

By filling this form, you permit Cybertill to send you an email containing this report. If don’t find our content valuable, you can unsubscribe at any time. Cybertill is ISO 27001 certified and committed to security. Your data is safe with us.

Jewellers are taking over the high street

Jewellery retail is unique. It’s a mixture of fashion, science, and tradition. Often love, loss and expectation are drivers, and emotions run high. In what other type of shop can a surprise valuation bring a windfall, or can a one of a kind, bespoke design change a life?

Last year, PwC research found that whilst 15 shops closed on the high street each week, the number of jewellers operating on Britain’s high streets was actually on the rise. The jewellery sector is thriving, but many jewellers are still lagging behind general retail when it comes to connecting online and in-store services.

Jewellers digitising in-store services right now will be worth more than their weight in gold.

We analysed 34 high street jewellers on 10 points of service to produce this report. Our expert analysis will help you strategise for the future of your jewellery business.

GDPR for charity or retail: I need more info!

“I need help with GDPR. I’m not sure what I need to do to make sure we comply.”

Cybertill’s retail consultants hear that phrase often.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been inundated with emails pleading anything from ‘we’d love to stay in touch with you’ and ‘please don’t go’ to the less emotive ‘GDPR update.’ Ok, so that last one was actually a B2B e-mail, but the message is still the same. Businesses are panicking over who they can or can’t contact because there are still so many unknown areas. Could this be why only 40% of businesses worldwide are prepared for the change in law?

According to research, a massive 60% of organisations are at risk of missing the GDPR deadline… just to remind you, it’s almost a week away…

One of the most common queries we face is, “so, I’ve sent out numerous emails to my contacts asking to opt-in or opt-out, but we’ve had no responses, what do I do?” Hmmm tricky. Some e-mails I’ve received ask me to ‘click here to opt-in’, others ask ‘click here to opt-out’; whilst some assume that if they don’t hear from you, you automatically opt-in, or vice versa. The answer to the question is purely based on the content of the emails, but never assume in B2C communications that because someone hasn’t responded that it’s ok to keep contacting them! It’s not worth the fine.

Another common question posed to us is, “someone asked to be removed from our database, what should I do?” GDPR is all about protecting an individual’s rights and personal data. If someone wishes for their personal information to be ‘forgotten’, then no matter how disheartening it might be, it’s a must.

Who has the right to be ‘forgotten’?

According to the ICO, as it stands, someone has the right to request the removal of their personal information from your database if any of the following applies:

  • The contact’s personal data is no longer necessary for the purpose which you originally collected or processed it for
  • You are relying on consent as your lawful basis for holding the data, and the individual withdraws their consent
  • You are relying on legitimate interests as your basis for processing, the individual objects to the processing of their data, and there is no overriding legitimate interest to continue this processing
  • You are processing the personal data for direct marketing purposes and the individual objects to that processing
  • You have processed the personal data unlawfully
  • You must do it to comply with a legal obligation
  • You have processed the personal data to offer information society services to a child

All makes sense, right? Maybe. This is something that isn’t so clear cut, especially for Charity retailers who have to consider Gift Aid. Legally, charities must keep personal data in order to submit Gift Aid claims to HMRC.

When does the right to erasure not apply?

The only way you can keep a contacts personal data legally is if any of the following applies:

  • To exercise the right of freedom of expression and information
  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • For the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority
  • For archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research historical research or statistical Purposes where erasure is likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of that processing
  • For the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims

This would suggest that a person’s right to have their personal data removed does not apply if a charity needs to comply with a legal obligation, such as Gift Aid claims. Keeping Gift Aid records are so important to charities as it gives them the opportunity to increase their funds by up to 25% – something which is well worth the ‘opt-in’ for.

The important bit…

I can only stress though that this is my professional opinion as a marketer from reading the GDPR law and how it affects the retail and charity retail industries. If anyone is still unclear about the legislation, then we urge you to seek legal advice.

A great starting place for any queries on GDPR is the ICO website: https://ico.org.uk  I have found it an immense help!

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